Innovative Ideas Pitched at the Social Investors Forum Hosted by the Community Foundation of Utah

On December 1, 2015, the Community Foundation of Utah hosted its fourth Social Investors Forum.

Five exceptional organizations pitched innovative ideas for solving social problems to Venture Philanthropy Utah, a group of investors with a shared commitment to innovation and sustainability in Utah.

The five finalists who pitched were selected from a pool of 31 responses to the Foundation’s Call for Investments. In stark contrast to a typical grant application, the Call is only one page long, does not specify a grant amount, asks for a clear solution to a defined problem, and requires evidence that the idea has impact and can be financially sustainable. The finalists were: AyudaFin, Cranium Café, East African Refugee Goat Project, The Green Urban Lunchbox, and Wasatch Community Gardens. Though in the past, the Investment Committee has traditionally made grants, loans or other investments based solely on the call for investments and the one time pitches, the Investment Committee is interested in digging deeper on two projects that were pitched at the event, to ensure that an investment of time, talent, and funding will create a lasting impact in these two organizations:

  • AyudaFin seeks to provide a software platform that connects lenders to Latino borrowers that are currently underserved due to a lack of documentation and credit history;
  • East African Refugee Goat Project is a program begun by refugees from East Africa that sells high quality goats to community members for meat and rents goats for weed management to generate income, funding higher education opportunities for refugee youth;

Over the next few weeks, members of the Social Investors Forum Investment Committee intend to work with the selected organizations to determine if there is an investment strategy that will benefit these organization’s growth and sustainability.

“The committee is thrilled to see the caliber of organizations and pitches that were presented at the forum.” said Jeramy Lund. “This round of pitches and deliberation is an indication of what we want for the future of this forum.  We want to see that these organizations and projects have the best possible chance at sustainable success and we are focused on a more engaged investment to make that happen.”

The Community Foundation of Utah invites others to invest in these and other efforts that applied to the Call for Investments. A compendium of all requests for support will be made available on the Community Foundation of Utah’s website, informing government, foundations, banks, investors, and the community about both needs and the social innovators dedicated to meeting them.

The Social Investors Forum is made possible through the generous support of Morgan Stanley and CIT Bank.

Venture Philanthropy Utah is a group of qualified investors who provide investments and mentor capital to the portfolio companies through the Social Investors Forum. The group is leading the way to support innovation in the nonprofit sector.

The Community Foundation of Utah is a catalyst for philanthropy that is visionary, diverse, and inclusive. For more information go to, call (801) 559-3005, or email Community Foundation of Utah Executive Director, Alex Eaton at [email protected]