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Identity & Community

Through UpPrize, Helping Nonprofits Innovate Means a Chance to Win $1 Million

Department of Agriculture via Flickr Creative Commons

Pittsburgh is known to have great restaurants all over, but at the end of the night an estimated 40 percent of fresh food is thrown out that could have gone to local food banks.

UpPrize is a new challenge in the Pittsburgh area which combines nonprofits' daily problems with the innovation of local entrepreneurs and a chance to win up to $1 million.  

“There’s a market there in the nonprofits, and in those people and communities that nonprofits serve, but often that nonprofit is not really well known by entrepreneurs locally and nationally,” said Executive-in-Residence at the Forbes Funds, Matt Zieger.

The Forbes Funds, which has been working with nonprofits for 30 years, and BNY Mellon put the project together. The Forbes Fund worked with 150 nonprofits to find out the areas that challenge them the most. They found three key areas that need original ideas.

  • Independence: help those in the community become better caretakers of themselves and the community
  • Access: help reduce physical barriers that hinder possible service and opportunity  
  • Coordination: help non-profits and other community members communicate with each other to bridge gaps in service

Ideas can be anything from phone applications to physical products.
“We’re hoping for really good local entrepreneurs that are already in the trenches working on solutions that are relevant here, to be able to find a home for their product, and a better way to improve their process of growth, and building out that innovation locally,” said Zieger.  

The first round of the challenge is to submit a 2-minute video briefly talking about the idea, and introducing the team. The deadline is April 15 at 5 p.m.