Victory Cup Raises Over Half a Million for Nonprofits

Jan Edwards, President of Paving the Way Foundation reacting to news of receiving the funds.
Photo Credit: Jen Adams Photography

The 8th annual Victory Cup Initiative Storytelling Breakfast was a huge success, with 10 Central Florida nonprofits awarded over $550,000 in unrestricted funds. Held on March 2nd, the event was attended by over 400 community and business leaders and aimed to advance the mission of Victory Cup by revolutionizing Central Florida philanthropy.

The nonprofits participating were carefully selected, and each had 150 seconds to share their story in a Shark Tank-style competition, with winners determined by live audience votes. “Each organization has a story to tell about how they’re making a difference every day,” said Ashley Vann, Founder and CEO of Victory Cup Initiative. “Individuals in our community can become a part of that story by giving back in both small and big ways.”

The first-place winner was Paving the Way Foundation, which received $78,000, followed by Samaritan Village in second place with $73,000 and Victims Service Center in third with $68,000. The remaining participants walked away with at least a $48,000 participation grant. Because all funds were unrestricted, the winning organizations may use them in whichever way they find most beneficial for their communities.

Jan Edwards, President and Founder of Paving the Way, was emotional upon receiving the news of the funding. “This funding will help reach more and more kids. I was at a Boys & Girls Club yesterday, and a little girl disclosed an issue to me,” Edwards said. “God put me on this mission 10 years ago. I haven’t taken a paycheck in 10 years. Because of you, I might have a chance to do that while helping so many more children in our community.”

Victory Cup has grown significantly since its launch in 2016, during which 262 attendees raised $42,000. Vann credits the success of Victory Cup to its selection process, which involves civic and business leaders, the coaching of nonprofit leaders to tell impactful stories, and the collaboration and inspiration it fosters among nonprofits and for-profit leaders.

“We’re just facilitating, you know? We’re not pushing our desires on anyone. We’re just saying, ‘hey, look and see what’s happening in the community’, and then we want to inspire them to act,” said Vann.

Years ago, Vann herself was inspired to act. Born and raised in Winter Park, she worked as a wealth planner at Merrill Lynch. She stopped working after having children and began volunteering while developing a passion for discussing money and generosity. After a few years of staying home, her husband encouraged her to transition into a nonprofit job.

So, Vann started taking classes at the Edyth Bush Institute, a nonprofit thought leader based at Rollins College, to learn more about the nonprofit industry. She was impressed by the selfless leaders she met and felt they needed a platform to share their stories with for-profit leaders who might be too busy with other responsibilities. And that is how the Victory Cup Initiative was born. 

“I believe there is a generosity movement in Orlando, and I am excited and honored that Victory Cup is a part of that,” Vann said. “I would love to help put Orlando on the map as the city generous the way people think about Austin, Texas for music and barbecue. I know people think about Orlando, Florida for Disney, tourism, and beaches, but I would also love for them to think of Orlando as the city generous since we are a community that takes care of our most vulnerable.” 

Following this model, Vann wants to raise one million dollars at a future breakfast. If you are interested in learning more about the Victory Cup Initiative and how you can get involved, visit 


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Written by Alexis George

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