UNITY of Greater New Orleans Wins Pitch It! The Innovation Challenge

October 7, 2013

New Orleans, LA | October 1, 2013 – UNITY of Greater New Orleans won $25,000 at Pitch It! The Innovation Challenge at Tulane University’s Greer Field at Turchin Stadium yesterday. UNITY’s winning idea, presented by UNITY’s Director of Research and Public Policy Emily Danielson, is the design and implementation of a “SuperTool” that will help put an end to homelessness. “SuperTool allows us to coordinate services among our 60 member agencies while making it easier for homeless people to find help,” said Martha Kegel, executive director of UNITY of Greater New Orleans. “With this tool, we can assess precisely what level of service an individual or family needs in order to end their homelessness and immediately refer them to an appropriate agency for help.”

Second prize worth $5,000 went to Gentilly 6, a partnership among Build NOW, Project Home Again, St. Bernard Project, Liberty Bank CDC, Ponchartrain Park CDC, and Project Homecoming. Their idea is to fight blight by creating an investors pool to purchase tax liens on vacant or blighted properties.

The third prize worth $2,500 went to Covenant House for an idea to create an app designed specifically for at-risk youth. The app will connect service organizations and youth facing severe hardships including homelessness, violence, and addictions.

All the winners also received two round trip tickets courtesy of Southwest Airlines.

Pitch It! The Innovation Challenge, a project of the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Organizational Effectiveness initiative in partnership with the Kresge Foundation, is a project that supports breakthrough ideas in the human services field. This is the first of three years that Pitch It! The Innovation Challenge will be offered.

This year’s judges were Jeanne Bell, CEO of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services; Matt Wisdom, co-founder and CEO of TurboSquid; Maurice Cox, director of Tulane City Center and associate dean for community engagement at the Tulane University School of Architecture; and, Guillermina Hernandez-Gallegos, program director for human services at the Kresge Foundation.

The three finalists who presented their pitches on Monday, September 30th were selected from a pool of 40 applicants who submitted a diverse range of innovative ideas to address many vital community needs. All participants and ideas are listed on the Foundation’s website here.


The Greater New Orleans Foundation is one of the oldest and largest philanthropic organizations in the region. Every day, the Foundation joins other foundations, nonprofit organizations, community leaders, and government officials to address the needs of the community and build consensus for solutions. Together with our family of donors, the Foundation has invested over $100 million in our region since it opened its doors over 30 years ago to respond to community needs. dev.gnof.org