The Underdog Entrepreneur Fund

Underdog Fund

The Underdog Fund was established by Christopher Trott, Dawn Van Scoter, and Glenn Stearns. Mr. Stearns, the private mortgage mogul, seeded the fund and advises the team at their request. The Underdog Fund is currently managed by the Erie Community Foundation who will help counsel and keep the fund on track for perpetual growth. The fund hopes to offer much-needed funds to local entrepreneurs who are in need of a hand-up vs. a hand-out.


How to Qualify

At this time, only those entrepreneurs looking to start a business within Erie County, PA qualify for disbursements from the Underdog Fund. We hope to expand fund offerings nationally as the brand takes off. Simply fill out the application and give us the opportunity to meet with you and/or your partner(s). Application periods are posted and distributions will follow each application period.


Click here to apply



Why are only Erie Businesses eligible?

  • The whole story begins in Erie County. Since the entire team is from here, and our home base is here, it only makes sense to start where we can work to constantly improve fund to make sure its around for the long term.

Do I have to currently be in business?

  • Not necessarily! We are here to help you jump in. While you do not need to have a tax return for a previous year, etc, we do need to see your one page sell sheet and any supporting information you can provide us.

What is the minimum age I must be to apply?

  • Though we all started young, all applicants must be 18 years of age or older by the date of the disbursement of funds. If you are under that age, we would ask that you please contact us to review on a case by case basis.

What can I use the funds for?

  • What does your business need? We recommend using such funds for LLC filings, permits, etc. Use these funds to make the red tape seem more pink, ya know? We will not fund your daily living expenses, but maybe you need a specialty tool to get started? Just remember, these funds will be granted on a reimbursement basis. That means you have to provide us the proof of purchase to get your money. It just keeps everyone honest.

What is a “reimbursement basis?”

  • I’m glad you asked! You buy, we pay you back. How absurd! By keeping small checks and balances in the fund, we ensure that the people who deserve the help, get it. Others with less than admirable intentions could ruin it for all of us, and well, that just doesn’t sound awesome. Quite frankly, everything we do is awesome. We’d like to keep it that way.

How will I receive the money if my application is chosen?

  • Simple! When chosen, you will receive contact information for the disbursement team. When you provide the appropriate proof of purchase, we will make a call, and you can pick up your check. It’s just that easy.

Is there any preference on age, gender, or race?

  • Other than the fact that we can only disburse funds to those 18 years of age and older? No!

I didn’t like the show, can I still apply?

  • Sure thing! If we all liked the same things, this world would be boring!

Why does this seem so simple?

  • Because it is. The seed money was provided for the purest of intentions. Take this gift, and help more people fight for the American Dream.

How can I donate to the fund

    • Any amount helps! You can contact he Erie Community Foundation at (814) 454-0843 or you can send your check to:
                     C/O ERIE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION
                        459 West 6th Street 
                        Erie PA 16507

    Questions? Email

    Executive Directors

    Christopher Trott

    Christopher Trott
    President, Second Chance Restoration and Design, and Erie Fleet Solutions.
    Chris is a fun, loving entrepreneur with a passion for the American Dream. Chris’ thirst for self employment forced him to hang up his degree, and get back to the basics. With a background in metal fabrication and heavy truck repair it was a no-brainer where his roots would be planted.  While Chris found a niche and is loving the journey, it hasn’t been easy. It’s easier to know a billionaire than it is to become one, but the Underdog Fund is here to help.

    Dawn Van Scoter

    Dawn Van Scoter
    Owner, Nine20 Furnishings & Design House
    A Custom Painter and Designer, Dawn started painting furniture by day and bartending at night until she was able to quit her bartender job and paint full time. She opened Nine20 Furnishings & Design House in 2015 and then in May 2019, she opened her second store, Mercantile 89, selling antiques, vintage, and salvaged goods. 


    Supporting Organizations   

    Ben Franklin Technology PartnersBen Franklin Technology Partners



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