Freshly Cut

Social Venture Partners Announces Winners of $55,000 Prize Pool at the 4th Annual SEED20 Competition

March 5, 2015

Contact: Hannah Levinson
[email protected]


CHARLOTTE, NCThis week, Social Venture Partners (SVP) announced the winners of the fourth annual SEED20 OnStage!, a competition for nonprofit entrepreneurs. The 10 finalists in the competition pitched their ideas in three minutes or less (no notes, no props, no PowerPoint) to a five-judge panel and an audience of more than 700 community members. Following comments and evaluation by the judges and a vote by the audience, the winners were announced. Five prizes were awarded – totaling $55,000:

  • SEED20 People’s Choice Grand Prize of $20,000 (voted on by the audience): Charlotte Bilingual Preschool, Joanne Stratton Tate
  • SEED20 2nd Place Prize of $12,500 (voted on by judging panel): UNCOMMEN, Dee Lanier
  • SEED20 3rd Place Prize of $7,500 (voted on by judging panel): Present Age Ministries, Hannah Arrowood
  • Coaches Award of $5,000 (voted on by SEED20 coaches): F.R.E.E. Foundation, Jack Sheehan
  • Inaugural Priceless Misc Digital Impact Award ($10,000 in-kind web and digital services provided by SEED20 Sponsor, Priceless Misc): A.C.E. Your Prostate Exam, Brittany Breckenridge


The 2015 SEED20 Judging Panel included:

  • Joanne O’Brien Beam: Chief Development Officer and Director of Non-Degree Programs, Wake Forest University Charlotte
  • Katie Levans: Founder of PlateShare — last year’s SEED20 Grand Prize Winner
  • Katie B. Morris: Board Chair, The Belk Foundation
  • Emmanuel “Manny” Ohonme: Founder and President, Samaritan’s Feet International
  • Steve Sellers: Managing Director, Sockwell Partners


Charlotte Bilingual Preschool ( High-quality early childhood education experience prepares Spanish-speaking children to enter kindergarten ready to learn and provides a comprehensive program for their immigrant parents. The innovative dual language approach fires up our students’ brains, unlocking their potential to be global citizens leading our common future. 

UNCOMMEN ( Challenging men to win as leaders, husbands, and dads —yeah, there’s an app for that! The UNCOMMEN Challenge App is designed to connect men in the key relationships of their life through short, disruptive, and fun video-driven challenges from their peers.

Present Age Ministries ( Combats sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking of teen girls by promoting awareness through community events and empowering survivors through its residential housing program.

F.R.E.E. Foundation – Charlotte Chapter ( Gathers used mobility and medical equipment, cleans it up, and gifts it to low income, uninsured and underinsured people.

A.C.E. Your Prostate Exam: Bringing awareness, commitment, and education to the issue of prostate cancer in the African-American community.

During the networking reception following the pitches, SEED20 ( organizers held a drawing with a $1,000 prize donated by the winner to a SEED20 nonprofit of their choosing. The winner designated the $1,000 prize for A Widow’s Path (, an organization that supports and builds resilience in young widows. All told, $56,000 was awarded to the SEED20 Class of 2015.

While the judges deliberated, SVP premiered a short film produced and directed by Priceless Misc and filmmaker Tim Grant. The documentary featured the story of a Latino family impacted by the engagement and support of Circle de Luz (, an organization that radically empowers young Latinas through extensive mentoring, holistic programming, and scholarship funds for further education. A member of the SEED20 inaugural class, Circle de Luz is now one of 12 SVP community partners receiving multi-year investments of resources, time, expertise, and funding.

After the live pitches and awards, the diverse group of over 700 attendees celebrated the nonprofit entrepreneurs, networked and socialized. Each of the nonprofits represented in the SEED20 Class of 2015 had a table where 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.”

“Real leadership and innovation was on display tonight,” said Susan Daniel, Executive Director of SVP. “We celebrate all of the SEED20 Class of 2015 and we hope that tonight’s success will strengthen the awareness and support for our region’s nonprofit entrepreneurs.”

SEED20 is made possible with the generous support of our sponsors—

Ashley Furniture, Bank of America, Reemprise Fund, UNC Charlotte, Wells Fargo, Duke Energy, OrthoCarolina, Robinson Center for Civic Leadership, Beacon Partners, Crescent Communities, McGuire Woods, Pamlico Capital, Priceless Misc, and Novant Health.

About Social Venture Partners

Social Venture Partners (SVP) is a global network of strategic philanthropists joined by passion and purpose. SVP addresses social problems through venture philanthropy, a model of giving where its members not only provide grants, but also give their collective expertise and time to support the vital work of high-impact nonprofit organizations in Charlotte. To learn more, please visit