Accelerate accepting civic pitches

December 2 deadline to submit ideas to improve region

Individuals with visions to improve Northeast Ohio can apply before December 2, 2022, to be part of Accelerate: Citizens Make Change, a civic pitch competition presented by Cleveland Leadership Center in partnership with Citizens.

The annual competition provides funding and networking that bring ideas to reality. It will take place on February 23, 2023, in downtown Cleveland. Details and the application, including a guidebook to help craft the short online application, are at

“I invite anyone who has a creative idea to accelerate Cleveland’s potential to join Citizens and CLC,” said Jim Malz, President of Citizens, Ohio, and Co-Chair of Accelerate. “The easy application can help launch your project and impact lives now and in the future.”

Pitches can be for one-and-done efforts or ongoing initiatives. Proposed ideas cannot be affiliated with an established business or nonprofit. Pitches can be made in one of six categories:

  1. Cleveland Experiences & Excursions: Evoking connection to place for visitors and locals and inspiring return visits. (Be sure to visit the Accelerate webpage to learn more about this category.)
  2. Economic Prosperity: Creating pathways to financial success for people and places.
  3. Education: Advancing access, readiness, and success for pre-k through college students.
  4. Health & Well-being: Promoting the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals and their communities.
  5. Quality of Life: Improving lives through art, culture, the environment, and community improvement projects.
  6. Social Change: Increasing equity, access, and opportunities within communities.

The top prize winner receives $5,000, and runners-up each receive $2,000. Ideas that use technology for social good may have a chance to compete for a $3,500 award from the Cleveland Foundation, which is supporting a Technovation Competition at Accelerate.

Other confirmed event sponsors as of November 6 include Destination Cleveland, Boler College of Business at John Carroll University, Oswald, Lubrizol, MAGNET: The Manufacturing and Advocacy Growth Network, Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Nordson, 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,