This is a portion of a story originally published by the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship.
Step Up to Justice, an organization that provides civil legal services to low-income individuals in Pima County, won first place in the UA McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship’s first Social Impact Pitch Competition. University of Arizona Law alumnus and part-time professor of practice Stacy Rupprecht Butler is the Step Up to Justice board president, and she presented the winning pitch.
"Winning the first Social Impact Pitch Competition was incredibly affirming and energizing for our hard-working staff and volunteers," said Rupprecht Butler. "We are so grateful to the sponsors of this event for recognizing the need for innovative social justice solutions and for their belief in our ability to efficiently and effectively deliver quality free civil legal services. This award allows us to implement much-needed software technology into our service delivery model, so that we can continue to connect volunteer attorneys with the low-income clients who truly need their help. Our program is providing $1 million in free civil legal services to low-income individuals in Pima County this year, and we can't wait to show the community how much further we can reach with the help of this new technology."
The judges were impressed by the Step Up to Justice presentation, which clearly addressed all three components of the judging criteria: scalability, sustainability and capacity to solve a need.
“The potential for immediate impact is huge,” said Tony Penn, president and CEO of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, who served as a judge along with Mike Miles from Microsoft, Scott Nance of ImpactAssets, and Peggy Hutchison of The Primavera Foundation.
The Social Impact Pitch Competition was the culminating event of the McGuire Center’s Social Impact Summit. The summit was part of the TENWEST festival, a weeklong celebration of entrepreneurship, technology, arts and communities. The Social Impact Summit was presented by Microsoft, co-sponsored by United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona and the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, and received additional support from Social Venture Partners (SVP) Tucson, Conn-Selmer, Inc., Moves the Needle, and the University of Arizona Office of Research, Discovery & Innovation.
Photo credit: Great Bear Media