Winners of ESET Nonprofit Pitch Fest announced, $30,000 in prize money awarded

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Today, IT security firm ESET announced the Grand Prize Winner and five Finalists of its Nonprofit Pitch Fest. The open contest asked nonprofits from around the U.S. to pitch why their organization should receive the prize money by answering an essay question that reflected ESET’s 30th anniversary theme of innovation. 

Girls Inc. of San Diego County was named the Grand Prize Winner and will receive the top cash award of $20,000.

Five Finalists were selected as well, and each will receive a $2,000 award. Finalists include Dreams Girls Initiative, Vital Link of Orange County, United Through Reading, San Diego Oasis and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rochester.

“We had so many great submissions, it was incredible to see all the amazing work these organizations are doing in the community,” said Celeste Blodgett, VP of HR and Learning and Development at ESET North America, and participant of ESET’s Philanthropy Committee. “We really commend all of these nonprofits that participated, and encourage them to continue their passion and hard work.”

In all, more than 30 U.S.-based 501(c)(3) organizations submitted essay entries.

“Ultimately, Girls Inc. really stood out for the work they are doing, to inspire young women to be strong, smart and confident while teaching them technical skills,” noted Blodgett. “Their submission laid out very specific ways they will address the cybersecurity skills gap problem, while also helping with diversity in the tech sector. As quoted from their submission piece, ‘At Girls Inc. we are training the next generation of cyber defenders.’”

A check presentation with the Grand Prize Winner, Girls Inc., will be held October 23, 2017.

About the ESET Nonprofit Pitch Fest

ESET, a privately held company celebrating its 30th anniversary in innovation in IT security, held the Nonprofit Pitch Fest to hear from nonprofits around the United States that are making a difference in the community. The three categories nonprofits could apply under included Women in Technology, Cybersecurity and STEAM/STEM Education, and the Innovation/Startup Economy. Contestants wrote answers to an essay question that asked how their program/initiative in the respective category would contribute to the next 30 years of innovation in the community. The initial organizations were voted on by the general public, and the top 10 vote getters were entered into the final stage of judging, where a selection committee evaluated the nonprofits’ essays based on (1) alignment with one or more of the three noted categories and strength of the idea, (2) need for proposed program/initiative in the community, and (3) feasibility of program deployment.