Catholic In Recovery, FemCatholic, and Red Bird Ministries each awarded $100,000 investment prize at virtual OSV Challenge Showcase
The OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation awarded three $100,000 prizes to the winners of the 2021 OSV Challenge, a competition to encourage creative new ideas to positively impact the Catholic Church.
As with the popular business reality show, “Shark Tank,” contestants pitched their ideas to a panel of “investors.” The three winners, Catholic In Recovery, FemCatholic, and Red Bird Ministries, were announced at the September 18 OSV Challenge Showcase.
Unlike the show, “Shark Tank,” the OSV Challenge was designed in the spirit of mentorship. The contest was designed so that the “investors” could work with contestants to help them make projects a success.
The eight-month long contest, now in its second year, began last February with almost 600 submitted applications. After a whittling down process, 24 semi-finalists selected this summer took part in a six-week long “accelerator program,” in which the program’s organizers offered one-on-one mentorship, business courses, and pitch consultations to help the contestants hone their project ideas.
The three grand prizes awarded to this year’s winners will serve as direct capital to help them bring their ideas to fruition. The mentorship doesn’t end with a check though. Catholic In Recovery, FemCatholic, and Red Bird Ministries will continue to receive coaching throughout the coming year to ensure their projects’ success.
“I am proud, inspired, and hopeful,” said Jason Shanks, President of OSV Institute, at the conclusion of the OSV Challenge Showcase. “I am proud of these three winners who, for almost a year, have worked extremely hard over multiple stages to get to this point. I am most hopeful for the future of the Church and am already looking forward to the next round of innovative ideas in the 2022 OSV Challenge!”
Here’s a look at the three grand prize winners.
Catholic in Recovery
Catholic In Recovery, a nonprofit organization offering help for those recovering from addictions, compulsions, and unhealthy attachments, was chosen as one of the three grand prize winners. Combining traditional 12-step recovery with the sacramental life of the Catholic Church, the program was founded by Scott Weeman. According to an OSV Challenge press release, Weeman “found healing and new life himself through the sacramental love and mercy provided by the Church along with 12-step recovery.” The winning proposal involves producing a new app to help parish groups offer treatment programs to Catholics.
“I am honored and full of gratitude for Catholic In Recovery to have been chosen as a winner of the 2021 OSV Challenge. The formation, fellowship of leaders, and affirmation that we received from the Accelerator, along with the $100K prize, will help us expand our network of addiction recovery meetings and develop an app/digital platform with comprehensive recovery resources rooted in the sacraments,” said Weeman. “This is truly a gift!”
FemCatholic, a platform that combines feminism and Catholicism, was the second winner announced. FemCatholic strives to “promote women through education, encouragement, and empowerment,” according to the OSV Challenge press release.
“We are honored to be named a winner of the 2021 OSV Challenge. It speaks to the fact that there is a need to better engage women in the life of the Church and support Catholic women with integrating their faith in the modern world,” said Founder and Editor in Chief Samantha Povlock. “Women have been essential to the life and leadership of the Church, starting with Mary herself, and we are looking forward to using this grant to re-engage and highlight Catholic women.”
Red Bird Ministries
The third award went to Red Bird Ministries, an organization that serves those who have experienced the loss of a child from pregnancy through adulthood. Red Bird Ministries was formed when founders Ryan and Kelly Breaux were inspired to help others when they themselves found a lack of uniquely Catholic bereavement support after experiencing a loss.
“This generous gift is going to provide a significant impact on our trajectory, as we pioneer a comprehensive and multi-faceted Catholic grief support program specific to child loss. Through our participation in the Accelerator, we were able to develop key essential business goals that will ensure financial stability and sustainability for Red Bird Ministries. We pray that God will use our programs and services to bless the Church,” said Breaux.
“The OSV Challenge experience and prize money can truly transform game-changing new ideas and launch existing projects to new heights,” said Matt Smith, Director of Strategic“ Alliances for the OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation. “It’s been a joy to work with and witness the journey for all of this year’s innovators who said ‘yes’ to God’s call to create a better world.”