Freshly Cut

Social Venture Partners and Sold Out Audience Select Winners of $45,000 Prize Pool at the 3rd Annual SEED20 Competition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                Contact: Susan Daniel

March 13, 2014                                                                                              704.442.7060                                                                                                 [email protected]


Social Venture Partners and Sold Out Audience Select Winners of $45,000 Prize Pool at the 3rd Annual SEED20 Competition


CHARLOTTE, NCSocial Venture Partners (SVP) announced last night the winners of the third annual SEED20, a competition for nonprofit entrepreneurs. Thae 10 finalists in the competition pitched their ideas in three minutes or less to a six-judge panel and to a sold-out audience of more than 450 business, nonprofit, and civic leaders. Following comments and evaluation by the judges and a vote by the audience, the winners were announced. Five cash prizes were awarded – totaling $45,000 – as follows:


  • SEED20 Grand Prize (voted on by judging panel) of $20,000: PlateShare, Katie Levans
  • SEED20 2nd Place (voted on by judging panel) of $10,000: Make It Work, Jessica Kilcullen
  • SEED20 3rd Place (voted on by judging panel) of $7,500: Camp Blue Skies, Dick Sesler
  • Coaches’ Award (voted on by SEED20 coaches) of $5,000: Youth Development Initiatives, Darryl Bego
  • People’s Choice (“text to vote” by the audience) of $2,500: Camp Blue Skies, Dick Sesler


The 2014 SEED20 judging panel includes:

  • Ron Ahlert, Executive Director, Community Culinary School of Charlotte—last year’s SEED20 winner
  • Molly Barker, Founder of Girls on the Run and Run 2 Lead
  • Charlie Elberson, Trustee, Reemprise Fund
  • Mike Elliott, Managing Partner, Noro-Moseley Partners
  • Mary Barr Gallivan, Director, Center for Corporate Philanthropy for Foundation For The Carolinas
  • Stoney Sellars, President/CEO of TPM Consulting


PlateShare ( is a charitable micro-giving platform that raises money for hunger relief by crowdsourcing donations from restaurant spending. Spare change is turned into big change by investing it back into the community by empowering food banks to end hunger through healthy food. SEED20 funding will be used to launch the PlateShare mobile app and expand to 50 restaurant partners by 2015.


Make It Work ( helps eliminate barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities, including veterans. They offer a hand-up, not a handout in eliminating the #1 barrier to employment: transportation. Funding from SEED20 will be used to expand its main program: Spilt the Ride, a volunteer-based ride share program that allows individuals to turn their daily commute into charitable time well spent.


Camp Blue Skies ( provides overnight camps for adults with developmental disabilities where campers are challenged to gain confidence and try new things through recreation, socialization, and life skills education. In addition, Camp Blue Skies provides a much-needed respite for parents and caregivers and engages volunteers who might not otherwise serve this population. An investment from SEED20 will provide scholarships for campers who need financial assistance.


Youth Development Initiatives (YDI; is a life-changer for youth ages 14 and up who struggle to complete high school and make the transition from adolescence to adulthood.  Funding will be used by YDI to serve more youth with its innovative curriculum and research-based life-skills and mentoring models which connect the classroom to the real world and develop education and career plans for each student.


Inspired by the pitches and innovation of the Class of 2014, an anonymous donor gave an additional $500 to each nonprofit who did not win a cash award.  During the networking reception following the pitches, SEED20 organizers held a drawing with the prize being $1,000 donated in the name of the winner to a SEED20 nonprofit of his or her choosing. The winner of the drawing designated the funds to UrbanPromise Charlotte, an organization developing our city’s children and youth into Christian leaders determined to restore their communities.


All told, $53,500 was awarded to the SEED20 Class of 2014. Katie Levans, founder and executive director of PlateShare, shared “Winning money, while fantastic, is really the least of the SEED20 experience. I met such great people through this process. It is easy to feel alone on the entrepreneurial journey. Meeting these incredible entrepreneurs and hearing their stories, reignited my passion and that is priceless.”


After the live pitches and awards, the diverse group of 450+ attendees celebrated the nonprofit entrepreneurs and networked and socialized with each other. Each of the nonprofits represented in the SEED20 Class of 2014 had a booth where all attendees could interact with them and learn more about their work in the community. “This is hands-down the most inspiring event I’ve been to in Charlotte,” said one attendee. “These innovative nonprofits truly are the celebrities here tonight.” 


While the judges deliberated, Inspire the Fire, from the inaugural SEED20, gave a moving performance that had the audience on its feet! Inspire the Fire provides youth, ages 10-21, the opportunity to participate in hands-on, interactive activities that promote self-exploration, life skills, artistic development, and community involvement.


“Real leadership and innovation was on display tonight,” said Susan Daniel, Executive Director of SVP. “We celebrate all of the SEED20 Class of 2014 and we hope that tonight’s success will strengthen the awareness and support for our region’s nonprofit entrepreneurs.”


If you missed SEED20 OnStage!, it’s not too late to be inspired! Visit the SEED20 website ( to link to a video of the ten pitches, judges’ comments, and prize announcement.


SEED20 ( is made possible with the generous support of our investors—Knight Foundation, Bank of America, Duke Energy, Reemprise Fund, UNC-Charlotte, Wells Fargo, Beacon Partners, Foundation For The Carolinas, McGuire Woods, Pamlico Capital, Crescent Communities, Davidson College, and Novant Health Foundation Presbyterian Medical Center.


SEED stands for Social Entrepreneurs EmpowereD, and the competition aligns with SVP’s mission by helping to grow the region’s social entrepreneur community. The competition was open to any individual or nonprofit organization from Mecklenburg or bordering counties with a great idea and a passionate commitment to seeing it positively impact social change.



About Social Venture Partners

Social Venture Partners (SVP) is a diverse network of engaged individuals who address community needs through a new model of giving – Venture Philanthropy. SVP leverages the collective expertise, creativity, time, and financial resources of our members and their networks to develop and support promising social initiatives and nonprofits. In addition, SVP fosters a community of socially conscious and well-informed donors through engagement with investees, collaboration with other SVP partners, and participation in educational events. To learn more, please visit