A community competition where everyone wins

The Winnipeg Foundation


Fast Pitch Semi-Final
Fast Pitch 2016 participants during the Semi-Final event.

Can you make a difference in three minutes?

Leaders from 17 local charities can, thanks to The Winnipeg Foundation’s Fast Pitch initiative.

Skilled volunteers from the business sector teamed up with charitable community leaders to develop three-minute Dragons’ Den-style fast pitches. Up for grabs were grants worth more than $20,000.

"It was such an amazing experience to be part of this. In three minutes, you can get a lot in, but it also goes by really quickly,” says Matt Erhard Fast Pitch presenter and Kidsport Canada’s Manitoba/Winnipeg Chapter Board Chair.

Fast Pitch aims to support and raise awareness of Winnipeg’s charitable sector.

"You don’t hear of [some of these charitable organizations] that often, but they’re doing wonderful work for our community," says Alexis Kanu, Executive Director of Lake Winnipeg Foundation and also a Fast Pitch presenter. “It was great to connect, and I know the presenters really formed a community. We were all cheering each other on, even though we are in competition with each other.”

Through Fast Pitch, leaders from local charitable organizations learned how to better present their organization’s story: succinctly and powerfully. The coaching process also helped build valuable relationships with members of Winnipeg’s business community. There were 30 coaches, hailing from legal, financial, marketing and business sectors.

"I’d never interact with these coaches in my day-to-day work. It’s great to see people that want to use their skills in a way that helps us advance our agencies. That’s really important and there’s not really a venue to do that anywhere else,” says Jamil Mahmood, Executive Director of the Spence Neighbourhood Association and a Fast Pitch presenter.

During the three-month program period, Fast Pitch participants engaged in a variety of activities including professional development opportunities, and one-on-one and group coaching sessions.

Fast Pitch culminated in a Final Showcase April 7 at The Met. Winners were determined by a panel of judges – all well-known Winnipeggers who brought a range of professional expertise to the judging table: Ace Burpee, Lisa Meeches and Obby Khan. Audience members also helped decide the People’s Choice winner using a text-to-vote feature.

The event was a great fit for The Foundation in a number of ways.

“The Foundation’s vision is ‘a Winnipeg where community life flourishes for all.’ Fast Pitch is one of the ways we’re working to fulfill this vision, and to build our philanthropic community,” says Foundation CEO Richard Frost.

For more info, head to fastpitchwinnipeg.org where you’ll find all the details and a link to a highlights video.