NPO Launchpad, the Richmond region’s first nonprofit incubator, has selected three organizations to participate in its inaugural Fall accelerator, kicking off in early September. The Fall cohort includes:
- Beyond Boundaries – offering individuals with disabilities the opportunity to experience outdoor activities in the surrounding community.
- Shood – collecting gently used running shoes, reconditioning them and distributing them to those who are homeless or living in poverty in Richmond communities.
- VET Fund – providing financial support to pet owners facing financial hardships, whose pets require life-saving veterinary treatment.
The three organizations were selected from NPO Launchpad’s online pitch competition, which received 29 applicants. In addition to receiving hands-on mentorship from leaders in Richmond’s entrepreneurial, business and nonprofit communities, the cohort will utilize coworking space at VCU da Vinci Center.
“These nonprofits each presented specific challenges for which NPO Launchpad believes can positively impact in a short period of time,” said Pat Hull, co-founder of NPO Launchpad and founder of The Hull Foundation, a leading contributor to NPO Launchpad. “Teaming up with VCU da Vinci Center will greatly benefit and enhance our program.”
In addition to coworking space, VCU da Vinci Center will provide NPO Launchpad with acceleration curriculum and graduate assistant support during the three-month accelerator. The center has previously hosted a cohort of Lighthouse Labs and currently hosts goHappy, a social communication platform, as its Startup in Residence.
“We see the VCU da Vinci Center’s collaboration with NPO Launchpad to be a significant catalyst for connecting our students to the growing number of nonprofits in the Richmond region,” said Garret Westlake, executive director, VCU da Vinci Center. “These fantastic nonprofit organizations will benefit from our curriculum and best practices while creating new opportunities for experiential learning and building greater connection between students and the community.”
Criteria for the accelerator included early-stage organizations with 501(c)(3) status; based in Richmond region; and under $100,000 revenues annually. Applicants for the Fall cohort were thoroughly reviewed and voted on by NPO Launchpad’s mentors and leadership.
“NPO Launchpad received an impressive response from local nonprofit startups,” said Jeff Palumbo, co-founder of NPO Launchpad. “All of the applicants were very worthy of our support. In furthering connections between Richmond’s for-profit and nonprofit communities, I hope that someday we will be able to accept more organizations into our programs.”
At the start of the three-month accelerator in September, the cohort will introduce and present their organizations to NPO Launchpad and participating mentors. They will be matched with mentors, who will meet periodically with the individual cohort members, refining their goals and developing solutions to challenges that their organizations are facing.
The accelerator will culminate with a launch party, hosted by NPO Launchpad, whereby the cohort members will showcase their success, growth, and progress while connecting with Richmond’s business and donor community.