Seven nonprofits vie for grants at Entrepreneurs Foundation competition

EFNH members will select two organizations to receive $25,000 grants


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Seven nonprofits are going to get their chance Thursday night to win one of two $25,000 grants from the Entrepreneurs Foundation of New Hampshire.

The participating organizations will each get three minutes to deliver their pitches for why their organization should receive one of the grants during an event set for Thursday, Oct. 16, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Smuttynose Brewing Company in Hampton.

EFNH members will vote in “real time” to fund two projects that demonstrate “amplified benefits” for the organizations and communities they serve.

EFNH is an initiative of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, which channels the expertise, energy and passion of the state’s leading entrepreneurs to strengthen New Hampshire communities through innovative philanthropy.

“This is philanthropy fashioned entrepreneurial style,” says Shari Landry, vice president of the philanthropy and donor services at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. “These entrepreneurs see philanthropy as more than just writing a check. They are always looking for ways to add value.”

Applicants submitted applications in August. Of the 50 applicants, 29 were selected to participate in a “pitch camp,” hosted by EFNH members. During the pitch camp, participants were coached on how to hone their message and approach. The EFNH Grants Committee narrowed the field to the seven organizations whose proposed projects held the most promise to benefit the community.

“It becomes less about just the facts, and more about the storyline, the passion and the commitment of the storyteller,” says Matt Rightmire of Borealis Ventures, an EFNH member and pitch camp coach. “When you can focus on these very passionate people on those emotions, it helps them to create a connection to their audience – and that is the key to any kind of selling.”

Since 2010, 48 nonprofit organizations have participated in these pitch camps and 10, including the two to be selected tomorrow night, will have received grants totaling $135,000.

The seven finalists and their projects are:

 • The Birchtree Center (Newington) will train 16 para-educators to be autism specialists, allowing 32 students with autism to make documented progress in a public school setting.

 • COVER Home Repair Inc. (White River Junction, Vt.) will provide urgently needed home repairs and weatherization for low-income homeowners in the Upper Valley.

 • Lakes Region Community Services (Laconia) will help low-income single moms train for and find sustainable employment with a livable wage.

 • Lyndon State College (Lyndonville, Vt.) will match interns with at least four North Country employers to implement growth and job creation plans.

 • Nashua Police Athletic League (Nashua) will provide local leadership to engage at-risk youth in creating and implementing community projects.

 • Post-Landfill Action Network (Lee) will accelerate the zero-waste movement at New Hampshire’s universities and colleges through student-led reuse, recycling and waste-reduction initiatives.

 • Women For Women Coalition (Manchester) will provide entrepreneurial and business skills to immigrant and refugee youth.

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