Anti-trafficking nonprofit wins ‘Fast Pitch’ contest at Golden 1 Center

A nonprofit that seeks to prevent human trafficking through educational efforts, 3Strands Global Foundation won top honors at this year's Social Venture Partners' Fast Pitch Sacramento competition.

Fast Pitch is a program designed to help nonprofit organizations fine-tune quick, three-minute "elevator pitches." Narrowed from an initial list of 40, 20 semifinalists earned coaching; then, the top 10 finalists convened Thursday at Golden 1 Center with $80,000 in prizes up for grabs.

A statement on 3Strands' website reads: "We believe a world free from human trafficking will only exist if we come together and collaborate as a united force," and features "reintegration, education and mobilization" as the organization's key steps to preventing trafficking. The organization is based in El Dorado Hills.

Last year's winner, the Sacramento Public Library Foundation, earned a $10,000 cash prize and a $15,000 "marketing makeover." Though SVP has yet to publicize the exact distribution of this year's prizes on its website, retweets by the organization of posts by event judges and attendees confirm that 3Strands took first place, KidsFirst earned second, and Children’s Choice for Hearing and Talking Center of Sacramento finished third.

Winners were jointly decided by event attendees, the judges and SVP's coaches.

"This is a crime that’s hidden in plain sight," 3Strands CEO Ashlie Bryant told the Roseville & Granite Bay Press Tribune. "Seventy-eight percent of victims interviewed in a San Diego study in 2016 did not know they were being trafficked."

According to the state Attorney General's Office, California's rate of human trafficking ranks among the highest in the country. It had 1,331 cases in 2016, with nearly 1,100 involving sex trafficking.

Bryant made the group's winning pitch Thursday.

Part of SVP Sacramento's mission statement on its website reads: "We connect philanthropists and strengthen non-profits." The Sacramento chapter was founded in 2008.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg also had a role in this year's competition.

Here were the 10 finalists for 2018: