YorIT Social Venture ChallengeHealthy World Cafe Receives $20,000 as Winner of 2011 YorIT Social Venture Challenge
April 8th, 2011 – Tonight the YorIT membership selected Healthy World Café as the winner of this year’s Social Venture Challenge and the recipient of $20,000 in start-up funds. Healthy World Café is a 21st-Century, nonprofit restaurant concept in downtown York that will provide healthy meals made from local ingredients at a price each customer decides he/she can afford. The Café will offer an accessible community gathering place where all are welcome and local food, art and music are promoted. Healthy World Café seeks to offer a new dining experience that brings people to downtown York and supports the local economy. Funding from YorIT will support the start-up costs for the Healthy World Café, which plans to be self-sustaining within a year of opening. Philanthropic Endeavors is the fiscal agent for this initiative.
YorIT members made their decision following live pitches from all three Social Venture Challenge finalists: Downtown Delivered, Healthy World Café and Y-FI. The event took place at the Capitol Theatre in Downtown York before a live audience made up of YorIT members, mentors and supporters, as well as interested community stakeholders, potential investors and members of the public. Members who were unable to attend the Finalist Event in person were encouraged to submit their vote by proxy.
The YorIT Social Venture Fund was created through the annual contributions of YorIT members to effect change in our community in a way that is meaningful to our generation. Our membership seeks to fund passionate and creative individuals with ideas that are innovative, feasible and sustainable, and which may not have attracted support from traditional funding sources.
The goal of this year’s YorIT Social Venture Challenge was to fund initiatives with the potential to help attract and retain restaurants and retailers in Downtown York. YorIT used social media, public relations and a guerilla marketing effort to generate interest in this year’s Challenge, which yielded seven exciting video proposals from non-traditional applicants. The videos, uploaded to YouTube, have attracted hundreds of viewers and demonstrate the creative energy Yorkers offer to our community.
The YorIT Challenge Committee, after declaring any potential conflicts of interest, screened those proposals for initial feasibility and potential impact and invited four groups in for second round interviews. Again, potential conflicts were declared and committee members abstained from interviews and deliberations as appropriate. The Selection Committee ultimately narrowed the field down to two finalists, who were soon joined by a third who was able to take the steps recommended by the Committee in order to move them forward as finalists.
We were very proud to put forward three compelling and uniquely different ideas to benefit our downtown. Each was vetted for feasibility, sustainability and potential impact. It is our hope that while Healthy World Café is the recipient of this year’s Challenge Funds, all three finalists will have found the evening to be a platform from which their initiatives were able to generate interest and support from the greater community.
You can learn more about the Healthy World Café at their website: www.healthyworldcafe.org
Also please view their video proposal here:
Below you will find some brief information about the other two finalists, including a link to the video proposal that they submitted to be considered for this year’s challenge. We encourage you to contact each group directly for more information about their initiatives and how you might support their efforts.
2011 YorIT Social Venture Challenge Finalists:
Downtown Delivered is bicycle delivery service for downtown restaurants and food vendors. Beginning two days a week with Central Market vendors, the company seeks to bring market-fresh meals to time-strapped downtown businesses and families, while offering downtown restaurants and retailers an opportunity to increase sales. The company has a commitment to providing quality, fresh foods, delivered on bicycles to reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion. The critical feature of this service is the development of an online ordering system that keeps track of available products in real-time. Funding from YorIT would have supported the development of the software and initial start-up costs for Downtown Delivered. Philanthropic Endeavors is the fiscal agent for this initiative.
Y-FI is an existing community wireless internet project, sharing local resources to benefit the community at large and support economic growth in Downtown York City. The proposal seeks to significantly expand the Y-FI wireless network in York’s Central Business District. Y-FI, under the exclusive direction of Bob Mock, has already established wireless systems in Central Market and several other downtown businesses, making them “third places” where individuals can hang out and stay in touch. Funding from YorIT would have allowed the network to expand its reach by adding approximately 30 additional wireless points and providing back-up technical support. The more connections that are established, the greater the strength of the network. Y-FI recently partnered with the York County Economic Development Corporation (YCEDC) and its nonprofit subsidiary PEDYC, strengthening the initiative’s sustainability and scalability.
Thank you for your support as we continue to seek creative and compelling ideas to improve the quality of life in our community. We look forward to sharing information about next year’s Challenge in the months to come.