Accelerate accepting civic pitches

December 1 deadline to submit ideas in competition to improve region

ndividuals with visions to improve Northeast Ohio can apply before Friday, December 1, 2023, to be part of Accelerate: Citizens Make Change, a civic pitch competition presented by Cleveland Leadership Center in partnership with Citizens.

The annual competition, marking its 10th anniversary next year, provides funding and networking that bring ideas to reality. It will take place on Thursday, February 22, 2024, in downtown Cleveland. Details and the application, including a guidebook to help craft the short online application, are at

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 five categories:

  1. Arts & Culture: Improving lives and spaces through arts and culture.
  2. Education: Advancing access, readiness, and success for learners of all ages.
  3. Health & Well-being: Promoting the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals and communities.
  4. Social Change: Increasing equity, access, and opportunities.
  5. Thriving Neighborhoods: Invigorating people and places through environmental and community improvement.

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. Special awards will be given to teens who compete in Teen Accelerate, which CLC is presenting as part of Accelerate in conjunction with the Young Entrepreneur Institute.

In addition to Citizens, other confirmed event sponsors as of November 1 are: Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Cleveland Foundation, Growth Opps, Lubrizol, MAGNET, Nordson, The NRP Group LLC, Oswald Companies, Thompson Hine LLP, and Westfield.

Since 2015, individuals representing a broad diversity of age, race, gender identity, and background have submitted more than 500 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,