A community competition where everyone wins

The Winnipeg Foundation

Photo: The 2019 Fast Pitch Showcase. Don’t miss this year’s Showcase, held Feb. 26, 2020 at the Met.

Fast Pitch provides necessary storytelling tools for charities.

Storytelling can be a powerful key to the hearts and minds of an audience — if done right. The Winnipeg Foundation’s Fast Pitch program gives members of the charitable sector the skills and confidence to articulate their organization’s impact to potential donors in the form of a pitch.

Fast Pitch participants are paired up with coaches from the business sector. Through weekly training and coaching sessions, participants learn the art of pitching. The sessions culminate in a Showcase event where participants face off in a friendly competition for $26,000 in prizes.

Just after his Fast Pitch win in February 2019, Ken Opaleke, Executive Director of West Broadway Youth Outreach, shared his thoughts on winning the $10,000 grand prize for his organization.

“I am shocked, thrilled and thankful beyond measure for Fast Pitch. Every penny of this is going directly to the kids in our community,” Opaleke says. “I want to go back to our centre tomorrow and send the message out to every volunteer that, ‘Because of you, this happened’.”

Brendan McKeen of the Manitoba Underground Opera says he developed an even stronger method of expressing the importance of the arts through his experience in Fast Pitch.

I am shocked, thrilled and thankful beyond measure for Fast Pitch.

Ken Opaleke
West Broadway Youth Outreach

“I loved Fast Pitch. I had two wonderful coaches who weren’t artists themselves, but had such a passion for the arts,” McKeen shared at the celebratory Fast Pitch Mixer in September. “It was really inspiring to talk during our sessions about what we do and why we do it with people who didn’t study [opera] for eight years.”

To the audience of potential participants, McKeen explained how important it is to learn to communicate the value of his work.

“One of my coaches said to me in a life-changing moment, ‘Sometimes when we feel like society is moving backwards, it is the arts’ job to move it forward’,” McKeen says.

The Mixer was held to mark the past four years of Fast Pitch, as the program moves into its fifth year, after which it will take a hiatus.

To learn more about Fast Pitch or apply to be a coach or participant, visit: fastptichwinnipeg.org.


THIS YEAR’S FAST PITCH SHOWCASE IS WEDNESDAY, FEB. 26 AT THE MET. TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE IN THE NEW YEAR. STAY TUNED FOR DETAILS!


This story is featured in the Fall 2019 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.

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