Accelerate 2016 winners pic

Accelerate 2016: Citizens Make Change

Accelerate 2016Presented by Citizens Bank and CLC

And the winners are ...  

Citizens Bank and Cleveland Leadership Center joined forces to accelerate the pace of change in our city and launch civic ideas to make our community even better. The high-level energy at Accelerate 2016: Citizens Make Change on Wednesday, February 24, was fueled by individuals and organizations committed to Cleveland’s future. 

Accelerate 2016 presenters

Each of the 25 civic pitches selected for the event was a winner in its own right. Five were selected as finalists by panels of community leaders serving as judges, and the audience in the Global Center for Health Innovation ballroom voted on an overall winner from among the five. 

The overall winning presenter, who received $5,000, was:

•    Benjamin Colas, who pitched “Families Building Future Leaders” in the Educating for Tomorrow category, presented in partnership with Cuyahoga Community College.

The four runners-up each received $2,000:

•    Jessica Leary Allen pitched “MotherBoard: Connecting Opt-In Moms with Projects that Matter” in the Community Change category.
•    Pam Turos pitched “Good Cause CLE: A Creative Partner in Digital Marketing” in the Economic Development category, presented in partnership with Oswald Companies and Westfield Insurance Foundation.
•    Allison Lukacsy pitched “Bus Stop Moves: Exercise While You Wait” in the Quality of Life category, presented in partnership with The MetroHealth System.
•    Ramon Rivas II pitched “Cleveland as a Comedy Hub” in the Transformative Arts and Culture category.

In addition, Dan Brown won a special award from SEA Change for offering a promising social enterprise. He pitched an idea for "Food: A Platform for Learning" in the Educating for Tomorrow category, presented in partnership with Cuyahoga Community College

Accelerate 2016 may be over, but we can each continue working to realize big and small dreams for the city. The energy and excitement from tonight – and your involvement – will carry us forward.

Support the 25 exciting pitches and help them become reality. Follow their progress on this website,  #AccelerateNEO on Twitter and Cleveland Leadership Center on Facebook. Many pitches from Accelerate 2015 have become reality already; we know this year's event will also lead to positive change. 

Watch videos of the finalists.

See the program book

Read the news release.


*WKYC: Teacher wins award on idea to help kids
*Cleveland 19 News: Local woman creates website to connect moms to returning to workforce (Picked up by CBS Philadelphia)
*Crain's Cleveland Business: Kindergarten-focused pitch wins Accelerate 2016 competition
*Sound of Ideas interviews presenters: Audio |  Facebook album

*WKYC: Accelerating success in Northeast Ohio
*Plain Dealer / 5 win at Accelerate 2016: Citizens Make Change civic pitch competition
 *Cleveland 19 News: Teacher wins "Accelerate" with lovable pitch

*Cleveland 19 News: Clevelanders "Accelerate" 2016, live from the Global Center, including interview with event Co-Chair Joe DiRocco of Citizens Bank
*Cleveland 19 News: Cleveland innovators "Accelerate 2016," interview with 2015 presenter who implemented his civic pitch.
*WKYC interviews presenters: Accelerate rewards presenters with great ideas


Videos of finalists  See pitch presenters   2016 Impact & updates