Article Published: November 17, 2016
Article Published: November 17, 2016
The Forbes Fund, a supporting organization of The Pittsburgh Foundation, hosted UpPrize for the first time in 2015 to fund innovative solutions to better serve vulnerable populations in the region. BNY Mellon served as the founding sponsor. A finalist, Pittsburgh-based company Application Verification Inc., received funding to further develop its cloud-based background-screening product, ProVerifyTM, with input from United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania. The product significantly improves the ease with which nonprofits can manage criminal background checks for volunteers in schools and other settings. The program was so successful that today; the organizations jointly announce a memorandum of understanding, formalizing the launch of a one-year pilot program with United Way of Southwestern PA’s Good Neighbor Center for Volunteering Criminal Clearance Automation Project.
When The Forbes Funds hosted UpPrize last year, President Kate Dewey's vision was to foster social innovations that could provide triple bottom line benefits to the community at large, nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Now, a year after the inaugural round of funding, that vision is becoming a reality. The announcement, made at the Forbes Fund downtown headquarters today, comes just two weeks prior to the November 30 deadline for UpPrize 2016 funding applications.
"A group of nonprofits identified the need for a more streamlined and comprehensive screening process for volunteers working directly with children and the elderly. UpPrize funding made the initial pilot between United Way and Application Verifications’ ProVerify™ solution possible,” said Dewey. “Their successful partnership shows the extraordinary value of entrepreneurs and nonprofits working together to solve real problems facing our community."
AV developed ProVerify™ specifically to address the mandates of Pennsylvania’s child protective criminal background clearances. The ProVerify™ solutions collects sensitive application information in a confidential manner, provides back office support and a streamlined clearance screening experience for volunteer and employee applicants and manages the completion and recertification process for organizations mandated to comply with these regulations. The ProVerify™ solution provides a step-by-step, integrated approach to ensure 100 percent of volunteers and employees are in compliance, ensuring the safety of all children.
“Pennsylvania’s child protective criminal background clearance process impacts children’s after school programs, daycare facilities, nonprofits interacting with children, schools and state funded universities. The burden is strictly on that organization to be compliant,” said David Reed, EVP and Chief Operating Officer, Application Verification. “Through our pilot agreement, we will provide funding and technology resources to the United Way to reach several non-profit organizations, screen thousands of volunteers and automate and integrate more efficient controls for their child abuse clearance screening process.”
United Way of Southwestern PA identified their Free Tax Prep program as its first pilot use case with approximately about 1,000 volunteers to be on-boarded to the ProVerify™ solution. United Way’s Be a Middle School Mentor program will be the second pilot case and have a period of implementation from January through December 2017 involving approximately 16 area schools.
“We are proud to work with the thousands of volunteers who give their time to United Way each year,” said Lois Mufuka Martin, Chief Volunteer Engagement Officer, United Way of Southwestern PA. “Our partnership with Application Verification will allow us to provide our dedicated volunteers with a more efficient screening process, so shortly after signing up with us, they can start giving their time to helping our community and joining United Way in serving our most vulnerable populations.”
The UpPrize Social Innovation Challenge is unique to this region and seeks to engage the community in producing solutions and breakthrough innovations to more effectively meet the critical needs of our region's nonprofits and people. Initially launched through a partnership between The Forbes Funds and BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania, this year they have been joined by Bridgeway Capital as a challenge investor. The 2016 challenge areas are focused on increasing access to affordable healthy food in marginalized communities and leveraging technology to create tools to improve nonprofits operations and/or the lives of vulnerable populations in the region. Organizations will compete for up to $350,000 in each of the two challenge areas. For more information, www.upprize.org.
About Application Verification & ProVerifyTM
Based in Pittsburgh, Application Verification Inc. (AV) is a nationally accredited background screening organization that delivers background checks, drug testing and employment-related medical and verification services. Application Verification specializes in and has unique expertise with a highly trained professional staff to help organizations in mandated and compliance screening market segments. These markets include, Department of Transportation, Education (pre and post-secondary), Healthcare, and organizations that serve those with disabilities. Application Verification’s innovative ProVerify™ screening platform facilitates the screening process so that organizations can screen and retain the right employees and volunteers. Application Verification’s diverse client roster features over 300 leading global, national and regional organizations. For more information visit, http://www.applicationverification.com
About United Way of Southwestern PA
United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, serving Allegheny, Westmoreland, Fayette and Southern Armstrong counties, leads and mobilizes the caring power of individuals; the business community and organizations to help local people in need measurably improve their lives. United Way creates long-lasting change for the betterment of our community. www.uwswpa.org