Press Release

Girls Inc. of San Diego County selected as Grand Prize Winner in ESET’s Nonprofit Pitch Fest


Escondido, Calif. – October 16, 2017 – Girls Inc. of San Diego County, a nonprofit organization that inspires girls to be strong, smart and bold, was named the Grand Prize Winner of ESET’s Nonprofit Pitch Fest and will receive the top cash award of $20,000. Girls Inc. of San Diego County entered the contest in the Cybersecurity/S.T.E.A.M. Education category, and asked for the funds to support outreach programs that inspire girls to pursue professions in science, technology, engineering and math (S.T.E.M.) and see college as attainable.

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

“It’s incredible what Girls Inc. of San Diego County is doing to inspire young women to be strong, smart and confident,” said Celeste Blodgett, VP of HR and Learning and Development at ESET North America, and participant of ESET’s Philanthropy Committee. “It truly is an honor to help with their initiative. Their submission laid out very specific ways they will address the problem of the cybersecurity skills gap, while also helping with diversity in the tech sector.”
In all, more than 30 U.S.-based 501(c)(3) organizations submitted essay entries to the ESET Nonprofit Pitch Fest. Six contests were collectively awarded $30,000 in total prize money, with Girls Inc. of San Diego County as the Grand Prize Winner, receiving the top amount. A check presentation and celebration will be held on October 23 rd , 2017 at Epiphany Prep Charter School in San Diego.

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 STEAM/STEM 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, where 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 S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) that have to-date been nontraditional for women. For more than 50 years, the non-profit 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

Media Contact:
Desirae MacGillivray
for Girls Inc. of San Diego County
Ph: 971-344- 4522