$20,000 grant challenge searches for York's next big idea

Jason Addy
York Dispatch

After helping to launch small-business success stories Taste Test and Pedi Cabs of York, the York County Community Foundation is getting ready to hand out $20,000 to kickstart York’s next big idea.

For a chance to win the YorIt 2018 Social Venture Challenge, individuals or groups with ideas for “invigorating” York must submit an online one-page letter of intent by 5 p.m. Nov. 15 to start the four-step application process for the grant, according to a news release.

Toni Calderone and Allison Given receive a $20,000 grant from the York County Community Foundation for their project Taste Test, A Pop Up Restaurant Series.

Once the Nov. 15 deadline passes, YorIt members will review the letters of intent and select a portion of them to submit a more formal application, said Sarah Thomas, marketing and communications director for the foundation.

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Thomas encouraged “any socially minded organization or people that have a big idea that’s going to change York” to submit a letter of intent to enter the Social Venture Challenge.

From the formal applicants, the field will be narrowed again for the interview round with the foundation’s challenge committee, Thomas said.

Five groups will then make their final pitches to the YorIt members at a live event April 18, Thomas said, noting a location has not been finalized.

Past winners of the York County Community Foundation’s YorIt Social Venture Challenge include Taste Test and Pedi Cabs of York, as well as the Parliament Arts Organization and Working Class York.

Hands-on philanthropy: Apart from the four-step process, the Social Venture Challenge has few criteria, in order to not deter people from applying with their innovative and creative ideas, Thomas said.

“You never know what you’re going to get,” Thomas said. “We get a lot of great ideas.”

Using a four-step process to narrow down applicants allows members of YorIt and the York County Community Foundation to have a more hands-on role in choosing the grant winner, Thomas said. 

“It’s a way of doing philanthropy that allows the donor, the giver, to be involved in choosing where that money goes,” Thomas said. “It’s a great way to increase the vitality and vibrancy of York.”