Ten local groups made their best pitches at the annual Soul of the City Neighbour Grants Pitch Night before the audience had the difficult job of picking five winners to put into action their ideas to improve, enhance, or revitalize their community or neighbourhood.
The pitches – similar to those delivered on the popular TV show Dragons Den – were made to a panel of judges and before a crowd of people who packed the Glenbow Theatre on Tuesday and voted for five groups of Calgarians that were each awarded $10,000 grants for their projects.
The winning citizen-led pitches were:
The spirited – and inspiring with so many children involved – competition to support communities and increase citizen attachment to the city is supported by Calgary Economic Development in partnership with Calgary Foundation and RBC Foundation.
The panel of judges included Mary Moran, president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development, Ken Lima-Coelho of Calgary YMCA, media personality and food critic Julie Van Rosendaal as well as youth representative Collin Ferronato. Local actor Andrew Phung served as MC and kept the crowd engaged throughout.
The Brentwood group, for example, will use its grant to replace a mural that was vandalized in the north Calgary neighbourhood last winter and its members acknowledged all of the presentations were impressive.
“I’m exhilarated … the competition was pretty stiff,” Lee Hunt, a member of the Brentwood group, told the Calgary Herald.
The Neighbour Grants Program was originally launched by The Calgary Foundation in 1999. The program has helped hundreds of community associations including faith groups, schools, community groups and charitable organizations. Calgary Economic Development launched the Soul of the City speaker series in 2012. The series was expanded to include the Neighbor Grants program and RBC Foundation joined as a sponsor this year.