Nonprofit organizations secure more than $65,000 at Pitch Piqua

Edison State Community College wins top prize at charitable grant pitch event

The Piqua Community Foundation disbursed more than $65,000 in grant and pass-through community donations to the three Pitch Piqua finalist organizations at the charitable grant pitch competition March 2. The finalist teams presented to a crowd of enthusiastic attendees at The Fort Piqua Plaza Banquet Center.

The top-scoring organization, Edison State Community College, secured the $50,000 grant award for its proposed project. The other two finalist organizations, Upper Valley Career Center and Health Partners Free Clinic, were each awarded a $5,000 unrestricted award. The funding for the grant awards is supplied by The French Oil Mill Machinery Company Fund, The Richard Donnelly Personal Gifting Account, donors Steven K. & Gail P. Staley, and unrestricted funds of The Piqua Community Foundation.

“It was an incredible evening. I love the energy in the room and the way that the community rallies around these finalist teams, the amazing work that they’re already doing and their vision for more,” said Michelle Perry, executive director of The Piqua Community Foundation. “I’m blown away by the enthusiasm and love for our community that Pitch Piqua embodies.”

Edison State Community College, Koverman Staley Dickerson Insurance, Miami Valley Steel Service, Inc., Park National Bank and Premier Health | Upper Valley Medical Center sponsored the event that had an affordable ticket cost to maximize involvement in local philanthropy.

The 2023 Pitch Piqua judges were Andrew S. Monnin, Jeff Pedro Jr., Rebecca Sousek and Amy Welker. They evaluated the project concepts on their impact on Piqua residents, evidence of a demonstrated community need, readiness for launch, sustainability of the project and quality of the presentation.

The community acted as the collective fifth judge as supporters voted for their favorite project(s) with a pass-through donation of $10 or more. In all, the organizations earned more than $5,100 in pass-through funds to support their mission.

Students in the Region 3 Business Professionals of America program, under the direction of Dara Hardyman, acted as the Tally Team to calculate the scores and donations.

“We are so thankful for all of the sponsors, fundholders and volunteers who work to make Pitch Piqua an enjoyable evening for our community and a great opportunity for the three finalist teams. Pitch Piqua is all about building capacity within our nonprofit community, making a huge impact with Foundation assets and engaging the community around local philanthropy. We wish all three teams luck as they continue to pursue launching their projects!”

— Emily E. Shawler, president of The Piqua Community Foundation Board of Directors

Edison State Community College, represented by Laura Larger, Criminal Justice Coordinator/Instructor, & Dr. Andy Runyan, Dean of Professional & Technical Programs, won the $50,000 top prize for their project Prepared at the event culminating the initiative. In addition, supporters donated more than $1,700 in pass-through donations to the organization.

Edison State’s project Prepared will help protect our community by providing equipment for our own cadets, law enforcement agencies, K-12 school staff, and staff from local businesses to train for an active intruder situation using scenarios created in virtual reality.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to pitch our project and humbled that we were chosen from among the projects that are all deserving of support from the community,” the team said. “Edison State’s training for future police officers and sheriff’s deputies will be more engaging and will better prepare them for critical situations they may face. We will work to offer that same level of excellent training to our partners in local law enforcement agencies, schools and organizations.”

Upper Valley Career Center, represented by Tim Cordonnier, Instructional Supervisor, & Sara Plozay, Cosmetology Instructor/SkillsUSA Advisor, secured a $5,000 unrestricted grant and more than $800 in pass-through donations for their proposal to launch a mobile salon.

The Salon @ 8811 Beauty in Motion will be a mobile learning salon used in the community for students to provide services to people at no cost. Students will enhance their skills and community members will practice self-care, building their confidence and mental well-being.

“Pitch Piqua was an incredible event! We can honestly say that every proposal would make a significant impact on the community and surrounding areas!” the team said. “Congratulations to Edison State Community College and Health Partners Free Clinic! It has been amazing to work with you. We are grateful for the opportunity to share our story and passion to make a positive impact on the community. A huge thank you to The Piqua Community Foundation for this amazing opportunity!”

Health Partners Free Clinic, represented by JoAnn Barhorst, Certified Nurse Practitioner, & Deborah Miller, Executive Director, won a $5,000 unrestricted grant and more than $2,500 in pass-through donations for their proposal.

Health Partners Free Clinic will save lives by providing high-quality breast and cervical cancer screenings. Patients will receive patient education and, if needed, referrals to specialists for treatment and follow-up care. All services will be provided at no cost to the patient.

“Health Partners was privileged to participate in the Pitch Piqua competition this year. We can never thank The Piqua Community Foundation, the other team members, our staff and donors enough for all the tremendous support throughout the entire process,” the team said. “We didn’t win the pitch this year, but this process has strengthened our resources and our team in preparation for the time when we do open a women’s health clinic.”

The Foundation will remain a partner with these organizations as they continue to seek community support for their projects.

To learn more about the Pitch Piqua presenters and the initiative of The Piqua Community Foundation, visit