Atlanta nonprofits make case for funding at Philanthropitch event

Ian Cohen used to teach eight classes a day.

He hopes that experience — speaking before dozens of students and having a compelling presentation — will help him as he goes before a panel of judges and a large audience to make his case for money.

Two years ago, Cohen, along with Travis Salters and Ben Sperling, co-founded the nonprofit Next Generation Men.

The organization prepares male students for careers and college.

“The adrenaline will be pumping,” said Cohen, who taught at Banneker High School in College Park for two years. “Teachers give more presentations than anyone.”

He will be among seven metro Atlanta nonprofit leaders who will make their case at the Philanthropitch Atlanta event, which will be held from 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday at the Junior Achievement Discovery Center in the Georgia World Congress Center, 280 Northside Drive N.W., Atlanta. Tickets are $25.

This is the first time the fundraising event has been held in Atlanta.

It’s a fast-paced nonprofit version of the popular television show “Shark Tank,” in which entrepreneurs are given three minutes to make pitches before a panel of wealthy investors.

The nonprofits all use innovative solutions to pressing issues affecting metro Atlanta such as access to education, food security and youth leadership.

The seven finalists were selected from an applicant pool of more than 35 nonprofit leaders.

A panel of six judges, comprised of successful entrepreneurs, business leaders and philanthropists, will judge each finalist pitch, provide instant feedback and award personal funding to their favorite competitor. Up to $50,000 will be awarded at the event.

In addition to funds awarded by judges, EO Atlanta and the Sage Foundation will each award grants to their favorite finalists. The corporate award gives these sponsors an opportunity to involve employees and members in charitable giving by sending representatives to decide which nonprofit organization the company will support.

The audience at Philanthropitch can also vote for their favorite pitch in the Audience Choice Award, which decides the winner of all proceeds from the sale of tickets for the event. You can get tickets at

Philanthropitch has been held for several years in Austin. It’s managed by the Notley Fund, an Austin-based philanthropic investment firm, and has awarded more than $500,000 to 38 nonprofits there over the past four years.

Atlanta was selected because of its strong entrepreneurial spirit and level of civic engagement.

Philanthropitch Atlanta is being introduced by ChooseATL, a local initiative focused on attracting and retaining talent for the Atlanta job market.

“It opens up another stream of funding for nonprofits,” said Chelsea Manning, program officer for Philanthropitch.

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