Civic pitches accelerate our region!

Accelerate 2016

Accelerate 2016, presented by Citizens Bank and CLC,
invites individuals to submit their civic pitch ideas 

Pitch applications are now closed.

Questions? Please contact Rachel Ciomcia, Director of Cleveland Bridge Builders & Alumni Engagement at (216) 592-2280. 


Individuals with ideas to improve the Northeast Ohio community can enter. Proposed ideas cannot be affiliated with an established organization. Initiatives proposed on behalf of an organization will not be considered.

Pitch categories

Proposals will be accepted in the following categories:

  • Quality of Life – Initiatives that impact life experiences, including health, recreation and social services.
    This category is presented in partnership with The MetroHealth System.
  • Economic Development – Initiatives that address poverty and economic self-sufficiency, or stimulate economic growth.
    This category is presented in partnership with Oswald Companies and Westfield Insurance Foundation.
  • Educating for Tomorrow – Initiatives that advance access to educational development.
    This category is presented in partnership with Cuyahoga Community College.
  • Community Change – Initiatives that make a meaningful change in people’s lives and neighborhoods.
  • Transformative Arts and Culture – Initiatives that use arts and culture to transform people and places.

Application process

To enter, complete a simple online form and answer questions in 250 words or less. The form will be available from October 30 - December 18, 2015. A panel of reviewers will select 25 proposals to be presented at Accelerate 2016 based on criteria including:

  • Potential for community impact and advancing NE Ohio.
  • How unique, creative and innovative the initiative is.
  • A realistic implementation plan than would be aided by the prize money.

The application has open-ended questions asking you to describe your initiative, the community issue it addresses, how it will benefit the community and why you are passionate about the issue. There are also places to note how you will know if the initiative is successful and how the prize money would help you achieve your goals.

Those selected to pitch their ideas at Accelerate 2016 will be notified by January 15, 2016, and will be offered coaching to help refine their pitch and presentation before the big night.

Check out this video from a 2015 presenter on why you should apply!

At the event

  • 5 projects will be pitched in each category. Pitches last no more than 5 minutes each. The category competition is open to all event attendees.
  • A panel of community leaders will provide feedback on each pitch, and will select one pitch from each category as a finalist to be presented to the full event audience.
  • Audience members hear the pitches from each of the 5 finalists and vote on the winner.
  • The winner receives $5,000 and each runner-up receives $2,000. The public platform for all pitches also enables presenters to make connections with community members who can help their ideas take flight.

Questions? Please contact Rachel Ciomcia, Director of Cleveland Bridge Builders and Alumni Engagement at or (216) 592-2280.