With Washington broken, local innovators in city halls, non-profits and businesses across America are taking it upon themselves to improve people’s lives.
Accelerator for America (the “Accelerator”) seeks to provide strategic support to the best local initiatives to strengthen people’s economic security, specifically those initiatives that connect people with existing jobs, create new opportunities and foster infrastructure development. The initiatives we will support are the ones with the potential to be replicated or scaled nationwide, city by city, community by community, focusing on benefitting disadvantaged communities.
The Accelerator applies the best of the tech accelerator model to connect local innovators with the networks, mentorship and capital they need to replicate and scale their initiatives.
Our Advisory Council, described below, is tasked with identifying promising initiatives and also serves as a resource to grow these initiatives. We also work with local accelerators and incubators to surface potential initiatives that fit the Accelerator for America model.
Everything the Accelerator does is about linking people with fulfilling work and helping provide ladders of opportunity to the middle class or beyond. Fulfilling work allows someone to cure the ills of unemployment and underemployment — the struggle to afford housing, health and education. And it provides pride and self-respect.
Fulfilling work also provides stability and the opportunity to save for retirement, post-secondary education, and pathways to create wealth through investing.
How it Works
Silicon Valley accelerators help entrepreneurs bring good ideas to life by providing strategic support (networks, mentorship and capital) to turn their passion and commitment into thriving businesses. Accelerator for America will provide the same support to civic entrepreneurs.
Instead of another think tank or policy journal churning out white papers, Accelerator for America will focus on taking action and making a real difference in people’s lives. We will form partnerships within the public, private and non-profit sectors; we will draw the public spotlight to promising initiatives; and we will provide additional funding to bring the projects that demonstrate the most promise to be implemented on a larger scale.
Accelerator for America’s Advisory Council, led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, is comprised of leaders from local government, technology, investing, labor and the non-profit sector who know how to create jobs and bring ideas to scale, and have insight about the future of work and our nation’s economy. They will each identify potential initiatives and participate in selecting the initiatives the Accelerator will ultimately support. Where appropriate, the members of the Advisory Council may share their expertise and networks with selected civic entrepreneurs.
What We Will Support
We know that good ideas can come from anywhere — passionate individuals, start-ups or established companies, successful non-profits or proactive local governments. Accelerator for America will consider projects from across sectors and industries — as long as they meet the Accelerator’s criteria and are supported by an Accelerator Advisory Council member.
How We Are Funded
Accelerator for America is a non-profit organization (501(c)(3) supported by organizations and individuals who want to take action to make people’s lives better.
The fourth meeting of the Accelerator for America Advisory Council will take place in Philadelphia in November 2018.
Our first meeting was in November 2017 in South Bend, Indiana. Hosted by Mayor Pete Buttigieg, our Advisory Council approved the Accelerator's first project: to provide support for local governments seeking job creation through infrastructure initiatives.
Our second meeting was held in Columbia, South Carolina in February 2018. Hosted by Mayor Steve Benjamin, our Advisory Council approved two further projects -- we engaged Fred Yang to conduct a poll around American attitudes on the future of work, and we voted to move forward on work around the newly-established Opportunity Zones, in collaboration with New Localism Advisors.
Our third meeting took place at the United Brotherhood of Carpenters' International Training Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 25-26, 2018. There, we engaged with entities involved in local infrastructure initiatives; were briefed on and discussed the results of our public opinion research on the future of work; and examined our proposed Opportunity Zone plans from Louisville, KY, Oklahoma City, OK, and South Bend, IN.