$2,000 Award for Top Pitch Using Media for Social Good

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 24, 2012) – Storytellers and designers dedicated to using media for social good will have the opportunity to win up to $2,000 in funding to jumpstart a project at the Benevolent Media Pitch Night in Washington, D.C. on November 5.

The pitch competition is generously sponsored by leading experts in communications, design and technology for social impact. Sponsors include American University’s Center for Social Media, Ideal Design, Fission Strategy, Forum One Communications, Free Range, Projeqt, Provoc, Threespot and Weber Shandwick.

“This is an opportunity for creatives of all kinds—writers, photographers, filmmakers, graphic designers, artists—to get some funding for an idea they have to make the world a better place through media,” said Erica Schlaikjer, founder of Benevolent Media. “Whatever the medium, whatever the cause, we invite people to pitch their ideas. Even if they don’t win the Grand Prize, at the very least, they’ll have the chance to share their vision in public, and you never know what helpful relationships or resources may arise from that.”

The pitch proposal deadline is Sunday, October 28, 11:59 p.m. The application form is available online: http://benevolentmedia.org/pitchnight. Applicants must explain what cause they care about, what community they aim to serve, and what forms of media they’ll be using to create positive and lasting social or environmental change.

Applicants with the most compelling proposals will be invited as finalists to pitch their idea in front of a live audience on November 5. The pitch night will be hosted at nclud, a creative web design agency, focused on unique, stylish and usable experiences across a multitude of verticals, mediums and devices.

A distinguished panel of judges will vote on the Grand Prize winner, who will receive a $2,000 cash award to make their idea a reality.

Judges will include Raj Aggarwal of Provoc; Kristen Argenio of Ideal Design; William (Bill) Colgrove of Threespot; Angelica Das of American University’s Center for Social Media; Michaela Hackner of Forum One Communications; Amy Hartzler of Free Range; Austen Levihn-Coon of Fission Strategy; and Brandon Schmittling of Weber Shandwick.

The rest of the audience also gets to cast their vote on what project to fund with a People’s Choice Award, using a portion of the money pooled from the price of admission ($5 from each person’s ticket.)

“Just as technology start-ups might pitch their business plans to a group of angel investors, we’re inviting socially conscious creatives to pitch their storytelling and design ideas to a group of funders from the community,” Schlaikjer said. “This is truly a collaborative and crowd-sourced funding opportunity, like Kickstarter, but live and in-person. Plus, with food, drink and partying, if you’re willing to stick around after the pitches.”

Schlaikjer said she got the idea to host the Pitch Night from Detroit SOUP, a project that allows Detroit citizens to fund a community project by spending $5 to hear presentations at a dinner event, involving soup, salad and bread, and then voting on which project to fund with the proceeds. The concept has been replicated in the D.C. area through grassroots organizations like Kitchen of Innovation in Washington and STEW in Baltimore.

“It’s exciting to see this micro-grant concept spread to different communities, especially in our nation’s capital,” Schlaikjer said. “Washington, D.C. is the perfect place for the cause community to join forces with the creative community. There are so many influential mediamakers in this city. If you’re going to create media, why not create media for good?”

In addition to pitch presentations, the Benevolent Media Pitch Night, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, November 5, will include a feast and an after-party.

“We invite people to come early and come hungry,” Schlaikjer said. “We’re working with operation:eatery, a culinary think tank, to showcase a feast served up by local food entrepreneurs. They are just as creative and passionate as the people who will be pitching ideas at the event. There will be savory snacks by H &pizza, Mezanmi and MOD Arts; desserts by Chouquette, Zenful Bites, and The Muffin Man; and fresh juices by PapsJuices.“

Tickets are available for sale online for $15: http://benevolentmedia.org/pitchnight. The price of admission includes complimentary drinks, food and a vote for the best pitch. Space is limited.

The winners will be expected to share their progress on BenevolentMedia.org and present their final project at the annual Benevolent Media Festival in June 2013.

The event is scheduled as part of Digital Capital Week (DCWEEK), a 10-day festival in the nation’s capital focused on bringing together designers, developers, entrepreneurs and social innovators of all kinds. Benevolent Media hosted its first annual festival during DCWEEK 2011.

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