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Southeast Raleigh Innovation Challenge Bringing Ideas and Funding to Address Community Needs

More than 40 participants pitched ideas to bring resources and jobs to their community

Morrisville, NC (July 22, 2017) – United Way of the Greater Triangle, Wake County, the City of Raleigh, and Southeast Raleigh Promise – in partnership with a Co-Design Team of community leaders – successfully launched the first Southeast Raleigh Social Innovation Challenge with a $120,000 prize pool.

The Challenge is designed to connect with community residents, small businesses, nonprofits, faith-based groups, youth (16-25) and other organizations to identify solutions that are innovative yet practical.

“What is sustainable is when the community itself comes together and presents ideas because the community knows best what they need,” said Kirby Jones, Executive Director of Daniels Center for Math and Science in Southeast Raleigh and member of the Co-Design Team.

Ideas pitched on Saturday, July 22 ranged from entrepreneurial mentorship and conflict resolution to opportunities for youth and people formally incarcerated. The Kickoff included opportunities for presenters to gain feedback on their ideas from audience members which included local entrepreneurs and business people.

The audience voted on a People’s Choice Award. Garner Road Community Center whose idea to train and certify community members in the culinary arts won the honor.
“We had tons of community members come out to share their ideas of how to innovate and bring about change for the growth of Southeast Raleigh. I was so happy to part of this program and am really looking forward to the future of what we are getting ready to do,” said Quintin Murphy of Southeast Raleigh Assembly, Co-Design Team member and host.

Residents and businesses with verifiable zip codes of 27601, 27603, and 27610 have an opportunity to apply Applications are due July 28.

A six-week Accelerator program, managed through Carolina Small Business Development Fund, will help semi-finalists prepare for their final pitch in the fall. All participants will be invited to a training session to connect them with local resources to help move their idea to reality.

Raleigh—continuously cited as one of the best places to live in America—is ranked #88 out of 100 largest cities nationwide in distressed communities. The zone of deepest need sits squarely in Southeast Raleigh with nearly 10,000 people facing low educational attainment, high unemployment, and staggering poverty levels. Nationwide, there is a recognition that the people best suited to create solutions to address these issues are those who live and work there. The Southeast Raleigh Challenge is designed to encourage community-level solutions.

The Challenge is an investment in Southeast Raleigh’s future, with a vision to complement other initiatives currently underway in order to build thriving neighborhoods and improve social mobility.

1Source: Economic Innovation Group, February 2016; Data: EIG analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data

Photos (attached):

All Presenters and host, Quintin Murphy – Includes all community members who pitched an idea


People’s Choice Winners – Garner Road Community Center, Team members include: Jessica Buckram, Sarah Young, Kayla Melvin, Saylah Rogers, Alfredo Bornornio, & Viviana Mateo


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About United Way of the Greater Triangle (UWGT)
United Way actively mobilizes the caring power of communities to build resources, focus investments, and foster partnerships to improve lives and inspire generations of achievement in four North Carolina counties: Durham, Johnston, Orange, and Wake. A focus on children and their families in low-income households uses a collaborative, two-generational approach to dramatically change the course of their futures. Learn more at  

2400 Perimeter Park Drive, Suite 150 | Morrisville, North Carolina 27560

Media Contact:
Stacy Shelp, VP of Marketing & Communications
Office:  919-463-5013