SEED20 OnStage! 2015

By Lindsay Kosma Photos by Kurt Shackelford

March 3, 2015

The Knight Theatre was as inviting as the array of hors d’oeuvres eloquently displayed on several tables throughout the entrance hall. As the room quickly began to fill, the crowd was alive with excitement as attendees awaited the start of the fourth annual SEED20 OnStage! event.

Photo by Kurt Shackelford

This event is sponsored by the Social Venture Partners (SVP) which is a global network of strategic philanthropists who offer grants, collective expertise, and support to the vital nonprofit organizations in the Charlotte area. From numerous applications, 20 nonprofits were selected and then refined to a group of 10 finalists who had the opportunity to present their cause in front of a panel and audience that evening. The entrepreneurs representing each nonprofit were given three minutes on stage to persuade the audience and judges to support their cause and to compete for their vote. They weren’t allowed any video, props or accompaniment- only a verbal presentation.

Susan Jassan of A Widow’s Path. Photo by Kurt Shackeford

After the compelling and moving presentations by each of the 10 finalists, the votes were cast and grants were given to the following participants:

People’s Choice Grand Prize of $20,000 was awarded to Charlotte Bilingual Preschool and accepted by Joanne Stratton Tate, Head of School. This program prepares Spanish speaking children to enter kindergarten ready to learn and provides a comprehensive program to encourage their parents’ participation.

Joanne Stratton Tate of Charlotte Bilingual Preschool. Photo by Kurt Shackelford

Second Place Prize of $12,500 was awarded to Uncommen and accepted by Dee Lanier, Executive Director. Through his program, he has developed an app challenging men to become better leaders, husbands and dads. The app works to connect men and better their relationships using video-driven challenges from their peers.

Dee Lanier of Uncommen. Photo by Kurt Shackelford

Third Place Prize of $7,500 was awarded to Present Age Ministries and accepted by Hannah Arrowood, Executive Director. This nonprofit is committed to combating sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking of teen girls. They promote awareness and empower survivors through their residential housing program.

Hannah Arrowood of Present Age Ministries,

The Coaches’ Award of $5,000 was awarded to semifinalist F.R.E.E. Foundation and accepted by Jack Sheehan, Leader. F.R.E.E gathers used mobility and medical equipment, cleans it up, and gifts it to low income, uninsured and underinsured people.

Priceless Misc Award of $10,000 In-Kind was awarded to semifinalist A.C.E. Your Prostate Exam and accepted by Brittany Breckenridge, Co-Founder. This program brings awareness, commitment and education to the issue of prostate cancer in the African American community. They provide men and their families with tools that promote regular prostate screenings and a healthier lifestyle.

Remaining Finalists:

Girls Rock Charlotte

A Widow’s Path

Joedance Film Festival

Youth Meditation

Charlotte Ballet Reach

Charlotte Food Innovation District

EmpowHERment, Inc.

Remaining Semifinalists:    

Adoption Support Alliance

Brave Step

Applause for the Cause

Girl Talk Foundation, Inc.

Green Teacher Network

The Institute for Philanthropic Leadership

Right Moves for Youth

Teaching Fellows Institute

Photo by Kurt Shackelford

Following the awards ceremony, all parties filtered into the foyer where they enjoyed an elaborate spread of food and desserts catered by Aria. Each nonprofit was set up at their respective tables around the room which offered a fantastic opportunity for the supporters to mingle and find out more about the various organizations. The night resolved with cheerful celebration of the great things these organizations are doing in the community and all of the promise to come from this incredible event.

2015 Top Prize Winner Charlotte Bilingual Preschool

For more information or to find out how you can get involved visit or

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