Points of Light Civic Accelerator Launches Fall 2017 Class

The Points of Light Civic Accelerator invests in 12 civic ventures that are addressing ways to improve educational and workforce outcomes to prepare individuals for 21st century employment

ATLANTA (Sept. 27, 2017) – The Points of Light Civic Accelerator – the first national accelerator dedicated to investing in civic ventures – announced today the 12 ventures selected to participate in its fall 2017 program. The ventures come from across the United States and include for-profits and nonprofits focused on access and pathways to employment to help more individuals and families succeed.

With founding partners the PwC Charitable Foundation Inc. and Starbucks Foundation, and continuing partners Dentons, Singing for Change, and hotel sponsor Hilton, the Points of Light Civic Accelerator, kicks off its fall program with ventures working to equip and connect those who are underemployed with sustainable jobs in the innovation economy. This will be the 10th cohort of the Civic Accelerator since its founding in 2012.

The 12 teams will gather in Atlanta from Oct. 16-19 for the start of an intensive, 10-week entrepreneur boot camp that includes mentoring, education, peer support and networking. The teams then travel to Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Points of Light will offer two of the most promising ventures – as selected by the entrepreneurs themselves – a $50,000 investment following the conclusion of the program. 

“We are excited to support, along with our funders and partners, such promising ventures to improve access to employment, particularly among populations with high rates of underemployment,” said Ayesha Khanna, founder of the Points of Light Civic Accelerator. “Since the recession, we have lost 5 million manufacturing jobs, with half of the jobs added being low-wage. Our ventures provide solutions from education to workforce access, to help employers find talent and individuals find and sustain jobs in the innovation economy. This is a critical issue in the U.S., and we look forward to helping these teams and ventures scale the bold solutions needed to tackle this issue.”

Application and selection committees reviewed more than 60 curated applications before selecting the finalists. The selected cohort of ventures represent various sectors and solutions to improve access to jobs through 21st century education models, innovative training programs and on-ramps to higher education and career advancement for non-traditional employees such as veterans, immigrants and opportunity youth.

The civic startups participating in the Civic Accelerator fall 2017 program represent California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C: 

BridgeYear Nonprofit (Houston) - connects underserved individuals to high-growth employment and education opportunities through Career Test Drives and timely advising.

Chipper For-profit (Austin, Texas) – is a mobile app that rounds up change from everyday transactions and automatically chips away student debt.

ClassTracks For-profit (Baltimore) – empowers English language learners through an online learning tool that helps them learn key vocabulary more quickly and efficiently.

Cooperate Inc. Nonprofit (New York) – connects underrepresented college grads to each other and to meaningful careers in tech, media, and design.

Fathers Building Futures Nonprofit (Albuquerque, New Mexico) - ensures parents and families experiencing barriers from incarceration have opportunities for stability through job skills training and placement, financial education, and wrap-around services.

The Gifted Education Foundation Nonprofit (Atlanta) – aims to break generational cycles of poverty by producing marketplace leaders from low-income communities across America.

InReturn Strategies For-profit (Kansas City) – enables businesses to overcome social barriers and employ people with disabilities as easily as they do mainstream populations.

JobSnap Media Inc. For-profit (Los Angeles) – is the first web app video interviewing software platform helping Generation Z in underserved communities enter the workforce by telling their story via 30-second videos.

La Cocina VA Nonprofit (Arlington, Virginia) – generates social and economic change by preparing unemployed immigrants for culinary and entrepreneurial careers.

NewHire® For-profit (Chicago) – helps businesses hire better by providing the candidates, screening tools and coaching.

ReciproCare For-profit (Washington, D.C.) – helps senior care organizations find great caregivers, and helps caregivers find great jobs.

The Memo For-profit (New York) – is a digital career subscription platform that provides career readiness training for women of color to advance in their careers.

About Points of Light 

Points of Light – the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service – mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year. We bring the power of people to bear where it’s needed most. For more information, go to www.pointsoflight.org.

About the Points of Light Civic Accelerator 

The Points of Light Civic Accelerator is the first accelerator program and investment fund in the country focused on civic ventures – for-profit and nonprofit startups that include people as part of the solution to critical social problems. The three month, boot camp-style program convenes 10-15 teams in person and online with the goal of equipping each startup to seek investments and scale their social innovation. CivicX was launched in 2012, with support from founding partners PwC Charitable Foundation and Starbucks Foundation and in partnership with Village Capital. We receive continuing support from Dentons, Singing for Change and official hotel sponsor Hilton. Visit cvcx.org for more information or follow the accelerator on Twitter at @civicacceleratr and across social media at #CIVICX