Skip to main content

Meet Our 5 Finalists for The Pitch Who Are Changing North Texas for the Better

Learn more about these innovative social entrepreneurs, who are expanding their impact on education, income and health in our community.

April 25, 2024

Next week is an exciting time for the Live United movement: Thursday, May 2 is The Pitch powered by PNC and Amazon, the exhilarating culmination of our Social Innovation Accelerator program, when five finalists compete live on stage for hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize funding and the title Social Innovator of the Year. (Still need tickets? Secure your seat here!) 

Each of The Pitch finalists supports our work to increase access to education, income and health—the building blocks of opportunity—and drives progress toward our Aspire United 2030 goals. 

Looking for some serious inspiration? Read on to learn more about The Pitch and to meet our incredible finalists. 

The Road to The Pitch 

To qualify for The Pitch, our finalists must first go through an intensive, year-long development program: the Social Innovation Accelerator.  

The Accelerator is just one of the ways that United Way of Metropolitan Dallas taps into the power of social innovation to improve access to education, income and health in North Texas. Social innovation simply means leveraging creative new thinking to make a positive community impact.  

Through the Accelerator program, we partner with local social entrepreneurs who have innovative new solutions to systemic challenges in our community. And at the end of the months-long program, we select five finalists to compete at The Pitch powered by PNC—held May 2 at Toyota Music Factory—where these innovators pitch their game-changing ideas that are creating meaningful impact in our focus areas of education, income and health. 

This year’s Pitch finalists have used their experience in the Accelerator to refine their business plans, home in on new ideas and rapidly grow their impact. Now, as they approach The Pitch, they are better equipped than ever to create opportunity for North Texans to thrive. 

Meet the Finalists 

Roy Scott, Founder and CEO of Healthy Hip Hop 

When Roy was a kid, rap defined who he was, his focus and his future. After high school, he passed up a basketball scholarship to become a rapper—a decision that still shapes his life today. 

“I loved hip hop culture, and I didn’t have a lot of guidance around me,” he says. “After high school, I started rapping and then really had my lightbulb moment when I had my first son. I knew I had to make a change. I still wanted to pursue my dream of music, but in a more positive direction that I can share and celebrate with my children.” 

Today, Roy channels his talents into Healthy Hip Hop, an online library of kid-friendly urban hip hop for teachers. The songs feature heavy beats, unforgettable hooks and positive messages that draw students in—making them a powerful classroom tool for engaging and energizing kids. 

“Young Roy Scott—he was inspired through the music, the culture, but he was lost,” he says. “Now as just Roy Scott, no character, no ‘Mac James’, I can be myself without having to put on an act. When you hear music from Rapping Roy, it’s all true and genuine to me, and it’s all about loving and helping people.” 

Cessilye Smith, Founder and CEO of Abide Women’s Health Services 

Cessilye was a mom of two when she was working as a doula, providing guidance and support to pregnant women. In 2013, she was at a conference when she encountered statistics that changed her life forever. 

“I learned about the disparities in Black maternal and infant healthcare, and it truly gutted me,” she said. “Black women die at three to four times the rate of white women due to childbirth-related causes. And Black babies die at two to three times the rate of white babies before they reach their first birthday.”  

Cessilye was shocked that as a Black woman, a mother and a doula, she was never informed about these disparities. She couldn’t believe society was seemingly ignoring the issue. 

Cessilye turned her shock into action, creating Abide Women’s Health Services to offer culturally informed pre- and postnatal care. Abide seeks to improve birth outcomes in communities with the lowest quality of care, offering healthcare and other services that are easily accessible, evidence-based, holistic and free from judgment. 

“Michelle Obama had a wonderful quote: ‘Communities, countries and ultimately the world are only as strong as the health of their women,’” Cessilye said. “I believe there’s no better way to make a positive, long-lasting impact in our communities than by starting at the very beginning—at pregnancy and birth.” 

Courtney Hamilton, Founder of Tech Savvy DFW 

Growing up in South Oak Cliff, Courtney and his classmates dreamed of becoming professional athletes. “However, that’s like winning the lottery—making it professionally in sports,” he says.  

The challenge, Courtney says, is that kids like him often aren’t exposed to different career possibilities, so they think their one-in-a-million shot of becoming a sports star is their only option. He’s grateful his own unlikely path led him to the tech field. 

“I joined the Navy to travel the world—ironically, they sent me to Denver,” he says. “I never saw a ship, but while there I got my bachelor’s degree in computer information systems.” 

 Courtney now works as a network security engineer, a role he didn’t even know existed when he was a kid. In 2020, he created Tech Savvy DFW, a STEM education firm that encourages kids, teens and young adults to get excited about and engaged with technology and pursue careers in the field. 

“I believe the background I experienced was not for naught,” he says. “There are other kids experiencing the same hardships. Education is very powerful, and it needs to be paired with representation. Students need to see people who look like them doing these roles.” 

Meet Prinscilla Moore, Founder of Delighted to Doula 

Prinscilla began working as a doula in 2011. She quickly realized that all new moms should have the same level of support for themselves and their babies. 

“As I was working for families, I realized what I lacked as a mother and as a Black woman in the community,” she says.  

Prinscilla knew that without postpartum support, Black mothers in particular face an increased risk of complications—and even death.  

“I had a very close friend that after three days, she passed away from complications due to childbirth,” she says. “Her cries went unheard.” 

If only the doctors had listened to her friend, Prinscilla laments, “She could be here today.” 

Driven by both her personal and professional experiences, Prinscilla created Delighted to Doula in 2019. The nonprofit provides postpartum support to mothers, ensuring their recovery goes well and looking for symptoms often associated with mortality, such as hypertension and diabetes.  

“We are providing access to care outside of the hospital system,” she says. “When you think about postpartum mothers, technically they’re not seeing anyone for six weeks. After birth, there’s a six-week gap [when] they’re unplugged from the healthcare system. We’re stepping in right away when they come home so that we can provide that care that’s needed.” 

Robin Head, Executive Director of Entryway DFW 

With a background in community impact work, Robin recognizes the foundational role that a home and a steady job play in every individual’s life. She’s passionate about her work at Entryway DFW because it solves the problem of, “How do you get a job without an address and how do you keep an address without a job?” she explains. 

Entryway trains people for entry-level jobs in the multifamily industry and provides discounts to trainees so they can live onsite where they work. Robin and her team work primarily with people experiencing situational homelessness, many of whom are couch surfing or living in their car.  

“We’re currently working with a mom with four daughters,” Robin shares. “They had been sleeping in a park and in friends’ garages. And I just think of the generational change that’ll make for her and her family to be in a home. ”  

Robin says when they place someone in a job with a home of their own, it’s amazing to see how it transforms them.  

“They are not fearful. They feel secure. They feel like they have a new start on life,” she says. “That’s what Entryway does. We open the doors to opportunity, and it really is a great opportunity.” 

Join Us at The Pitch on May 2! 

On May 2, these five incredible finalists will take to the stage at The Pitch, where they’ll pitch their innovative ideas to a panel of judges and a live audience.  

Join us for this exhilarating, inspiring social innovation competition, where you’ll enjoy food, fun and networking with passionate change-seekers just like you, cheer on your favorite finalist, and find out which one of these entrepreneurs will walk away with hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize funding and the title Social Innovator of the Year. 

Get your tickets now. 



Get Innovative with Us!

You change lives when you invest in social innovation in North Texas. A donation of any size supports programs like the Social Innovation Accelerator, which enables game-changing organizations to make a direct, lasting impact in their communities.