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Community Programs Accelerator Accepting Applications Through July 26

The Community Programs Accelerator at the University of Chicago is now accepting applications for its 2020 program cycle. An initiative of the Office of Civic Engagement, the Accelerator provides customized capacity-building support to nonprofits that are based on or directly serve the South Side. The application is online at and will be accepted until Friday, July 26.

Launched in 2014, the Accelerator aims to build the organizational resilience and programmatic strength of community-based nonprofits, support and cultivate local leadership, and nurture a healthy ecosystem of nonprofits serving the South Side of Chicago. It does so by leveraging a full range of the University’s institutional strengths and partnerships to equip both established and emerging community-based nonprofits and leaders with tools and resources to strengthen foundational capabilities. Through teams of UChicago faculty, students, and partners, the Accelerator provides direct support to meet the distinct needs of each nonprofit.

The Accelerator’s Core program provides funding along with intense, focused, and customized support for up to three years. Organizations at the Associates level receive general capacity building support from accelerator staff and interns to help fulfill a core function through three to five relevant projects over the course of a year. Special Projects organizations receive discrete technical assistance through staff support and student engagement to address a specific issue or project over 10 to 20 weeks.

The Community Programs Accelerator seeks nonprofit organizations, preferably with 501c3 status, at any stage of development that serve at least one out of nine South Side neighborhoods: Douglas, Grand Boulevard, Greater Grand Crossing, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, South Shore, Washington Park, and Woodlawn.

Information sessions will be held on July 13 at 9 a.m., and July 17 at 6:30 p.m., at 5225 S. Cottage Grove.

Individual nonprofit leaders, in the early to mid-stages of their careers, are also invited to apply for a new two-year nonprofit management certificate program launched this year by the Community Programs Accelerator and SSA. The free program, designed to help leaders create, grow, and operate sustainable, effective community-based organizations, includes a core course plus evening and weekend workshops. More information is available at Applications for the Fall 2019 cohort are due August 1, 2019.

“The Accelerator meets nonprofits where they are to strengthen their capacity and put them on a sustainable path to execution,” said Ryan K. Preister, director of the Community Programs Accelerator. Each incoming cohort offers an exciting opportunity for us to advance our work to support a vibrant South Side civic infrastructure that improves the quality of life in local neighborhoods. We’re looking forward to welcoming a new roster of organization this fall.

For more information, contact Kim Grimshaw Bolton, at [email protected] or 773-702-6476.


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