Wendy Owens, development officer for Catholic Charities Community Services, Inc., won the inaugural Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at Maricopa Community Colleges Fundraising Academy Pitch Contest on Thursday, June 21.

The contest was part of the Institute’s Fundraising Academy, an 80-hour fundraising training program designed to provide nonprofit professionals with the skills they need to make a larger impact in their communities. Participants included volunteers, development professionals, and executive directors from 12 local nonprofit organizations.

Using the skills learned throughout the Fundraising Academy, each participant created a 1-minute pitch video about their nonprofit. The top three organizations that received the most views, likes, and shares moved on to the live pitch on Thursday.

The final three contestants were: Jill Hicks of School Connect, Ann DeVlaeminck of Southwest Lending Closet, and Wendy Owens of Catholic Charities. At the live pitch, each of these three nonprofit professionals made a 3-minute live pitch to a distinguished panel of judges including: Cheryl Green, publisher of AZ Big Media, Alfredo Molina, chairman and CEO of Molina Fine Jewelers and Black, Starr & Frost, and Nicole Stanton, partner at Quarles & Brady LLP.   

After the votes were tallied, the winner was announced: Wendy Owens of Catholic Charities. Owens’ pitch presentation focused on the organization’s new MANA House facility, which is set to open its doors to the homeless veteran community on Thursday, June 28.

As the winner of the pitch contest, Owens and Catholic Charities will receive a free, full-page ad in AZ Big Media’s AzBusiness Angels magazine.

To view all of the pitch videos and the Facebook Live video from the event, visit facebook.com/sanfordmaricopa.

The Institute is currently enrolling for the next Fundraising Academy session, which is set to begin on Oct. 22, 2018. For more information, please visit maricopacorporate.com/fundraising-academy.