Who are the Fast Pitch presenters?
Every year, SVP selects one new nonprofit in a competitive process to add to its portfolio of Investees. We establish a close, multi-year relationship with the nonprofit’s leadership and work together to help them solve challenges and achieve goals. In 2011, SVP decided to open up this process to the investing community and share these great innovative organizations with you.
Eight innovative nonprofits at various stages in SVP’s Investee selection process will be in the Fast Pitch. Some are new, some are established, and ALL are innovative, bringing new ideas to solve pressing problems in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. At bigBANG!, we will hear from:
Phillip M. Robinson, Jr., a native Clevelander, joined City Year Cleveland as its Executive Director in December 2010. Previously, Robinson was a senior account executive with Marcus Thomas, LLC. Prior to moving back to Northeast Ohio, he held positions at Powell Tate | Weber Shandwick in Washington, DC and served as a congressional legislative aide for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. A graduate of Gilmour Academy, Robinson earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from The George Washington University school of Business. He is currently earning his Master of Business Administration degree from the Case Western University Weatherhead School of Management. He was selected as one of the Top 25 Under 35 Movers and Shakers by Inside Business Magazine and the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club. Robinson was inducted into the George Washington University Hall of Fame in 2001 for his leadership on campus as president of the Black Student Union and president of the Student Association. Additionally, he is a member of Leadership Cleveland Class of 2013, and the United Way Council of Agency Executives. Currently, Robinson serves on the board of Citizens Leadership Academy and is the Vice Chair of the 11th Congressional Caucus with U.S. Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge. He lives with his wife, Elizabeth, in University Heights.
Erin Huber is the executive director and founder of DLDT. She has a decade-long history of civic engagement, project management, working with youth, mentoring, leadership, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, and academic accomplishments proven by an extensive list of awards and honors. She was recently named one of Cleveland’s Most Interesting People of 2012 by Cleveland Magazine, inducted into the Mentor High School (Ohio) Alumni Hall of Fame, awarded the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Urban College at Cleveland State University and featured a water action figure by Circle of Blue
Brandon Chrostowski is on a mission to change the face of re-entry in the United States. In 2007, he founded EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute. His approach is simple: arm those re-entering society with a skill and a smile. The idea for EDWINS was born “from a break” that Chrostowski received early in life and has grown into a six-month program conducted in prison that provides training in Culinary Arts and hospitality. After release, individuals are not only equipped with basic culinary skills, they also are assisted with finding employment, have the opportunity to utilize free housing, basic medical care, clothing, job coaching and literacy programs. By 2013 EDWINS plans to expand into a restaurant open to the public, dedicated to teaching those recently released in all facets of restaurant operations.
Chrostowski began his career in Detroit fifteen years ago and has since trained in some of the world’s finest restaurants. He received an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Restaurant Management at The Culinary Institute of America. He apprenticed at Chicago’s legendary restaurant, Charlie Trotters and after graduation worked at Lucas Carton, Paris’ longest standing, Michelin 3-star restaurant. At Lucas Carton, Brandon began to develop cutting-edge skills, while learning the intricacies of a French kitchen.
After spending time in Europe, Brandon decided to return to the United States to refine further what he learned in France. In New York City, Brandon worked at Le Cirque as a Chef de Partie and then as a saucier at Picholine. After spending several years in the kitchen, Brandon decided to expand his restaurant knowledge by working in the dining room. He chose Le Pavilion in upstate New York, which is owned and operated by former CIA instructor Claude Guermont. At Le Pavilion, Brandon learned the dynamics behind professional table service.
Brandon then had the opportunity to manage Chanterelle in New York City, a New York Times and James Beard award-winning restaurant, while working under the tutelage of restaurateurs Karen and David Waltuck. At Chanterelle, Brandon also worked closely with Master Sommelier Roger Dagorn.
Certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2008, Brandon brings a wealth of knowledge and polished service to his current position as general manager of L’Albatros Brasserie and Bar in Cleveland, where he also is the restaurant’s sommelier and fromager. Brandon has written for The Ohio Authority, serves on the advisory committee for Slow Food’s northern Ohio chapter.
Jillian Neimeister joined the Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio in 2009 as Donor Relations Specialist, advancing to Fund Development Manager in 2011. At the VNA, Jillian manages development operations and plays a lead role in managing the VNA Employee Giving Campaign to actively engage the workforce in charitable initiatives. Her exceptional technology expertise led her to manage the e-Learning components of EmPowerU. She was part of a team that won HealthStream’s Successful Outcomes through Learning Award for 2011 Continuing Education for Your Staff.
Prior to the VNA, Jillian worked as the Program Manager for COAR Peace Mission managing development projects, an international sponsorship program and acting as a tour guide and translator for mission trips to El Salvador.
Jillian is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), a Cleveland Bridge Builders Alumna Class of 2012 and winner of the Bad Girl Ventures Fall 2012 Class for her work as Coach and Co-owner of Birdtown CrossFit. Recent articles in Fresh Water Cleveland, Inside Business Magazine and the Lakewood Observer cover her startup’s story. Jillian earned her Bachelor of Arts in English at John Carroll University and Master’s in Nonprofit Administration and Leadership from Cleveland State University. Jillian lives in Lakewood.
