Press Release: 28, August 2019
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AUGUST 28, 2019 -- Accelerator for America today announced the following new members of its Advisory Council:


  • Mayor Quentin Hart, Waterloo, IA
  • Mayor David Holt, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Mayor Andy Schor, Lansing, MI
  • Council Member (at-large) Amanda Edwards, Houston, TX
  • Larry Jacob, Vice President of Public Affairs, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
  • Shamina Singh, President and Founder, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth


"These passionate leaders will ensure Accelerator for America continues to rapidly expand in our scale and impact," said Accelerator CEO and Co-Founder Rick Jacobs, noting that the organization first met just 21 months ago. “With the help of the best minds in government, business and philanthropy, we're giving local communities the tools they need to help themselves and spark nationwide change from the bottom up.”


Today, more than 40 cities across America have harnessed the Accelerator’s Opportunity Zone toolkit to develop Investment Prospectuses to attract billions of dollars to their most underserved communities. With the help of a recently-announced partnership with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, Accelerator will be deeply engaged with 50 cities by the end of the year.


The Accelerator's March Opportunity Zone Summit at Stanford University attracted more than 400 leaders from the government, investment and non-profit sectors, and since then the organization has organized and participated in local and regional Opportunity Zone summits in Birmingham, AL; Kansas City, MO; Waterloo, IA; Chicago, IL; and Newark, NJ, and last month engaged with 13 Michigan cities in partnership with the Michigan Municipal League. It is also helped produce Erie, PA’s “Homecoming” event last week.


In addition to its Opportunity Zone initiative, Accelerator for America also works with communities nationwide to generate local infrastructure funds. The organization's initial efforts have helped generate $9 billion, and the Accelerator has identified $110 billion in local infrastructure funding that it will seek to advance during the next election cycle.


Accelerator for America launched in November 2017 in South Bend, IN. Hosted by Mayor Pete Buttigieg at his city’s historic Studebaker plant (where he would later announce his presidential bid), the organization recognized that millions of Americans are being left behind, and that amidst federal dysfunction and inaction, our country needs a catalytic organization to scale and replicate local solutions that make people’s lives better.


Mayor Quentin Hart: “Accelerator for America is action-oriented, and action is what mayors must deliver. I have seen Accelerator’s work firsthand across the country and on the ground in my own city. I am honored to join them in helping my fellow mayors reach higher, move faster, and achieve even greater things for their cities.”


Mayor David Holt: “Over just a few months, the Accelerator worked with Oklahoma City and gave us the resources to develop one of the nation’s first and best Investment Prospectuses for our Opportunity Zones. This put us in the most favorable position to pitch our shovel-ready projects to investors. That’s a level of action you don’t normally see, and I am proud to help the Accelerator replicate what they’re doing in Oklahoma City for communities across the country.”


Mayor Andy Schor: "Watching how the Accelerator interacted with 13 Michigan cities in Lansing last month just blew me away. I am proud to be a part of this forward-thinking and action-oriented organization and look forward to helping them support cities all across America.”


Council Member Amanda Edwards: “I am excited to take the best ideas from my city and to share them with the Accelerator’s work across America.”


Larry Jacob: “The Accelerator and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation worked together with local collaborators to develop the Kansas City Opportunity Zone Investor Summit in June, and it was a tremendous success. In this new role, I look forward to helping guide the Accelerator’s efforts to create similar successes in communities coast to coast.”


Shamina Singh: “The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth is working with Accelerator for America to make sure the Opportunity Zones Act has the greatest chance to impact those who need it most. I am honored to join the Accelerator Advisory Council as we come together to bring data science to local economic development strategies, so underserved communities can grow and thrive.”


Link to headshots and bios:


Full List of Advisory Council Members:


  • Mayor Steve Benjamin, Columbia, SC
  • Angela Glover Blackwell, CEO, PolicyLink
  • James T. Callahan, General President, International Union of Operating Engineers
  • Mayor John Cranley, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Cheryl Dorsey, President, Echoing Green
  • Michael Dubin, Founder and CEO, Dollar Shave Club
  • Council Member (at-large) Amanda Edwards, Houston, TX
  • Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles, CA
  • Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, Washington
  • Mayor Quentin Hart, Waterloo, IA
  • Mayor David Holt, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Larry Jacob, Vice President of Public Affairs, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
  • Bruce Katz, Co-founder, The New Localism
  • Gregory A. Kelly, President and CEO, WSP USA
  • Doug McCarron, General President, United Brotherhood of Carpenters
  • Swati Mylavarapu, CEO,
  • Steve Robinson, CEO, Reimagine
  • Mayor Andy Schor, Lansing, MI
  • Shamina Singh, President and Founder, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
  • Rob Slimp, President and CEO, HNTB
  • City Clerk Anna Valencia, Chicago, IL
  • Mayor Nan Whaley, Dayton, OH




Accelerator for America launches and replicates local initiatives to improve people’s lives in communities across the country to create national change from the bottom up. The Accelerator developed its Opportunity Zone “Investment Prospectus” tool to empower local communities to steer private capital toward investments that deliver a return for investors and local residents. Opportunity Zones could attract $100 billion in investment.


The Accelerator is also working with local governments across the country to generate local infrastructure revenues instead of relying on the unmet federal infrastructure promise. An example is Los Angeles

County’s Measure M, which was approved in November 2016 and generates $120 billion and 465,000 career jobs. On that same election day, which also elected Donald Trump to the White House, local governments nationwide approved $230 billion in local infrastructure improvements.