Organizations secure more than $68,000 at inaugural Pitch Piqua

Piqua Compassion Network wins top prize at charitable grant pitch event

Piqua Compassion Network team Rebecca Sousek, Chloe Clark & Caleb Patton and Foundation Executive Director Michelle Perry

The Piqua Community Foundation disbursed more than $68,000 in grant and pass-through community donations to the three Pitch Piqua finalist organizations at the charitable grant pitch competition March 3. The finalist teams presented to a crowd of an estimated 300 energetic attendees at The Fort Piqua Plaza Banquet Center.

“There is one thing I am sure of — I am proud to be from Piqua!” said Emily E. Shawler, president of The Piqua Community Foundation Board of Directors. “I am so grateful to everyone who came to the event and supported all three of our finalist groups. All three groups’ big ideas were worthy of winning the $50,000 grant. I look forward to seeing the success of the Piqua Compassion Network’s Power Project and hope all three projects will move forward!”

Foundation Executive Director Michelle Perry, Child Care Choices, Inc. team, Piqua City Schools team and Piqua Compassion Network team

The top-scoring organization, Piqua Compassion Network, secured the $50,000 grant award for its proposed project. The other two finalist organizations, Piqua City Schools and Child Care Choices, Inc., 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, The G. William Hartzell Charitable Fund and unrestricted funds of The Piqua Community Foundation.

Donors Lt Col Daniel P. French, USAFR, Ret & Margaret L. French

“Launching a new initiative is a leap of faith for an organization,” said Michelle Perry, executive director of The Piqua Community Foundation. “Pitch Piqua is possible because our Board of Directors and fundholders saw the vision and wholeheartedly put their support behind it. They understand that making an investment of this size will have dividends for years to come in strengthening our community.”

Edison State Community College, 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 2022 Pitch Piqua judges were Amanda Brown, Timothy Risner, Jim Sever and Kathy Sherman. 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.

2022 Pitch Piqua judges (l-r) Amanda Brown, Timothy Risner, Jim Sever & Kathy Sherman

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 $8,000 in pass-through funds to support their mission.

The Edison State Community College accounting program students, under the direction of instructors Sandra Streitenberger and Holly Stewart, acted as the Tally Team to calculate the scores and donations.

Piqua Compassion Network, represented by Executive Director Rebecca Sousek & volunteers Chloe Clark & Caleb Patton, won the $50,000 top prize for The Power Project at the event culminating the inaugural initiative. In addition, supporters donated more than $5,100 in pass-through donations to the organization.

The Power Project will create a safe and inviting center for all teens at the Mote Park community building through a partnership with the City of Piqua and private partners. The center will provide teens access to basic needs resources and use fitness and education to give teens power over their physical, mental and social health.

“We are so grateful for this opportunity from The Piqua Community Foundation and all of the sponsors for making this event happen. It was truly a night to remember, and The Power Project will be forever thankful,” said the Piqua Compassion Network team.

Piqua City Schools, represented by Directors of Curriculum Teresa Anderson & Scott Bloom, won a $5,000 unrestricted grant and nearly $1,600 in pass-through donations for their proposal.

The school district seeks to increase the impact of its bookmobile program by purchasing a new van outfitted with bookshelves and displays for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning tools to bring learning to children’s neighborhoods and at community events.

“When you hear people say ‘everyone’s a winner,’ it is true in this case! Each group benefited from the experience, but most importantly our community will be better as a result of the generosity and creativity of The Piqua Community Foundation Pitch Piqua grant!” said the Piqua City Schools team.

Child Care Choices, Inc., represented by Co-Directors Jenny Fox & Renee Matsunami, won a $5,000 unrestricted grant and nearly $1,500 in pass-through donations for their proposal.

The organization seeks to bolster the child care workforce in Piqua to open additional spots for children, allowing their parents/caregivers to work. The proposal laid out the economic development benefits of increasing child care capacity and serving centers and preschools with shared resources.

“Pitch Piqua was an incredible journey of discovery, soul searching, prioritizing and focusing in on our mission. The people we met, the learning process for creating our pitch, and the experience of working with The Piqua Community Foundation and other finalists was transformative for our agency,” said the Child Care Choices, Inc. team.

The Foundation will remain a partner with these organizations as they continue to seek community support for their projects. Additionally, The Foundation invites nonprofit leaders to think of their own big ideas for the next Pitch Piqua cycle, with an application deadline of July 28, 2022.

To learn more and to watch the videos of the Pitch Piqua presentations, visit