To best address the most vexing social problems facing our region, we need a wide range of solutions from our best thinkers. The Richard King Mellon Foundation is looking to invest in novel products, technologies, or services from social-mission oriented for-profit companies through our Pitch Competition.
To accelerate the impact and effectiveness of the pitch competition, the Foundation is partnering with three expert national and local organizations: The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, in Menlo Park, California and Boston, one of the largest venture philanthropy firms in the world; OneValley, the Silicon Valley-based global entrepreneurship platform that just set up shop in Pittsburgh, operating out of the newly renovated historic Roundhouse Building in Hazelwood Green; and OneValley’s local partner and longtime Richard King Mellon grantee, Ascender.
The Richard King Mellon Foundation Social Impact Pitch Competition is open to any individual, team, or for-profit company that has a social mission.
The idea must:
- Be aligned with the Foundation’s strategic plan. Ask how your product or technology is solving a problem that is important to the Foundation and meets the problem statements or vision of either the Economic Development, Economic Mobility, Health and Well-Being or Conservation program areas.
- Be marketable, feasible to implement, and innovative.
- Create a local impact in Allegheny and/or Westmoreland counties for ideas focused on Economic Development, Economic Mobility, or Health and Well-Being.
- Create impact in areas that the Foundation has previously conserved if the idea focuses on Conservation, which is the one Foundation program that has a national footprint.
Additional consideration will be given to ideas that involve a diversity
of team members who come from a range of backgrounds and disciplines.
Use of Investment Funds
Funds will typically be disbursed as a Program-Related Investment (PRI). A PRI is a financing tool that allows foundations to provide funding to businesses to create solutions to social problems in furtherance of the foundation’s charitable purposes. PRIs for this competition include equity investments or financial guaranties. Foundations do expect a PRI to be repaid according to the terms of the investment. The terms of the investment for Pitch Competition winners will be fair and at market value. When funds are repaid, a foundation distributes the returned funds to other charitable purposes within one year.
The primary goal of a PRI is to achieve charitable benefit. The IRS allows a foundation to provide a PRI if the investment fulfills all three of the following criteria:
- The primary purpose is to accomplish one or more of of the foundation’s exempt purposes,
- Production of income or appreciation of property is not a significant purpose,
- Influencing legislation or taking part in political campaigns on behalf of candidates is not a purpose.
The IRS provides additional nuanced guidance that further clarifies each of these criteria. We encourage you to consult with your legal counsel and review the IRS
guidance and other resources about philanthropic PRIs before you submit an application.
Winning ideas will receive the following investments:
First Prize: $500,000
Second Prize: $300,000
Third Prize: $200,000
Pitch Competition applicants who do not win one of the three prizes will be considered for investment through the Foundation’s Social-Impact Investment Program.