Friday, March 31, 2017

Cabarrus County Nonprofit Pitches Innovative Ideas at SEED20 OnStage

On March 27, ten of Charlotte’s most innovative and dynamic nonprofit entrepreneurs took the stage at Knight Theater where they each had three minutes to share their nonprofit’s ideas, struggles and goals to a live audience and four judges. The event, called SEED20 OnStage, was hosted by Social Venture Partners and drew an audience of over 900 people and many more viewers who watched online.  Each of the nonprofit entrepreneurs spent two months preparing for their three-minute pitches, and at the end of the show, four of them walked away with prizes totaling $46,000.

Aurora co-founded Families First in Cabarrus County
A nonprofit featured that night was our very own program partner, Families First in Cabarrus County. 

Aurora Swain co-founded Families First in Cabarrus County with her husband, Spencer Swain in 2014, as a response to the overwhelming need for early education and family programs for the large demographic of under-served immigrant families in our community.  Together they work to provide programs in parent education, recovery, and early education; which promotes dual language learning, with quality experiences, and family partnerships to ensure family well-being. They receive Smart Start grants from the Cabarrus Partnership for Children to implement the Parents as Teachers and Celebrating Families programs, and receive child care subsidy to operate the Cabarrus Bilingual Preschool.

Aurora’s pitch described the current struggles of low-income families in our community, and the impact their programs have had on the families they serve.  

She shared an inspiring story of how one child proudly told her at the beginning of the school year that she wanted to clean houses when she grew up – just like her mom.  After a school year filled with new experiences, learning and positive guidance, they asked that same child what she wanted to be when she grew up.  She proudly answered, “I want to be a doctor!”

The child and many other children from low-income families in Cabarrus County started kindergarten on track and ready to learn thanks to Aurora’s work at the Cabarrus Bilingual Preschool, and with families in Parents As Teachers and Celebrating Families!

Aurora's supporters filled up the front row of the Knight Theater.
The Cabarrus Partnership for Children’s Executive Director Ann Benfield was among a large group of supporters who cheered Aurora on from the front row of the Knight Theater.

“Aurora’s passionate presentation was perfect and I can’t wait to see the corporate sponsors in her future,” Ann stated.  “The Partnership is so proud to be in partnership with Families First in Cabarrus County.”

Also in attendance was Aurora's father, Antonio De Los Santos. When Aurora was a child, Antonio went against all of his friends by enrolling her in preschool. Antonio traveled all the way from Mexico to watch his daughter's three-minute pitch.  

At the end of the event, four winners were chosen to receive cash prizes, including a top prize of $20,000.  Although Aurora wasn’t one of the prize winners, she received donations from several audience members and she also made a lot of new connections.  According to her husband Spencer, they have appointments with more than ten representatives who want to partner with them in various ways.

Aurora's father traveled from Mexico to see her pitch.
“That’s the next step for us.  Making sure people truly understand the value of a dual language learning environment,” Spencer said.  

Above all things, Aurora is grateful for the opportunity and thankful for all of the support she received before, during and even after the show.  

“I was so happy the next day to just go spend some extra time with all of the children at the preschool. They always remind me in the most genuine and honest ways of why I do what I do,” Aurora shared.  “The best way I can continue to thank everyone is to keep getting up every day and helping families and children discover, realize and attain their dreams.” 

If you would like to support Aurora and Spencer’s work at Families First in Cabarrus County, call (704) 786-5613 or visit their website at

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