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Accelerate: Civic vision into action

Accelerate is an opportunity for every individual in Cleveland to share and act on a personal vision to change our region.

Individual community members are invited to submit compelling, innovative and even wild pitch ideas for one-and-done projects or sustainable, ongoing efforts that make Northeast Ohio a better place. Pitches are made in one of five broad categories:

  • Community Change
  • Economic & Workforce Development
  • Educating for Tomorrow
  • Quality of Life
  • Transformative Arts and Culture

At the event, five pitches in each category are presented before small audiences and panels of judges drawn from community leaders. Judges select one finalist in each category. The finalists make their pitches before a combined audience, which vote on the overall winner. Winners receive seed funding to help bring their vision to reality, but all pitched ideas may find a champion among the crowd to help them take flight.

Over the past three years, hundreds of Cleveland's top local leaders have served as judges, hosts and volunteers. A Huffington Post blogger once described the event as,  “Shark Tank meets TED Talks.” 

Learn more about the past three years and the ideas pitched at each below.

Accelerate 2017: Citizens Make Change
February 22, 2017
Presented in partnership with Citizens Bank

Accelerate 2016: Citizens Make Change
February 24, 2016
presented in partnership with Citizens Bank

Accelerate 2015: A New Model for Changes
February 25, 2015
Presented in partnership with Bernie Moreno Companies