September 22, 2016

Points of Light Civic Accelerator Launches Fall 2016 Cohort, Focused on Educational and Workforce Success for Detroit Area Youth

With founding partner PwC Charitable Foundation, along with the Ford Motor Company Fund, Hilton Worldwide, Dentons, and Singing for Change, the Points of Light Civic Accelerator invests in 15 ventures addressing disconnected youth

ATLANTA, September 22, 2016 – The Points of Light Civic Accelerator – the first national accelerator dedicated to investing in civic ventures – announced today the 15 ventures selected to participate in its Fall 2016 program. These civic start-ups include for-profits and nonprofits focused on increasing educational outcomes and workforce success for youth in the Detroit and Great Lakes region.

The 15 teams will gather in Detroit on October 11 for the start of an intensive, 10-week entrepreneur boot camp that includes mentoring, education, peer support and networking. 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. This will be the eighth cohort of the Civic Accelerator since its founding in 2012.

Application and selection committees screened more than 200 social ventures from across the country and reviewed 58 curated applications before selecting the 15 ventures in this cohort. They represent a range of sectors and approaches to education and workforce development for disconnected youth in Detroit, the Great Lakes, and from across the U.S. The solutions are diverse – including alternative learning models, youth education and technical skills training, and tech-enabled workforce development platforms – to help young people achieve educational success, living wage jobs and economic mobility.

“We know that young adults need workforce-ready skills to fully participate in the new economy, and Detroit employers, foundations and community leaders are committed to help connect young people to the emerging opportunities in the region,” said Ayesha Khanna, founder of the Points of Light Civic Accelerator. “We are proud to support, along with our funders and partners, such promising ventures to turn current trends around, by improving educational outcomes and workforce success for the young people in Detroit and the Great Lakes region.”

“As a Founding Supporter of the Civic Accelerator, we are proud to have helped more than 175 entrepreneurs access the tools and resources they need to scale their ventures,” shared Shannon Schuyler, president of the PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc. “We congratulate the 15 newly selected teams and are excited for the opportunity to watch them grow over the next few months.”

“The Ford Motor Company Fund is thrilled to have played an integral part in bringing the Points of Light Civic Accelerator to Detroit with its focus on Opportunity Youth,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund. “We look forward to supporting the diverse social entrepreneurs to scale innovative solutions to address education and workforce challenges faced by youth in Detroit and the Great Lakes region. Detroit’s robust entrepreneurial community and history of innovation is the perfect environment to host Cohort 8.”

The civic startups participating in the Civic Accelerator Fall 2016 program represent California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York. They are:

(Boston, MA, For-profit), Anyone’s Learning Experience is a marketplace of college courses for career advancement.

(Detroit, MI, Nonprofit) uses local and global travel to improve outcomes for students attending high poverty schools.

BLOC (Franklin Lakes, NJ, For-profit) is a professional network that unites black college students so that they can collectively rise.

(Detroit, MI, Nonprofit) develops Detroit high school students as leaders through entrepreneurship rooted in food.

(Detroit, MI, For-profit) teaches the skills necessary to match students with high paying jobs through customized, hands-on vocational programs of study.

(Chicago, IL, For-profit) helps colleges increase utilization of student support services including tutoring, advising, and financial aid.

(Opa-Locka, FL, For-profit) is a real Magic School Bus offering expeditions around the globe and making it easy for teachers to engage students with STEM+ learning.

GenFKD (New York, NY, Nonprofit) prepares students to thrive in the 21st century through on-campus skill development programs.

Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (Detroit, MI, Nonprofit) provides Detroit youth with paid summer employment and training opportunities.

(Dearborn, MI, Nonprofit) empowers young people to be more innovative and creative in how they think and learn.

(Chicago, IL, For-profit) provides open source data and analytics to connect action to outcomes for service providers and funders in the social sector.

(Detroit, MI, Nonprofit) empowers underrepresented and underserved Detroiters through coding and software development instruction.

(Chicago, IL, For-profit) is a web platform for high school students and the people that support them.

Skill Scout (Chicago, IL, For-profit) transforms how companies and candidates experience each other through video job posts and engaging work sample applications.

(Santa Monica, CA, Nonprofit) is an entrepreneurial mentoring program that pairs college students to middle school students in under-resourced communities.

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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 more than 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year – we put people at the center of change. For more information, go to .

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 solve social problems by including people as part of the solution. 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. The Civic Accelerator was launched in 2012, in partnership with Village Capital, and receives generous support from PwC Charitable Foundation, a founding partner, and from the Ford Motor Company Fund, U.S. Small Business Administration, Dentons US LLP, Singing for Change and official hotel sponsor, Hilton Worldwide. Visit for more information or follow the accelerator on Twitter at and across social media at .

About PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc.
The PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc., a section 501(c)(3) organization, makes charitable contributions to the people of PwC in times of financial hardship, and to nonprofit organizations that support and promote education and humanitarianism.

About Ford Motor Company Fund

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services (Ford Fund) is the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company. Established in 1949, Ford Fund is a charitable, nonprofit corporation financed by contributions from Ford Motor Company. Ford Fund has invested $1.5 billion in nonprofits and civic organizations worldwide, expanding on the company’s 113-year legacy of corporate citizenship by helping build stronger communities with a focus on Community Life, Education, Safe Driving and Volunteerism.

As a recovering entrepreneur, turned Marketing Manager for the Civic Accelerator, I love working and connecting with social entrepreneurs and startups. I also enjoy running, coffee and talking all things vegan.