On Feb. 25, six ideas will be pitched to a giving group of about 40 local entrepreneurs, all ideas vying for one $50,000 grant. The Entrepreneur Leaders in Philanthropy (ELP), a giving group of the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation, pooled their philanthropic contributions to make a big impact through a competition of locally generated ideas. 

All of the ideas (39 were submitted) are connected to local social impact organizations — otherwise known as nonprofits — which will receive the $50,000 grant. Thank you to Wednesday Journal for being the first news outlet to share the six final ideas with our community!

Although it might be convenient to compare the upcoming “Pitch Fest” with the popular TV show, Shark Tank, and although there are similarities in that the ideas will be “pitched” to a slate of entrepreneurs, the similarities end there. The ideas are entrepreneurial in spirit only — they are not tied to for-profit endeavors. The winning idea will be executed through the connected social impact organization.

The Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation exists to help all community members determine how they want to make a difference in the world. We are excited that this initial Pitch Fest for the Big Idea has such a strong group of committed entrepreneurs — including Wednesday Journal, one of the ELP members — who truly enjoy this collective giving opportunity available through the Community Foundation.

The ELP members and all of us connected with the Community Foundation are delighted that the process of the Call for the Big Idea generated conversations throughout our villages on how our community can be transformed. Although only one idea will receive a $50,000 grant on Feb. 25, our hope is that new ideas will surface, take shape, and be pitched for grants in future years. 

Continue thinking, community! 

Kristin Carlson Vogen

President/CEO, Community Foundation of OP/RF

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