Victor is the Executive Director of Esperanza, Inc. The mission of Esperanza is to improve the academic achievement of Hispanics in Greater Cleveland by supporting students to graduate high school and promoting post-secondary educational attainment. He is a graduate of the Cleveland School System (Cleveland School of Science class of 1995), has a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Baldwin Wallace College and a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Cleveland State University. He serves on several boards and committees, including the Hispanic Roundtable and the Cuyahoga Community College. He is a member of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2012, recipient of Kaleidoscopes’ Forty under Forty among Hispanics, and a fellow at the Center for Progressive Leadership. He is married with three children.
Paula Grooms, Executive Director,
With over 25 years of communications, marketing, management, and event promotion experience, Paula Grooms is a respected marketing expert and experienced manager of multifunctional teams in both the corporate and non-profit worlds. Ms. Grooms is currently the Executive Director of the Ingenuity Festival of Art + Technology, an annual festival in downtown Cleveland, Ohio which celebrates the cultural and business strengths of the region and attracts over 40,000 people every year.
Prior to becoming the Executive Director of Ingenuity, Ms. Grooms served two years as organization’s Managing Director, with chief responsibility for debt retirement, sponsorship development, marketing and public relations.
Before joining Ingenuity, Paula spent 20 years at IMG, leaving there as a Senior Vice President in 2006. Ms. Grooms spearheaded IMG’s creative business communications worldwide. As head of IMG Creative and manager of all of IMG’s corporate communications projects, Paula worked routinely with IMG’s top executives, including founder Mark H. McCormack (now deceased), and the heads of IMG’s business units worldwide.
Ms. Grooms has served on the Boards of Directors and as Marketing Chair for MOCA Cleveland (Museum of Contemporary Art) and Ingenuity, Cleveland’s Festival of Art and Technology. Paula is also the founding president of the Cleveland Chapter of WISE, Women in Sports and Events and sits on the national WISE board, and was also an active mentor with the Cleveland Foundation’s Civic Innovation Lab from 2006 to 2009.
In addition, Ms. Grooms has served on the local organizing and marketing committees for several major events in Cleveland over the years, including the Intel Science and Engineering Fair, The International Children’s Games, and the NCAA Women’s Final Four of Basketball, for which she co-chaired the Title IX committee.
Watch the Fast Pitch Here
View the Prospectus Here
Jim Sheehan is Executive Director and a founding member of the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op, a non-profit bicycle education facility in Cleveland, Ohio. He was a director of the League of American Bicyclists from 2006-2009, has been a League Cycling Instructor since 2003, and is a founding member of Bike Cleveland (and previous local advocacy groups, since 1992). He has been a bike mechanic, messenger, tourist, racer and (as often as possible) a bike commuter. He lives with his wife in Shaker Heights, where he enjoys mountain biking on nearby deer trails in the company (and at the “unhurried” pace) of their 12 year old beagle, Fressie.
Janice Dzigiel, Executive Director,
Janice has served as the executive director of (STC) since 2006. STC works through coordinated systems and providers to enhance senior transportation services. In this role she has transformed the organization from a philanthropic model to a solid earned income business model.
Previously Janice directed the Center for Applied Gerontology at Cuyahoga Community College. The Center annually served 5,000 individuals through lifelong learning programs and services, and continuing and professional training for persons who work in the field of aging.
Janice has a Bachelor’s Degree in Gerontology from Kent State University and Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Cleveland State University. She has over 30 years of experience in the field of aging including direct service, grant development, and management and administration.
She serves as on the board of the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging and is a member of the Council of Older Persons of The Center for Community Solutions. A lifelong Clevelander, she enjoys gardening and competing with her dog Gracie in canine agility events. She is practicing caregiver for her octogenarian parents Evelyn and Leonard.
How are nonprofits selected to be Fast Pitch presenters?
Nonprofits submitted applications in January 2013 in response to the October 2012 call for applications to become an “Investee” of Social Venture Partners. Applicants are interested in a long-term engagement with SVP’s donor-volunteers to improve the business-side of their missions.
Eight organizations were selected to present at bigBANG! based on the innovative and effective ways they solve the social problems their mission addresses. They participated in eight weeks of coaching from SVP volunteers to prepare their Fast Pitch.
Of those eight, five are semi-finalists to become SVP’s next investee. Semi-finalists submitted full proposals describing the organizational help they request. They hosted site visits from SVP’s Investment Team. In selecting an Investee, Partners consider not only the innovative approach and their track record of success, but they also match the organizational assistance requested to find the best fit where SVP partners can help the nonprofit reach its goals.
SVP will ultimately select one of these nonprofits after bigBANG! as the 2013 SVP Investee. Partners will give their time, their intellectual capital, and a cash grant of $15,000 with the potential to renew the relationship and the grant for three years.
The full 2013 guidelines for applying to be SVP’s next investee are available on SVP’s main website.