Digital Media Literacy Non-Profit to Fast Pitch in Final Round of “Advance San Diego”

Outside the Lens, Digital Media Literacy Non-Profit for At-Risk Youth, to Fast Pitch in Final Round of “Advance San Diego”

Out of 67 applications, and 30 semi-finalists, Outside the Lens—an arts and digital media literacy non-profit—has been selected by San Diego Social Venture Partners, a local non-profit giving organization, to be a finalist at “Advance San Diego” held October 8 at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla.

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Julie Wilson | Elisa Thomson_Outside the LensModeled after the popular “fast pitch” venture capital funding competitions (similar to the entrepreneur TV show Shark Tank), Outside the Lens Executive Director Elisa Thomson successfully advanced past the preliminary round of competition, in which she was given three minutes to deliver Outside the Lens’ vision of digital media literacy, and will now go up against four other finalists in the category of Youth and the Arts. In total, 12 finalists, in three categories, will compete for more than $87,500.

Throughout the pitch process, organizations have benefited from ongoing feedback from advisors. When Thomson takes the stage October 8, she’ll once again have just 180 seconds to convince an ensemble of influential funders, philanthropists, business and community leaders to give to Outside the Lens. A panel of independent judges will determine cash awards and the audience will vote for their favorite. Thomson says she already feels like a winner. “To be chosen to participate in Advance San Diego is an honor in itself, but the opportunity to clarify and define our mission as a non-profit under this level advanced mentorship is the truly lasting reward and is certain to be a crucial part of our future success.”

Outside the Lens began in 2001 as a small group of teachers who saw an opportunity, and had the expertise, to fill the cracks in the foundation of arts and digital media education. At the time, Thomson was lead educator at the Museum of Photographic Art where it was the youth, she says, who taught her that they weren’t just learning how to use a camera, they were utilizing a transformative tool for storytelling and change. “We now know,” Thomson adds, “that this participatory model of digital media literacy leads to more engaged and civic-minded youth.”

Recognizing that not all youth (or educators) have this level of access to technology and instruction, Outside the Lens was born in an effort to establish a curriculum that could be shared particularly with those youth affected by homelessness, domestic violence, poverty and reduced access to technology. To date, Outside the Lens has reached over 13,000 students and is currently partnered with a number of San Diego schools. The organization has also launched on online education portal to connect with educators across the country.

Connect online with Outside the Lens.


Twitter: @OutsideTheLens



Advance San Diego 2014 is sponsored by Cox Communications, Moxie Foundation, Rancho Santa Fe Foundation’s The Patriots Initiative, , The Parker Foundation, San Diego Business Journal, KPBS, Jewish Community Foundation, The San Diego Foundation, Young Non-Profit Professionals Network, San Diego Grantmakers, Mellano & Company, Blanchard, Krasner & French, AMN Healthcare, The Syran Family, Mission Edge, First Things First Consulting Group, The Timmstrom Family Foundation, Harrah’s Resort Southern California, The Gumpert Foundation, Ashford University, The Patricia & Christopher Weil Family Foundation, and CDC Small Business Finance.

For information on San Diego Social Venture Partners and Advance San Diego 2014 please visit

Outside the Lens is dedicated to a future where all youth will have the access to and education necessary to understand, evaluate and, most importantly, create media.  Through photography, videography, and broadcast journalism, youth become engaged learners, and active participants in the classroom, the community, and ultimately the world. Visit

About San Diego Social Venture Partners

Founded in 2001, San Diego Social Venture Partners is a 501(c)3 organization of individuals and companies who invest their time and money in nonprofit organizations to advance positive social change in the community.   The organization is part of SVP International, a network comprised of more than 2,000 individuals who have donated more than $41 million and more than three times that in capacity building and support.  To join San Diego Social Venture Partners visit

Save the Date: Upcoming Outside the Lens Fundraiser Event

Sip. Savor. Support”. Following on the heels of its wildly successful inaugural 2013 benefit, Outside the Lens will host its second fundraiser: Shutter & Stout. Under the guidance of Event Chairs Maria Decker, Emily Scott, Sue Wagener and Honorary Chairs Laura Gambucci and Haida Mojdehi, Shutter & Stout 2014 will take place Saturday, November 1 at Stone Brewery Bistro & Garden at Liberty Station in San Diego, California.

With more than 200 business and community leaders from throughout Southern California, the VIP portion of the evening begins with a cocktail hour and silent auction, followed by a live auction and dinner featuring farm-to-table cuisine and award-winning Stone Brewery beer.

The fun continues with the Shutter & Stout Afterparty, open to all, featuring more delicious brews, raffle, photo booth, and the legendary, all-vinyl, Grand Master of soul and funk, DJ Grandmasta Rats.

All proceeds from Shutter & Stout 2014 will support Outside the Lens’ continued vision: Give a Kid a Camera. Change The World.

Event Details:

Saturday, November 1, 2014

5:00-8:30 P.M. (VIP Dinner)

8:30-11:00 P.M. (Afterparty)

Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens at Liberty Station.

To inquire about a VIP table or to reserve a seat, contact Jennie Goldstone at or 858-349-7578.Visit to purchase tickets for the Afterparty.


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