Pitch Piqua finalists continue prep work; Three organizations seeking $50K grant


By Haylee Pence

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PIQUA – The Piqua Community Foundation is hosting Pitch Piqua, a charitable grant competition, which has been narrowed down to three organizations that have applied for the grant, been through a review committee, and finally interviewed to become the final three finalists. The three finalists are Piqua City Schools, the Piqua Compassion Network, and Child Care Choices, Inc.

With just a few short months until their big presentation, the three organizations are working hard to prepare their projects to present to a panel of judges from 5-7 p.m. on March 3 at Fort Piqua Plaza. The panel of judges will vote on one organization that will receive $50,000 from the Piqua Community Foundation. The other two organizations will receive $5,000 each. Prior to their presentations, each finalist organization is required to keep their projects a secret.

The Piqua Community Foundation’s Vice President and Resource Committee Chairwoman Emily Shawler states, “I am excited for this new and exciting event, Pitch Piqua! It gives the foundation an opportunity to support our non-profit organizations and serve the community. Our three finalists have some really big ideas! What is really exciting is all three finalists are hoping to bring their big idea to fruition, even if they are not the big winner. Please join us on the night the big ideas are unveiled. You will even have a chance to vote and support your favorite idea!”

The Piqua City Schools project is headed by Directors of Curriculum Scott Bloom and Teresa Anderson. Their organization is focused on “helping kids be success bound,” stated Anderson, whether it be academically, socially, or mentally to help prepare students for life after graduation. If they were to receive the $50,000 grant, their goals are, according to Bloom, to “expand literacy and learning outside of school walls.”

These directors identified a current need in their community and invented this project to project their school-wide goals to the Piqua community. Bloom stated, “schools are the centers of the community” due to their impact on the children within the school system and the children’s families. If they were to receive the $5,000 grant instead, the directors would like to expand their current program and build on it to provide resources to the community. Besides the grant money, the directors are “really appreciative of this project,” saying that they both have learned more about “project management” and other “valuable things.” Bloom said that he “has already implemented some things [he] has learned.”

The Piqua Compassion Network project is headed by Executive Director Rebecca Sousek and volunteers Chloe Clark and Caleb Patton. This organization’s mission statement includes “transforming lives by providing Christian hope, education, and basic needs assistance to Piqua residents” and “empowering individuals to move forward from crisis.” If they were to receive the $50,000 grant, they would like to “further enhance and grow [their] mission in a new and unique way,” stated Sousek.

Their project is aimed to serve the entire Piqua community to provide a “new energy.” Clark said her idea for this project came from “seeing things in the community [she] could impact.” Patton said his idea was sparked from combining his passions with seeing “a need for this project,” which is “hugely profound and lasting.” Sousek said this project will be able to provide a “cross-generational service” by “being able to grow young people.” If they were to receive the $5,000 grant, they would still push forward with their project that it will happen, “it’s just a now versus later thing,” said Patton. Clark said, there’s “no way to make half the impact without the $50,000.” Sousek said it has been a “real honor” to be a part of this competition.

The Child Care Choices, Inc. project is headed by Co-Directors Jenny Fox and Renee Matsunami. This organization is dedicated to advocating for high quality childcare and education through trainings for childcare providers and other services. If they were to receive the $50,000 grant, their organization will strive to improve the “quality and quantity of childcare,” stated Matsunami. They would see “positive growth through collaborations and partnerships,” said Fox.

The Piqua Community Foundation has supported the Child Care Choices, Inc. for years, and once they heard about the competition, Fox and Matsunami, among others in their organization, applied for the grant to “focus in on one issue” impacting their organization, which is the lack of childcare available. One program that will be enhanced is their Story Lady Program, involving a story-teller reading to children, providing an activity, then giving children a book to take home. If they were to receive the $5,000 grant instead, they plan to continue with their project because “regardless [it] needs to happen,” and they will have to “find other sources for funding.” Matsunami stated that she is “thankful for the grant project” because “Michelle and the others have been wonderful to work with.” Michelle Perry is the executive director of the Piqua Community Foundation, and she has worked closely with all of the finalists and developing their projects.

All three organizations have big projects that plan to impact the community in a different way. Tickets will be available for the public to attend the presentations of the projects on March 3. For more information, visit piquacommunityfoundation.org/pitchpiqua/. The Piqua Community Foundation can be reached at 937-615-9080 or [email protected].

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