Pledge 1% Non-profit Pitch Competition is Back!


Pledge 1% Colorado and the Community Foundation Boulder County are excited to announce year two of the Pledge 1% Pitch Contest as a part of Boulder Startup Week. The Pitch Contest, through an interactive and fun event, seeks to recognize and support entrepreneurial and innovative nonprofit ideas to solve pressing problems and critical issues facing Boulder County. We intend to support organizations in developing and testing new solutions to community challenges and leveraging investment to achieve impact.

Nonprofit organizations are invited to submit a *brief* application that outlines their innovative project/program, along with a simple budget. Members of the Pledge 1% Colorado startup community will review applications and narrow the pool down to the top 5-7 finalists. Finalists will be paired with a mentor from the startup community who will meet with them 1-2 times over a 2 week period to refine the program into a concise (3 minutes) presentation or ‘pitch’. All finalists will participate in a 2-hour Pitch Camp prior to the Pitch Contest, where they will have the opportunity to practice their pitch, get coaching from other startup mentors, and build their confidence.

At the Nonprofit Pitch Contest (the evening of May 15), all finalists will hit the stage at the Boulder Theater to present their 3 minute pitch to an audience made up of Boulder Startup Week attendees. The audience, along with a panel of judges, will be invited to vote on the winning pitch. The contest winner will receive a $10,000 prize to support their innovative project.

Geographic focus


  • Must benefit Boulder County residents.



  • Must be recognized as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or bean educational institution or government agency.
    Finalist organizations are required to attend both the Pitch Camp and Pitch Contest on May 15th during Boulder Startup Week (a total commitment of 4 hours).

Prize amount


  • The winning nonprofit will receive a $10,000 prize toward their innovative program or project.

Application deadline and key dates


  • Application deadline: **EXTENDED** April 25, 2018. Application link here. You’ll need to create a Community Foundation grants login if you don’t already have one. Once logged in, click on the ‘Apply’ link.
  • Finalists announced: May 1.
  • Finalists paired with startup community mentor: May 1-14.
  • Pitch Camp: May 14
  • Pitch Contest: Evening of May 15

Frequently asked questions


Does this have to be a new idea or can I pitch an existing program/project?


  • You can pitch an existing program/project that you believe is innovative.

Can I apply if I’ve already received Community Foundation funding this year?


  • Yes. This is a pitch contest with a prize, sponsored by Pledge 1% Colorado, and is not related to any of the Community Foundation’s regular grant cycles.

Can I apply for General Operating for my innovative nonprofit?


  • No. This is for program/project support only.

How do you expect me to fit my program/project into such limited space?


  • The application is purposefully brief with tight character count limits. View a sample application. In addition to standard text or bullets, web links to online resources (YouTube videos, your agency’s website, research documents, etc.) are welcomed, but all of your information must fit within the character limit. Consider this an opportunity to strengthen your organization’s communication skills as much as to provide support to your innovative work.

What if I’ve never ‘pitched’ to a startup crowd?


  • That’s okay! Finalists will be paired with a mentor from the startup community who will help you hone your program/project into a concise presentation for a ‘startup-y’ crowd. You’ll then be invited to a 2-hour Pitch Camp on May 16th, prior to the Pitch Contest, where you’ll have the opportunity to practice your pitch, get coaching from other startup mentors, and build your confidence. Watch a sample pitch from a similar event in New Hampshire.

What if I can’t attend pitch camp?


  • If the person submitting the application cannot attend pitch camp, please select another member of your staff or board of directors to attend. To be considered for the grant, someone must be able to attend to represent your organization.

What does Pledge 1% Colorado mean by innovation?


  • Innovation is doing something different than the status quo. It’s a willingness to eschew the beaten path, take the path less traveled, and try to make a bigger impact on outcomes or results beyond what the tried and true ways can produce. Done correctly, and when given the right resources, innovative activities can produce far better outcomes and results than the same resources (time, attention and money) being spent in the traditional tried and true ways. The difference between the innovative results and the traditional results are the amplified benefit we seek to produce.


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