Solving social problems requires innovative solutions and the 10 finalists in the Civic Accelerator program are prime examples of how engaging the public can lead to a better world. Helping promising civic ventures get off the ground, Civic Accelerator is a joint effort of nonprofit organizations Points of Light and Village Capital. The program provides an initial investment of $10,000, as well as mentoring, peer support and entrepreneurial education. Two winners will receive $50,000 in seed money.
The key to any strong community program is its people — helping them succeed as individuals and making them central to the project's success. The 10 finalists, chosen from 165 applicants, address a wide range of issues including financial literacy, democratic participation, small business financing, volunteerism, low-income housing and charitable giving. Each of these ventures galvanizes the public to act, whether by donating their time, money or deeper involvement in their communities.
For example, Generation Citizen addresses low civic participation among the nation's youth by showing them how to affect positive change in their own schools and communities. The program partners college students with high school classes to teach action-oriented civics lessons, challenging students to find issues they care about, then brainstorm solutions.
Teams from these 10 startups gathered in Atlanta for an intensive 12-week boot camp where they gained valuable knowledge, worked together with their peers, and networked. The program strengthens each venture with mentoring in critical areas like fundraising, marketing, social media and getting people engaged. The two winning ventures will be chosen by their peers.
Points of Light is a volunteer organization that helps people discover their power to drive positive change in the world and address critical needs within their communities through action networks, civic incubators and a number of specialized programs. Village Capital provides the model for the Civic Accelerator program, using the power of peer support to build enterprises that have a big impact. The Civic Accelerator program is also supported by partners PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc. and Starbucks Foundation.