Accelerate 2017: Citizens Make Change

On February 22, 2017, Cleveland Leadership Center hosted over 400 individuals at the HIMSS Innovation Center for the 3rd annual Accelerate – a civic pitch event at which everyday citizens pitch their ideas to improve and enrich the Cleveland and the surrounding cities lives.

Cleveland Leadership’s goal is to prompt people of all ages to act on their visions for the community. Accelerate is all about helping to build a bridge of individuals who are committed to moving forward.

The categories were Community Change, Economic & Workforce Development, Educating for Tomorrow, Quality of Life, and Transformative Arts and Culture. Each of the categories had five pitches that were presented to panels of top community leaders. Each panels then picked one of the pitches to move onto the finals which here held in the Jr. Ballroom of the Global Center for Health Innovations. The finalists then presented to a live audience who then voted via cell phone app for the winner idea.

Jeremy Langham won first prize ($5,000) in the Community Change category. Jeremy is planning a benevolent brewpub where your menu choices will include food, drink, and local social organizations where a portion of your check will be donated.

The other four finalists, who each earned $2,000 were; Shayla Ivezzy, Economic & Workforce Development category. Shayla is planning a mobile center to provide professional attire and career training for students in under-served areas. Jowan Smith, Educating for Tomorrow category. Jowan prepares and equips parents in low-income areas to navigate the college application and financial aid process. Ava Alexandra Thomas, Quality of Life. Ava will be creating memory mats for Alzheimer's and dementia patients. Daniel Gray-Kontar, Transformative Arts & Culture. Daniel is working to send six high school students to a literary conference in San Francisco through the Twelve Literary and Performative Arts Incubator.

Congratulations to all those that participated in Accelerate 2017! If you would like to follow the implementation of these projects, please visit Cleveland Leads updates.