Attention all entrepreneurial spirits, outside-the-box thinkers and creative go-getters.

There's $20,000 out there with - potentially - your name on it. On Wednesday, there's a chance to find out how you or your group might emerge the winner of the 2013 YorIT Social Venture Challenge.

For another year, the York County Community Foundation is asking Yorkers to submit ideas designed to advance economic development in York County. This time, the YorIT committee is soliciting ideas specifically geared toward invigorating downtown York City.

YorIT got its start four years ago by a group of young philanthropists who pooled their money to create a social-venture grant fund, said Jane Conover, vice president of community investment for the foundation.

"The foundation began to think about the future of donors in our community and how they're growing older," Conover said. "We wanted to look for ways to engage the next generation of givers."

The philanthropists - all under age 50 - who donate to YorIT also sit on the committee that decides who gets the annual grant. They decided this year to focus on downtown York, Conover said.

"They understand how a vital downtown kind of impacts their life, wherever they live in the county," she said. "They're looking for exciting, innovative, kind of outside-the-box ideas for downtown."

Winner of the first challenge in 2010 was Downtown Inc for an outdoor summer concert series.


Other past winners include Healthy World Cafe, a restaurant that provides meals for a suggested donation instead of a set price, and the Parliament, a local group that promotes York's art and music scene.

An information session for potential applicants is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Liquid Hero, 50 E. North St. It is not necessary to register in advance.

The session will detail the committee's expectations. For example, all applications must be affiliated in some way with a nonprofit organization, Conover said. Legally, the grant recipient must be a nonprofit.

The session is a good opportunity to identify potential partners, Conover said.

The YorIT committee will award a maximum of $20,000. That money could be split among multiple winners or awarded as a smaller amount to one applicant, Conover said.

Applicants must submit their idea in a YouTube video no longer than three minutes. Submissions will be due in mid-January. The committee will likely announce the winner in April, Conover said.

Conover said she "wouldn't even put a parameter" on the types of ideas YorIT is looking for.

"It's a little bit of knowing a great idea when you see it," Conover said. "We really are interested in measuring that this could be a catalyst for vibrancy."

- Erin James may also be reached at