Girls Inc. awarded $20,000, ESET Nonprofit Pitch Fest

Girls Inc. of San Diego County wins $20,000, national “ESET Nonprofit Pitch Fest” competition

Girls Inc. of San Diego County wins ESET Nonprofit Pitch Fest, a national contest celebrating ESET’s 30-year anniversary, helping aid in the next 30 years of community innovation

 SAN DIEGO – October 24, 2017 – Girls Inc. of San Diego County, a nonprofit organization that inspires girls to be strong, smart and bold through workshops and technical-skill education, was named the Grand Prize Winner of the ESET Nonprofit Pitch Fest and received the top cash award of $20,000.

 Girls Inc. will be using the funds to support outreach programs in San Diego that inspire girls to pursue professions in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and give them opportunities to learn technical skills like coding that can lead to a job in cybersecurity and related fields.

The contest was part of IT security firm ESET’s 30-year anniversary celebration, which awarded $30,000 to nonprofits seeking funds to improve their community through technology and education.

Girls Inc. received the $20,000 Grand Prize, and five finalists across the country were each awarded $2,000, including Oasis San Diego, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rochester, Vital Link Education Business Consortium of Orange County, United Through Reading and The Dream Girls Initiative.

The award presentation to Girls Inc. of San Diego County took place on Monday, October 23, at Epiphany Prep Charter School in San Diego, one of the locations where Girls Inc. conducts its programs.

“At Girls Inc. of San Diego County, we are training the next generation of cyber-defenders,” said Carla Vallone, President, Board of Trustees, Girls Inc. of San Diego County.  “Our trainees don’t look like the current cybersecurity workforce. Our trainees are girls ages 8 to 18, many of whom are girls of color from diverse backgrounds. We are grateful to ESET for this essential funding that will support our STEM outreach programs here in San Diego County.” 

 “Ultimately, Girls Inc. really stood out for the work it is doing to inspire young women to be strong, smart and confident while teaching them technical skills,” said Celeste Blodgett, Vice President of Human Resources and Learning and Development at ESET North America. “Its submission laid out very specific ways it will address the cybersecurity skills gap problem, while also helping with diversity in the tech sector.


About the ESET Nonprofit Pitch Fest

ESET, a privately held company celebrating its 30th anniversary in innovation in IT security, held the Nonprofit Pitch Fest to hear from nonprofits around the United States that are making a difference in the community. The three categories nonprofits could apply under included Women in Technology, Cybersecurity and STEM/STEAM Education, and the Innovation/Startup Economy. Contestants wrote answers to an essay question that asked how their program/initiative in the respective category would contribute to the next 30 years of innovation in the community. The initial organizations were voted on by the general public, and the top 10 vote getters were entered into the final stage of judging, in which a selection committee evaluated the nonprofits’ essays based on (1) alignment with one or more of the three noted categories and strength of the idea, (2) need for proposed program/initiative in the community and (3) feasibility of program deployment.

About Girls Inc. of San Diego County

Girls Inc. of San Diego County inspires girls to be strong, smart and bold by providing hundreds of girls each year with life-changing support and real solutions to the unique issues girls face. By providing no-cost, research-based programming, the organization helps girls in the county overcome gender, economic and social barriers so they may see college as attainable, resist peer pressure and explore professional fields in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) that have so far been nontraditional for women.

For more than 50 years, the nonprofit organization has supported high-need girls with no-cost programming to help them succeed in life. To support Girls Inc. of San Diego County, visit

ESET Press Release