Civic pitches announced for Accelerate 2018

CLEVELAND – Twenty-five individuals with visions of creating positive change in Cleveland will pitch their ideas at Accelerate 2018: Citizens Make Change, a civic pitch event presented by Citizens Bank and the Cleveland Leadership Center on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, at the Global Center for Health Innovation.

Their ideas touch nearly everyone in NEO, offering creative ways to encourage entrepreneurism among youth, address food insecurity, care for those with dementia or special needs, and use music or art to creatively address challenges. They were selected from nearly 80 submissions. Presenters represent a diversity of ages, backgrounds and experiences. Visit for details.

Panels of prominent community members will judge category competitions to select one finalist in each of five categories: Community Change, Economic and Workforce Development, Educating for Tomorrow, Health & Wellness, and Quality of Life. The finalists will make their pitches to a combined audience, which will vote to select the overall winner. The winning pitch receives $5,000, and the four runners-up each receive $2,000.

The event is open to the public. Ticket sales and details are at Since it launched in 2015, Accelerate has been a catalyst for dozens of ideas to take flight and directly impact everyone from pre-kindergarteners to senior citizens (updates on past pitches are at

“Citizens Bank is committed to helping our communities reach their potential, and what better way than to provide a platform like Accelerate where individual citizens can share visionary ideas to make our region a better place,” said Ursula Cottone, Accelerate Co-Chair and an Executive Vice President of Citizens Bank, Ohio.

In addition to Citizens, the event is offered in partnership with Oswald Companies and Westfield Insurance Foundation presenting the Community Change category, Oatey Co. presenting the Economic and Workforce Development category, Nordson Corporation Foundation presenting the Educating for Tomorrow category, Cleveland Clinic presenting the Health & Wellness category, and Cuyahoga Community College and Thompson Hine LLP presenting the Quality of Life category. JumpStart is sponsoring a showcase of past Accelerate pitches that are being implemented and making a difference in Cleveland.

Event details        

  • What: Accelerate 2018: Citizens Make Change, presented by Cleveland Leadership Center and Citizens Bank
  • When: Wednesday, February 21, 2018
    5:30 p.m., Pitch category competition; 6:30 p.m., Networking reception; 7:00 p.m., Final competition
  • Where: Global Center for Health Innovation, 1 St. Clair Avenue NE, Cleveland, OH 44114
  • Cost: Advance sales – $35 public, $30 CLC Members, $20 Students. All tickets at the door are $40.
  • Information: Direct questions to (216) 592-2276 or
  • Twitter: #AccelerateNEO, @CitizensBank, @cleveleads
  • Facebook: @CitizensBank, @Cleveland Leadership Center

Media contact
Michael E. Bennett, VP of External Affairs, O: (216) 592-2426, C: (216) 408-3874,