Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Jewish Pavilion finalist in Victory Cup Initiative

It all began this past November, when a grant application was offered to Orlando area nonprofits by Victory Cup Initiative founder Ashley Vann. Now in its second year, the Victory Cup, received more than 100 applications from qualified 501(c)3 organizations, vying for one of 10 finalist spots in its annual philanthropic storytelling competition. The 10 finalists competed for audience votes and grand prizes, after each giving a two-and-a-half-minute speech, held at Rollins College on Feb. 2.

On Dec. 16, Pam Ruben, marketing director of the Jewish Pavilion, was thrilled to learn that the nonprofit that serves as the community connection for elders in senior facilities had earned one of the coveted spots. She noted, "When Ashley Vann left a message saying she had 'very good news,' I felt hopeful and excited that our senior group had been included in the Victory Cup Initiative," reported Ruben. "When I actually spoke to Ashley, she shared we had been chosen as one of 10 finalists to share our story to an audience of 400. I couldn't help tearing up a little at the opportunity to pass on our message to a roomful of listeners who care about nonprofits and the impact they make on lives. With a parent in long-term care, I know the connections we make with elders in assistive facilities can be life affirming."

In addition to being invited to present at the Victory Cup, the Pavilion and the nine other finalists were each invited to join a storytelling workshop sponsored by Rollins College Edyth Bush Institute and BB&T, to refine and improve the impact of their story. On Jan. 12, instructor Rick Stone led the group through a full day of exercises designed to help the nonprofits reach their audience and connect with the listener.

With just three weeks between the class and the Victory Cup, Ruben put in many hours honing her speech, recording herself over and over on her 'voice record app' to nail down the timing. She practiced on friends, colleagues and former instructors. When it came time to pick out what to wear, she reviewed the offerings in her closet: a hot pink blazer that belonged to her mother immediately caught her eye.

"Since my mom lives in a senior facility, I am holding onto a few pieces of her clothing that carry memories," Ruben commented. "That pink blazer was in my brother's 1983 bar-mitzvah pictures. I felt wearing it at the event would be like having a piece of her with me."

After all of the speeches were given, all 10 nonprofits left victorious, earning at least $1000 for their organizations, and the opportunity to connect with community benefactors and charitable-minded individuals and organizations. Ruben expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to present and added a special "thank you" to Ashley Vann and event sponsors Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, Orlando Heath and Resource Consulting Group, for creating the inspiring opportunity, and to MC Scott Maxwell, from the Orlando Sentinel, for helping the speakers feel at ease.

The Initiative served its purpose well. Following the event, attendees approached Ruben, as well as Jewish Pavilion Executive Director Nancy Ludin and Board President Paul Stenzler, to learn more about the nonprofit. Other attendees commented on the pink blazer and shared items they are holding onto to remember someone they love.

Find out more about the Victory Cup Initiative and the 10 participating nonprofits at Victorycupinitiative.com.

To volunteer, donate or learn more about The Jewish Pavilion, visit http://www.jewishpavilion.org.


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