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Call for Applications - Desert Fast Pitch 2017


The Regional Access Project (RAP) Foundation is announcing its “Call for Applications” for the 2017 Desert Fast Pitch Program.  The program is entering its fourth year, providing cash grants, consultation, and coaching to tax exempt organizations providing services in health, mental health, and juvenile intervention to residents of eastern Riverside County.  The Desert Fast Pitch program is modeled on FAST PITCH, the Los Angeles Social Venture Partnership’s (SVP) venture capital funding competition.  These competitions are held around the country in eight cities by SVP affiliates. 


Desert Fast Pitch is a regional program offering an opportunity for tax exempt organizations to develop or improve their presentation skills in the presence of potential funders.  It’s designed as a fast paced “pitch” process.  Organizations are simultaneously competing for immediate cash awards and on-going technical assistance through RAP’s coaching/mentor interaction. The goal is to help local organizations build greater confidence in their presentation skills and to give them the tools necessary to tell their story, convey their organizational values, create a donor and volunteer base, and improve their organizational capacity.


More specifically, Desert Fast Pitch is:

  • Nonprofit/tax exempt organizations competing for cash investment awards and in-kind services; and
  • Workshops for training, coaching and mentoring non-profit/tax exempt participants; and
  • 12 semi-finalist organizations, selected by judges and mentors for further competition; and
  • Six nonprofits will be selected to compete in the Desert Fast Pitch Finals event to be held September 28, 2017 in conjunction with RAP’s Nonprofit Conference to benefit local organizations; and
  • The Final Six will present 3 minute “pitches” in a game show atmosphere before a panel of judges and an audience of funders, business and non-profit leaders, philanthropists and foundation executives; and
  •  More than $72,000 total in cash grants and in-kind grant services, including small grants to all 12 semi-finalist organizations.



Successful participants will be those which exhibit the greatest potential to effect positive social change or impact in eastern Riverside County, but all nonprofits who participate will at minimum receive valuable coaching and training—at no cost to them.


RAP hopes you will submit an application on-line at


If you have questions about Desert Fast Pitch and how it might benefit your nonprofit, attend one of two informational meetings.  (See “Important Dates” section in this document for dates of the two meetings.)  Contact person for Desert Fast Pitch is Eva Guenther-James, RAP Foundation, at 760 674-9992 or email


Applications: Tax exempt organizations (501c 3 designation)  providing programs and/or services in the focus areas of Health, Mental Health, and Juvenile Intervention are invited to complete an application on-line to be considered for the Desert Fast Pitch program.  All applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. on February 17, 2017.  A Selection Committee will review all applications and invite approximately 12 organizations to participate in the training workshops.  Applications will be notified of the status of their application by 5 p.m., March 30, 2017.

*All applicants must register and complete their application online at:


Here’s How It Works:

Workshops:  Semi-finalists are required to participate in one day-long training and 3 mandatory group coaching sessions held at the RAP Foundation offices.  The training is on July 12, 2017 from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM followed by 3 additional workshops (see schedule below).  Participants will be coached on making an effective presentation of key elements of their organization, mission, impact, innovation and needs.  Participants will be given the opportunity to practice their ‘pitch” and receive feedback from other participants and coaches.


Finalists:          Six finalists will be selected on August 30, 2017 to compete on September 28, 2017 during RAP Foundation’s Nonprofit Conference.

Event:              Desert Fast Pitch finalists will deliver their three-minute ”pitch”  before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers, businesses, nonprofit leaders,                           philanthropists and foundation executives.

Awards:           Each of the semi-finalists will receive a grant award of $1,500 for their participation in the program.  Finalists will each receive an additional $1,500 cash grant.


  • Best Pitch by Judges, cash grant award is $20,000
  • Best Pitch by Judges for Innovation/Social Impact cash grant award is $15,000
  • Audience Choice Award cash grant award is $10,000


For Information:

Please call the RAP Foundation office and speak to Eva Guenther-James

At (760) 674-9992 or email at


Participation Guidelines for Semi-Finalists

  • Fully engaged in the process, including the three coaching sessions, to produce a compelling three-minute presentation of your organization’s unique value and plan for future impact, without visual or audio aids.
  • Be open to advice and coaching by business and community leaders.
  • Understand that a good pitch is about more than just asking for money.   The grant award is important but it’s the training and coaching that is the grand prize!


Participant Requirements

  • Applicants must submit their designation from the IRS as a 501 (c) organization or proof of fiscal sponsorship with their application.  Individuals are not eligible.
  • Organizations may be located outside of eastern Riverside County but must provide services and/or programs to residents in eastern Riverside County (just outside of Palms Springs east to the California/Arizona border – Supervisorial District Four).  Preference will be given to organizations that are headquartered in RAP Foundation’s funding area.
  • There are no restrictions based on organizational size, budget or age of organization.
  • Organizations must provide programs or services in RAP’s focus areas of Health, Mental Health and Juvenile Intervention.
  • There is no cost to participate in the program.
  • Applicants, selected in the program, must have as their representative participating in the program either CEO, Executive Director or other senior level management who interfaces and communicates with the public, donors, grantors, funders on a regular basis and is tasked with public speaking responsibilities.
  • Organizations who have participated in the program are only eligible to re-apply after 3 years (for example, if you participated in 2015, you would be eligible to apply again in 2018)


Selection Criteria

A Selection Panel score the applications on the following criteria:

  • Social Problem – It is understood what social problem this organization is trying to solve, why they do what they do, and who is affected by their work in eastern Riverside County?
  • Organization and Programs /Services– Clearly articulates what the organization does and how they do it.
  • Leadership – The organization has leaders with relevant experience and is deemed likely to succeed.
  • Potential for significant societal impact – The organization addresses the root of the problem rather than only the symptoms.  Metrics, both qualitative and quantitative, are being used to assess long-term outcomes, not just outputs or activities.  Organizations shows signs that progress has been made towards goals.
  • Innovation – The approach to solving the social problem is novel or unique.  The innovation leads to more dramatic long-term results than other, more conventional models or practices.  Keep in mind that innovation can come in many forms: new products or services, new ways of delivering services, applying technology creatively, or  new business models or collaborations.  If the idea isn’t new, the organization should focus on how they are a unique and refreshing change from the usual approach.
  • Sustainability – The organization demonstrates the ability to generate long-term support for program/service.
  • Scalability – The organization demonstrates that the program /service has the potential to expand to create a larger impact.


Important Dates - 2017

January 23       Call for Application - Application Process Opens to Non-Profits

January 30       Information Meeting – 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM

February 1       Information Meeting – 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

March 3           Extended Deadline for submission of Applications

April 14           Announcement of 12 Semifinalist organizations to participate in program

July 12             All Day Training 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM

July 19            First Group Session 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM

August 2          Second Group Session 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM

August 16        Third Group Session 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM

August 30        Mini Pitch – Selection of 6 Finalists who will deliver 3 minute ‘pitch” at event

September 28   Desert Fast Pitch Event



About Regional Access Project Foundation

The Regional Access Project Foundation provides funding, oversight, technical assistance and guidance to nonprofit, community based organizations or other collaborative groups, which serve the populations of eastern Riverside County in the areas of health, mental health, and juvenile intervention.


cvHIP  Health resources in the Coachella Valley
cvHIP Health resources in the Coachella Valley

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