Round Two Finalist

Once again the Spark Tank panel was amazed at the number of applications they received and the incredibly good work that is happening in our community.

Choosing three finalist to compete in Round Two was difficult, but after serious deliberation the finalist are:

house of eli

This organization was a finalist in our last round and continues to amaze us. They house, mentor and train boys who have aged out of the foster care system and prepare them for independence within a structured, family environment.

Mommies In Need

Provides free child care to mothers who are experiencing a health crisis and are unable to temporarily care for their children. To date mothers suffering from cancer, major surgeries and high risk pregnancies have benefited from this program.

Families to Freedom

Mothers and children who are victims of domestic violence are transported by car to places where they may recover, often times it is a return to their families of origin. Since 2015, 40,000 miles have been covered helping 36 women, 40 children and 6 pets get to a safe place.

Round Two Results

Round Two of Spark Tank, a social innovation challenge, wrapped up this afternoon and once again we were amazed by the people in our community who are meeting critical needs, needs; in some cases, that we did not even know existed.

Each not for profit was given ten minutes to present their cause and then an additional ten minutes to answer questions. The panel evaluates the program based on the presenters ability to tell the story, the impact the grant will have on their program and the ability to measure the results.

We are pleased to announce that this Rounds winner is Mommies in Need!

Natalie Boyle founded this organization because she had to have cancer treatment while trying to take care of her infant daughters and she recognized that there are a great many families, in the same situation, that simply can not afford the cost of childcare. Mommies in Need provides qualified and vetted Nannies to these families at no cost- and it is the same Nanny, so the children have the consistency they need at such a difficult time. The SparkTank grant will be used specifically for wages for a Nanny who is bilingual and a Nanny who is experienced in dealing with children with special needs. As Natalie told us this afternoon-knowing that your children are being well cared for is the first step in the healing process. Congratulations Natalie- we will see you at the final round in December!

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"Mommies In Need is honored to receive the SparkTank grant and are already putting it to use in our community. We have begun our search for a bilingual nanny and one trained in special needs childcare and are putting out the word that we now have openings to help more families in which the stay-at-home parent is going through a health crisis. Thank you SparkTank!!"

Natalie Boyle - President, Mommies In Need Inc.

Round One Finalist

We were thrilled to receive 14 applications for Round One of the Spark Tank Social Innovation Challenge. They represented not for profits through out the Metroplex, as well as Collin, Denton and Grayson Counties and our panel was overwhelmed with the good work that is being done!

After serious deliberation three finalist have been chosen to proceed to the April 27th presentation and they are:

house of eli

Provides a transitional living program for boys ages 17-21 who are coming out of foster care. They complete their education, live in a family home and work in the family business learning upholstery and refinishing skills that will enable them to support themselves in the future.

house of eli

A mobile soup kitchen that travels to homeless people and provides the things they need to turn their lives around. They also provide a recovery vehicle that picks people up experiencing homelessness and addiction and transports them to the appropriate rehab facility and personally accompany them through the intake process.

house of eli

This program provides temporary foster care services for the pets of addicts and alcoholics in recovery. In the past, when someone required in patient treatment, they had limited options regarding the care of their pets. Providing this service helps people get the help they need without requiring them to surrender their pets.

Round One Results

Our three finalist ( Metro Relief, House of Eli and Dogs Matter) all arrived at 2pm and presented their program for twenty minutes. Each presentation was unique-MetroRelief had hand outs and a video, Dogs Matter brought Patch, an adorable recipient of their services and House of Eli introduced 17 year old Juan who told in great detail how his young life had been changed. Each program met specific needs and every representative was clearly committed to 'making the world a better place".

While the SparkTank panel met to determine the winner, the program representatives shared a waiting room and immediately began to collaborate with one another. In just a brief amount of time they found ways to help one another and share their resources. Frankly, we had never even considered this possibility, but we were thrilled with the results.

The Winner... Dogs Matter!

Choosing a winner was tough, but the criteria used was- the need for the program, the ability to measure the outcomes of the program and the presentation. After a lengthy discussion the panel chose Dogs Matter as the winner of our Round One Social Innovation challenge and presented them with a trophy and a check for $ 5,000. Huge congratulations to all of the presenters who clearly are making a difference on a daily basis.

See their presentation here
Winner Accountability - Dogs Matter's Progress Report

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Special thanks to our panel members: Marc Sparks, Lynne Sipiora, Ray Ricchi, Sherry Tucker, Larry Little, Michael Landauer, Monica Shortino, Jennifer Mendoza, Carissa Fredrick, and Eric DiChiara.

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Round Three will be open in September with an October 1st deadline and the three winners will compete against one another in early December for the grand prize grant award!

Apply today

The History

Marc Sparks is a Dallas entrepreneur who builds portfolio companies with founding entrepreneurs from his private equity firm. Marc met Lynne Sipiora over 15 years ago and together they took a small homeless shelter, The Samaritan Inn, in Collin County from a small run down house in McKinney, Texas, to a $3,000,000 annual operation that houses and feeds over 200 people every day. In addition to The Samaritan Inn, Marc and Lynne also built the first transitional living apartment complex in North Texas, opened a thriving thrift store, and fostered a $7,000,000 family shelter that is currently under construction.

Thousands of people have regained their full independence because of this life saving program.

The Idea

Marc has a string of successful businesses he has built and has a special affinity for entrepreneurs. Lynne convinced Marc that there are also social service entrepreneurs who regularly have "out of the box" ideas; that when funded will create social success. The idea is to significantly reap social benefits within our community by funding grants and overseeing accountability from the nonprofit management.

The Plan

Together Marc and Lynne created Spark Tank. Spark Tank is an innovative concept that asks social service executives with an entrepreneurial spirit to present their idea that will create a social success.

What could you do with $5,000 that would impact lives?

At The Samaritan Inn -
$5,000 paid for the construction of a kennel behind the shelter, so that homeless families did not need to give up their beloved pets to enter the program.
$5,000 covered the cost of children's camps and lessons, so that they did not need to spend their summer in daycare.
$5,000 filled the tank of the company shuttle bus for one year, ensuring that clients without vehicles of their own, could get to work on a daily basis.

The Program

All interested applicants must apply online.
Each application will be carefully reviewed and three finalists will be chosen.

The finalists must present their ideas, in person, to the Spark Tank panel on a designated date. Each finalist will be allotted 10 minutes maximum time to present, followed by 10 minutes of Q&A.

The Rules

Applicants must be a 501c3 organization with a minimum of two years history.

Human services, animal services, and the arts are all eligible to apply. National charities, United Way charities, political action committees (PACs) and faith based initiatives ARE NOT eligible. Faith based initiatives for nonreligious purposes ARE eligible.

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Tell us - the need, the idea and how you will measure the results.
Show us - your passion and creativity.

Come on - let's change the world together!!

Apply today