Civic visionaries to pitch ideas at seventh annual Accelerate: Citizens Make Change

Individuals with creative visions to improve lives in Greater Cleveland will pitch their ideas virtually at Accelerate: Citizens Make Change starting Monday, Feb. 22 and running through Thursday, Feb. 25.

The seventh annual civic pitch competition is presented by the Cleveland Leadership Center in partnership with Citizens.

“We are committed to helping our communities reach their potential, and what better way than to provide a platform like this,” says Jim Malz, Accelerate co-chair and president of Citizens, Ohio. “This year’s unique virtual event will give citizens across Ohio and even across the country an opportunity to be inspired by visionary ideas to improve communities.”

The 31 pitches address subjects ranging from unique ways to connect with and support Cleveland to growing employment, promoting physical and mental health, advancing education, and addressing complex challenges by promoting equity, access, and opportunity.

There will be six preliminary category competitions—authentic Cleveland experiences, economic development, education, health and well-being, social change, and quality of life—Monday, Feb. 22 through Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Panelists will select one finalist from each category to pitch in the final round on Thursday, Feb. 25, with the winner receiving $5,000 and five runners-up each receiving $2,000. The audience will be able to vote virtually.

The Cleveland Foundation is sponsoring a special Technovation competition for ideas leveraging technology on Thursday, with the winner receiving $3,500. And the Burton D. Morgan Foundation is sponsoring a Teen Enterprise Pop-Up shop—the winning pitch at Accelerate 2018.

FreshWater contributing editor Jen Jones Donatelli will be presenting for the second year in a row at Accelerate, presenting CLE-ative Cottage in the Authentic Cleveland Experiences category.

The CLE-ative Cottage is a charming century home near the shores of Lake Erie in Euclid that will become a gathering place and private short-term retreat for creatives and writers,” Jones Donatelli writes in her pitch. “The CLE-ative Cottage will celebrate and enhance Cleveland’s strong arts legacy by featuring works of local artists; curating artistic experiences and classes; hosting writing, art classes, and networking events; providing suggested itineraries for viewing public art, taking classes, and exploring the city; and offering a series of weekend residencies for both local and visiting writers and artists.

The event is open to the public. Tickets are available on a “Pay What You Can” basis this year. Follow event notifications and live updates on the Accelerate Facebook page. Events start at 4 p.m. each day.

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