Community Toolbox wins $25,000 from Entrepreneurs’ Fund

Seacoast nonprofit uses volunteer labor to provide critical home repair

CONCORD, NH (PRESS RELEASE) – With a $25,000 grant on the line, five Seacoast nonprofit organizations made their final three-minute pitches to members and guests of the Entrepreneurs’ Fund of New Hampshire during the EFNH AMP NH Award Competition last night at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth. EFNH members and guests voted for nonprofit projects in “real-time” during the event, based on anticipated “amplified benefits” for the organizations and communities they serve. Community Toolbox, Inc. of Portsmouth, which uses volunteer labor to provide critical home repair to low- or fixed-income homeowners, received the most votes to win the $25,000 grant.

EFNH, an initiative of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, channels the expertise, energy and passion of the state’s leading entrepreneurs to strengthen New Hampshire communities through innovative philanthropy. EFNH will host additional pitch events in Manchester on Tuesday, May 12, and in Hanover on Thursday, May 21. At each competition, EFNH members will award a $25,000 grant to a deserving nonprofit.

To prepare for the AMP NH Award competitions, finalists were paired with EFNH mentors, who worked one-on-one with nonprofits to help craft engaging and persuasive pitches. Finalists took part in “pitch camps” prior to the final event to help put the finishing touches on their pitches.

“This really is a unique event that brings nonprofits and thought leaders from the private sector and philanthropic circles together,” said Evan Karatzas, a pitch camp mentor and founder of Proximity Lab. “There is no other event that delivers so much value to participants in such a concentrated and efficient way.”

“I love that we are showcasing a different way to do philanthropy,” said Mary Jo Brown, president of Brown & Company Design and an EFNH member. “The shared learning that happens between the nonprofits and the entrepreneurs is good for New Hampshire. We are building connections between those two sectors in a meaningful way that will be long-lasting.”

With the $25,000 grant, Community Toolbox, Inc. will continue to grow its fix-it program that offers small but critical home repairs to Seacoast homeowners in need. Community Toolbox, Inc. sends skilled volunteers into the homes of qualified individuals to provide critical home repairs that improve the quality of their living conditions by ensuring that their homes will be safe, healthy and accessible. In 2014, in its first full year of operations, Community Toolbox, Inc. assisted 15 homeowners. With this grant, the organization expects to be able to help more than 50 homeowners by the end of 2015.

“We’re honored and humbled to have been selected this evening,” said Cheryl Van Allen, executive director of Community Toolbox, Inc. “Everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy home and this award will give us the opportunity to continue to grow this program, to recruit more skilled volunteers, to bring on more community partners so we can help even more of our neighbors remain safe and healthy in their homes.”

Since 2011, 63 nonprofit organizations have participated in pitch camps and AMP Awards Competitions with EFNH. When the three grants are awarded this spring, 13 organizations will have received grants from EFNH totaling $210,000.

Along with Community Toolbox, Inc., finalists and their projects included:

  • Community Partners Behavioral Health & Development Services (Dover, NH) will create a pilot program to improve the health and emotional wellbeing of people with developmental disabilities.
  • Friends in Action (Portsmouth, NH) will partner with Echo Community Thrift Shop and the University of New Hampshire in Durham to provide work opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.
  • New Heights Adventures for Teens (Portsmouth, NH) will develop STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programs for students in 5th grade through high school to help meet the growing demand for a STEM workforce in New Hampshire.
  • Star Island Corporation (Portsmouth, NH) will use the island’s infrastructure to deliver STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs to educators, students and nonprofits.

About the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation was created in 1962 by and for the people of New Hampshire, and is dedicated to strengthening communities across the Granite State. The Foundation manages a growing collection of 1,700 philanthropic funds created by generous families, individuals and businesses, and awards more than $30 million in grants and scholarships every year. The Foundation invests charitable assets for today and tomorrow; works with generous and visionary citizens to maximize the power of their giving; supports critical work happening in New Hampshire communities and leads and collaborates on high-impact initiatives. For more information, please visit www.nhcf.org or call 603-225-6641.