Accelerate adds Destination Cleveland category

‘Cleveland experiences’ to be pitched at 5th annual civic competition

Do you have ideas to help visitors make deeper connections with Cleveland’s story? Accelerate: Citizens Make Change, a civic pitch competition, will offer a new way for those ideas to take flight when the 5th annual event is presented next year by Citizens Bank and the Cleveland Leadership Center.

Destination Cleveland, the destination marketing and management organization for Cuyahoga County, is partnering with the Leadership Center to create a new category of pitches for the February 27, 2019 event, which enables individuals with entrepreneurial ideas in several areas to create positive community change.

The Cleveland Experiences pitch category is designed for residents to create marketable, authentic and hands-on activities that create a sense of excitement and curiosity and help visitors learn what makes our area a unique place to live, work, and study as well as visit.

“Experiential travel is a movement, and as Destination Cleveland becomes more active in curating experiences that are only available in Cleveland, we believe it is vital to engage residents in designing those experiences,”” said David Gilbert, president & CEO of Destination Cleveland. “We’re excited to partner with the Cleveland Leadership Center as its Accelerate competition provides a proven structure to engage entrepreneurial Clevelanders who have marketable exploration ideas that will enhance visitors’ perceptions of Cleveland.”

“Since 2015, Accelerate has provided a public and influential platform that encourages civic entrepreneurs to develop and share a vision to improve our region, offers them mentoring and support, and nurtures the creation and development of initiatives that make Northeast Ohio a better place,” said CLC President and CEO Marianne Crosley.

“This new partnership with Destination Cleveland expands Accelerate in an exciting way and ultimately will give voice to even more individuals who want to improve their community but may otherwise lack the means or connections,” Crosley said.

Destination Cleveland joins a growing list of corporate and nonprofit organizations that support Accelerate pitch categories:

  • Authentic Cleveland Experiences: Initiatives that provide residents and visitors with immersive and emotionally impressive experiences that evoke the essence of Cleveland. Sponsored by Destination Cleveland.
  • Community Change: Initiatives that make a meaningful change in people’s lives and neighborhoods. Co-sponsored by Oswald Companies and Westfield Insurance.
  • Economic & Workforce Development: Initiatives that stimulate economic growth, promote economic self-sufficiency, encourage neighborhood development or address poverty. Sponsored by Oatey Co. and The Lubrizol Corporation.
  • Educating for Tomorrow: Initiatives that advance pre-kindergarten through college education, including literacy, numeracy, access, readiness and success. Sponsored by Nordson.
  • Health & Wellness: Initiatives that promote the physical and behavioral well-being of individuals and their communities. Sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic.
  • Quality of Life: Initiatives that create positive life experiences through arts, culture and social services. Sponsored by Cuyahoga Community College and Thompson Hine LLP.

From November 1-30, 2018, the Leadership Center will accept applications at from individuals who want to pitch at the event. Pitches selected for the event have a chance to win the top cash prize of $5,000, runner-up prizes of $2,000, and exposure to potential supporters.

Since 2015, individuals representing a broad diversity of age, race, gender identity and background have submitted projects to accelerate. Their pitches address a variety of issues, including kindergarten readiness, workforce training, STEM education, caregivers’ support, healthy eating and exercise, career prep, neighborhood beautification, and supporting those with special needs or who represent marginalized communities. Many proposals involve use of technology to further social causes.

For more information, visit

To see the impact of previous pitches, visit

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About Destination Cleveland

Destination Cleveland is the destination marketing and management organization for Cuyahoga County. This private, non-profit organization’s mission is to drive economic impact and stimulate community vitality for Greater Cleveland through leisure and business travel. Cleveland welcomes 18 million visitors annually. For more information, visit

 About the Cleveland Leadership Center (CLC)

The Cleveland Leadership Center’s mission is to build a continuum of civic leaders committed to our community’s excellence by serving as a catalyst for civic engagement. The Leadership Center inspires and connects people to transform Cleveland by developing leaders of all ages through learning and community engagement opportunities.

Media contacts

  • Cleveland Leadership Center: Michael E. Bennett, Vice President of External Affairs
    Work: (216) 592-2426, Cell: (216) 408-3874,
  • Destination Cleveland: Kristen Jantonio, Communications Specialist – Local & Group Tour
    Work: (216) 875-6641, Cell: (440) 897-9160,