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Points of Light Civic Accelerator Launches Veterans Solutions Lab

The Points of Light Civic Accelerator invests in 12 impact ventures that are addressing the unique challenges faced by veterans and their families as they transition to civilian life.

ATLANTA, May 25, 2018 – The Points of Light Civic Accelerator – the first national accelerator dedicated to investing in civic ventures – announced the 12 ventures selected to participate in its Veterans Solutions Lab program, sponsored by the PwC Charitable Foundation. The ventures come from across the country and include early-stage for-profits and nonprofits focused on empowering and equipping veterans and their families with the skills and resources to succeed in the new economy and civilian life.

The 12 teams will gather in San Francisco from June 4 – 7, for the start of an intensive, eight-week entrepreneur boot camp that includes mentoring, education, peer support, and networking. The teams will participate in the Social Innovation Summit as part of the launch in San Francisco. They will also travel to Washington, D.C., and Chicago over the course of the program. At the conclusion of the Veterans Solutions Lab, two of the most promising ventures – as selected by the entrepreneurs themselves — will be offered a $50,000 grant.

“There is no greater honor than to have served in our nation’s military, and we are grateful for the sacrifices of our veterans,” said Frank Gaudio, veterans liaison for the PwC Charitable Foundation. “Veterans are one of our nation’s most deserving – and underserved – populations when it comes to education, workforce training, and civilian transition assistance. Working with Points of Light to help entrepreneurs collaboratively scale their capacity to serve more veterans is one of the most impactful ways we can contribute to this important cause, and we’re proud to continue helping veterans and their families reach their highest potential.”

“Entrepreneurs are fundamental to society’s eco-system, but the economic landscape is not always conducive to their success,” said Charlotte Coker Gibson, executive director, PwC Charitable Foundation. “The PwC Charitable Foundation is proud to work with the Points of Light Civic Accelerator to help support ventures that affect our many military veterans; these exemplary Americans and their families deserve every opportunity to receive the skills and resources they’ll need to transition into the civilian workforce. And, there are some great solutions in the pipeline courtesy of these innovative entrepreneurs.”

“We are excited to deepen our work with the PwC Charitable Foundation to support such promising ventures supporting veterans and their families,” said Ayesha Khanna, founder of the Points of Light Civic Accelerator. “More than 50 percent of veterans experience a period of unemployment upon transition to civilian life, and average student loan debts are higher for veteran students. With one million service men and women expected to transition to civilian life in the next four years, it’s critical for us to support scalable, innovative solutions that tap into new thinking, evidence-based results and technology to help unleash veterans’ talent to their full potential, benefiting veterans, their families and communities at large.”

The selected cohort of ventures represents various sectors and solutions to equip veterans and their spouses to build job-ready skills, find employment and successfully reintegrate into communities across the country. Fifty percent of the ventures are led or co-led by women.

The early stage ventures participating in the Civic Accelerator Veterans Solutions Lab cohort represent 8 states:

Dog Tag Inc. (Nonprofit, Washington, D.C.) – empowers service-disabled veterans, military spouses, and caregivers to discover professional fulfillment in the civilian world through a business and entrepreneurship fellowship program.

Has Heart (Nonprofit, Grand Rapids, MI) – utilizes the mediums of art, design, and fashion to benefit, inspire and enrich our nation’s veterans by building a bridge between the worlds of veterans, creatives and civilians.

Merging Vets and Players (Nonprofit, Los Angeles, CA) – provides combat veterans and former professional athletes a supportive team of peers as they progress into civilian life together.

MILLIE (For-profit, Arlington, VA) – reduces the pain, friction, and uncertainty of the housing process for the military and veteran community through a digital services platform.

Operation Code (Nonprofit, Portland, OR) – helps the military community enter the tech industry and code the future.

OweYaa (For-profit, New York, NY) – matches employers to qualified veteran and military spouse candidates and equips the military community with skills- training and career matches leading to 21st-century tech employment.

Patriot Link (Nonprofit, Washington, D.C.) – supports service members, veterans, families and those who serve them by connecting them with vetted service resources through a cloud-based navigation platform.

Veterans Legal Institute (Orange County, CA) – provides and connects pro bono and legal services to homeless and low-income veterans.

Veterati (For-profit, New York, NY) – enables on-demand conversations between veterans and industry insiders for critical advice, connections, and community to hypercharge their career journeys.

VETS Indexes (For-profit, New York, NY) – creates investible financial indexes of public companies supportive of servicemen and women, reservists and their families.

Victor Tech (For-profit, Chicago, IL) – eases the difficulties of transitioning out of the military by helping veterans and their families stay healthy, happy, employed and informed.

Your6 (For-profit, Austin, TX) – helps businesses hire the best candidate with less time and money.

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 are engaging people to solve our communities’ most pressing social issues. We work with these early-stage ventures and connect them to corporate resources and customers, mentors and investors over the course of a 12-week intensive curriculum.

About the PwC Charitable Foundation

The PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc., a section 501(c)(3) organization, makes contributions to the people of PwC in times of financial hardship and to nonprofit organizations that support and promote education and humanitarianism. The PwC Charitable Foundation’s investment in the Veterans Solutions Lab is part of the Foundation’s extended $10 million commitment to support US veterans and their families with a goal of helping 200,000 veterans, spouses and children overcome barriers they may face with education and career transition.

Megan is the Director of the Civic Accelerator at Points of Light. In this role, she is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Civic Accelerator, including venture recruitment, program and curriculum development, portfolio monitoring and evaluation, direct investments, and developing
strategic program and philanthropic partnerships.

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