Accelerate accepting civic pitches

December 4 deadline to submit ideas to improve region

Individuals who have visions to improve Northeast Ohio can submit their ideas to compete in Accelerate: Citizens Make Change, a civic pitch competition to be held virtually on Thursday, February 25, 2020. The annual competition, presented by the Cleveland Leadership Center in partnership with Citizens Bank, provides funding and exposure to help people bring their ideas to reality.

Applications are accepted through December 4, 2020, at Pitches can be for one-and-done projects or ongoing efforts. Proposed ideas cannot be affiliated with an established business or nonprofit. Pitches will be accepted in six categories:

  • Authentic Cleveland Experiences: Creating an immersive and one-of-a-kind experience that (re)connects residents and visitors with Cleveland’s diverse population, resilient spirit, and destination assets.
  • Economic Development: Stimulating the economy, growing employment, and building financial literacy.
  • Education: Advancing access, readiness, and success for pre-k through college students.
  • Health & Well-being: Promoting the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals and their communities.
  • Social Change: Addressing complex social challenges by promoting equity, access, and opportunity.
  • Quality of Life: Improving lives through art, culture, the environment, and community improvement projects.

Pitches can win a top cash prize of $5,000 and runner-up prizes of $2,000. Ideas that use technology for social good will also be eligible for a $3,500 award from the Cleveland Foundation, which is supporting a Technovation Competition at Accelerate.

Pitch categories are sponsored by Destination Cleveland, KJK, The Lubrizol Corporation, MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network, The MetroHealth System, Nordson, Oatey, and Thompson Hine LLP. Other event sponsors include Oswald Companies and Westfield.

Since 2015, individuals representing a broad diversity of age, race, gender identity, and background have submitted projects to Accelerate. Their impact can be found at

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Media contact: Michael E. Bennett, Vice President of External Affairs
Work: (216) 592-2426, Cell: (216) 408-3874,