Prizes will support new apostolates in sharing the treasures of the Church with the world.
Last August, the OSV Institute announced its first ever Innovation Challenge, calling on Catholic entrepreneurs to submit their “napkin idea” for a chance to win $100,000 in support of their mission. The challenge, established in partnership with Catholic Creatives, Notre Dame IDEA Center, and SENT, brought in over 350 applicants, who went through an intense selection process over the past year. The three winners were announced on August 29.
The goal of the challenge was to support ambitious, interesting projects bringing about meaningful, positive influence in the Church and the world. “These innovations aren’t simply for the sake of human progress, but because God has inspired and equipped you for a specific mission,” they told applicants.
In May, the 350 applicants were narrowed down to 12 finalists, who went through a rigorous 10-week Notre Dame IDEA Center Accelerator Program over the summer. The program integrated a custom curriculum for entrepreneurs, spiritual formation, and personalized coaching from world-class Catholic leaders. Jason Shanks, President of OSV Institute, said in a statement,
For more than 100 years, OSV Institute has been funding great organizations and initiatives in the Church. But times have changed, and so have the needs within the Church. We are not aiming to fund the next good idea, but to invest in people—emerging innovators and seasoned trailblazers – by forming a new generation of entrepreneurs who are not afraid to re-look at how we encounter and evangelize through the Truth and beauty of the Catholic Church. The Church has always been at the forefront of great ideas—hospital systems, schools and universities, missions, shrines, and some of the greatest art known to man. This Challenge is a search for Catholic innovators with world-changing ideas.
Beyond the competitive aspect, the OSV Innovation Challenge sought to create an incubator experience for participants, helping them think beyond the status quo and view the Catholic Church through the lenses of innovation and creativity.
The three winners were Catholic Sprouts, Eden Invitation, and Juan Diego Network, which were selected to receive funding to support and grow the effective and ingenious initiatives to bring the Gospel message to the world.
Catholic Sprouts won on behalf of their Domestic Church Project, a six-week in-home experience to help parents set up and live in their own domestic church. “With content designed to engage the hearts of each family member, the initiative gives parents the system and support to teach the faith through story-based audio content, parent training videos, a family manual, and a parent guide book,”says the winners’ announcement. Best of all for busy parents, all of their resources require zero prep, can be consumed in 10 minutes or less, and engage the whole family.
Eden Invitation, a movement to help young adult Catholics experiencing same-sex desires and gender discordance thrive as disciples within the Church, won the prize to support their Hearth & Porch Initiative, which fosters local hubs for community and formation in cities and dioceses around the U.S., and to create evangelistic testimony videos to support and attract new people to their ministry.
Juan Diego Network (JDN) creates, produces, and distributes programs with fresh content to evangelize, form, and entertain different segments and niches of Latinos around the world. The award will allow them to greatly expand their outreach. “With this prize and the money that comes with it, we will be able to create and produce new podcasts of different formats, styles, durations, and content that focus on specific niches of Latinos, the largest growing portion of the Church in the US,” said José Manuel De Urquidi, founder and CEO of JDN. “We expect to reach 500,000 monthly listeners by Spring 2021 and continue partnering with organizations and brands so we can fulfill our mission to evangelize, form, and entertain Latinos, who have traditionally been underserved or have no access to attractive and professionally produced content.”
Each of the projects takes a groundbreaking approach in using the best modern resources to share the timeless Gospel message. We can look forward to seeing the fruits of their work, supported by the award funds, that will bring souls to Christ and transmit the treasures of the Church to the world.
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