Skip to main content
Follow Us

Tucson nonprofits to compete for funding in ‘Fast Pitch’ event

Loni Nannini
November 29, 2023

Three minutes can change the world for eight local nonprofits and Tucsonans can be part of that process in an upcoming event through Social Venture Partners.

The eighth annual Fast Pitch Tucson will offer leaders of organizations the opportunity to vie for more than $115,000 when they take the stage to present three minute “fast pitch” stories at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 30, at the University of Arizona Health Science Innovation Building, 1670 E. Drachman St.

“This is such a great way of bringing stakeholders, philanthropists, individuals and nonprofits together to learn about these organizations. People can’t give if they don’t know about a nonprofit,” said Paloma Santiago, emcee for the event.

The public can join the high-stakes action for $75 per person live at the event and $25 per screen virtually. Tickets are available at and all proceeds will boost prizes rewarded to participating nonprofits. Individuals can also support their favorite nonprofits through the TEP Power to the People Audience Choice Award, which includes $10,000, a feature in BizTucson, and impact announcements on KXCI. Donors can double their impact through donations made at the event, which will be matched up to $40,000 through sponsorship by the Connie Hillman Family Foundation.

The 2023 Fast Pitch class includes: Community Investment CorporationEducational Enrichment FoundationIMPACT of Southern ArizonaJust Communities ArizonaLiberty Partnership Community CouncilMobile Meals of Southern ArizonaSARSEF; and Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Inc.

The nonprofits were selected based on a set of eligibility requirements including utilization of a 2Gen or multi-generational approach to elimination of poverty; service of historically-marginalized, under-served or under-resourced populations; and active work to promote social justice.

“This a diverse group of nonprofits, yet collectively they are united in efforts to support and heal our community,” said Brittany Battle, director of Fast Pitch Tucson.

The Fast Pitch program puts nonprofits on track for greater impact in their endeavors, according to Santiago, who speaks from firsthand experience. She was a participant in the 2016 Fast Pitch Class for Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona.

“My Fast Pitch experience has given me so much confidence, personally and professionally. Public speaking is a top fear for lots of people and this helps participants to really dig deep and pull out why they are excited and proud of their organization as a volunteer or employee. It helps them express to the world why they love their organization and why others should, too,” said Santiago, who is now district director for the Southern Arizona district of Junior Achievement.

Santiago is representative of the program’s ability to launch nonprofits and those representing them to further successes, according to Battle.

“It shows the full-circle impact of Fast Pitch on individuals, nonprofits and the community at large. The event also propels nonprofit leaders into confident public speakers and brings the community together to support the nonprofit sector while allowing individuals to directly support the causes they care about,” said Battle.

Additionally, Battle emphasized that Fast Pitch helps nonprofits to build capacity and receive training in the creation of comprehensive marketing strategies while promoting donor connections and receiving mentorship from community leaders. All participants also receive valuable community exposure.

“It is really an opportunity for the community to learn about new and emerging nonprofits and deepen their awareness about the impact of others that are more established. All of these organizations need support, resources, storytelling and opportunities for fundraising and donor connections,” said Battle.

Ginette Gonzalez, who is pitching on behalf of Community Investment Corporation (CIC), is excited about the many benefits provided by the program.

Founded 25 years ago, CIC is a financial empowerment nonprofit that offers numerous programs, including small business lending. Through Fast Pitch, the organization is fundraising for the Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) Loan Fund, a grassroots effort that arose from the racial and social reckonings in the summer of 2020. The fund provides 0% interest loans to small BIPOC-owned businesses.

“BIPOC entrepreneurs are denied credit at twice the rate of white entrepreneurs and an average of only 60% of BIPOC entrepreneurs who secure a loan receive the full amount that they apply for,” said Gonzalez, digital marketing manager for CIC.

CIC works with partners in the community to reimagine lending and separate small business loans from credit checks and assets, according to Gonzalez. The BIPOC Fund relies on a committee comprised of community leaders of color who base loan approval on the story of each business and its impact in the community.

“Lending is asset-based, which means that traditionally people who already have something are given more and those who don’t are left out. We applied creative thinking to give loans that ‘flip the script,’ as we say at CIC,” said Gonzalez.

After approval, CIC staff works with the small businesses to provide guidance with paperwork and documentation to set the small businesses up for success.

Ultimately, Gonzalez said that she has high hopes for raising funds for the BIPOC Loan Fund at the upcoming event.

“I feel so passionate about the work they do and the confidence that has been placed in me. I think it speaks to the culture of CIC. Their tagline is, ‘We know your worth,’ and I love that. So many people and small businesses struggle with self-worth and to have a company that says, ‘We know your worth’ and puts their money where their mouth is with things like the BIPOC Loan Fund makes all the difference,” said Gonzalez.

Next Article…
November 30, 2023
Affordable housing. High-paying jobs. Local reporters. There’s no denying that Tucson — like many other cities — is lacking plenty of vital resources. But if there’s one resource we don’t have a shortage of, it’s nonprofit organizations that help people in need. And while it’s great that so many …