Community Programs Accelerator
Through this initiative, the University hopes to serve as a catalyst for the growth of innovative, high-capacity groups working in local neighborhoods. - Derek Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement at the University of Chicago
Nonprofit organizations play an important role in the health and vitality of local communities. The Community Programs Accelerator, an initiative of the University of Chicago's Office of Civic Engagement, will provide a central point for nonprofits to access a range of University of Chicago resources. Similarly, close working relationships with the people and organizations making a difference in the Mid-South Side will allow the University to leverage its research and organizational expertise—along with talent and support from community and industry partners—toward having a greater impact in the community.
Through partnerships with industry practitioners and connections to University resources, this new initiative will provide technical assistance to help develop and strengthen community-based organizations. It will also foster connections between these organizations, promoting a strong network of nonprofits in the mid-South Side.
Living the legacy: making careers in medicine accessible to South Side youth
Aerostar Avion gives wings to dreams
Nonprofits focused on housing issues find support at the Community Programs Accelerator
South Side organization participates in training to strengthen trauma-informed care at Parkway Gardens
The Accelerator strives to address the capacity building needs of small-to mid-size nonprofits on the South Side. Organizations must either be located in and/or deliver a substantial portion of their programming in one or more of the following communities in order to qualify for accelerator participation and grant funding: Douglas, Grand Boulevard, Greater Grand Crossing, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, South Shore, Washington Park, and Woodlawn.
Civic Engagement - Community Programs
Through the Office of Civic Engagement's Community Programs Accelerator, nonprofit organizations will have the opportunity to:
Build Connections with University of Chicago faculty, administrators and students whose work aligns with the organization’s mission and with industry practitioners who can help the organization reach its goals.
Exchange Knowledge with other area nonprofits and participate in educational workshops that will strengthen the organization and its leaders.
Access Resources such as the University’s community programs directory and connections to student, staff, or faculty volunteers.
Make a Difference on the South Side by developing the network, tools, and leadership skills to become an even stronger organization.
The Accelerator provides customized and intensive support to selected organizations who operate in or who seek to operate in South Side communities. For one to three years, selected organizations receive grant funding, organizational needs assessments, a strategic annual work plan, along with tailored organizational development, technical and financial support services provided by staff, consultants, students, and faculty.
The Accelerator provides project-based support to select community-based organizations. For one year, nonprofits receive individualized organizational and technical support on a given project with the help of a University graduate student supervised by Accelerator staff and consultants.
For organizations with discrete project needs, the Accelerator provides consulting, technical, and implementation support matching organizations with University resources in the areas of marketing, program development and evaluation, data and technology, and fund development. These short term, three to six-month engagements are student-driven under the supervision of Accelerator staff.
The Accelerator convenes a cohort of sector-specific organizations to receive year-long support, encourage peer to peer collaboration, facilitate network building, and provide direct project support.
The Community Programs Accelerator works through the development of a strong set of partnerships. We invite all nonprofit, industry and community practitioners, as well as University students, faculty, and staff interested in getting involved in the mission of the Community Programs Accelerator to contact us.
- Argonne Lab
- Chicago Booth School of Business: Social Enterprise Initiative
- Chicago Policy Research Team
- Civic Knowledge Project
- Crime Lab / Urban Education Lab
- Law School: Arthur Kane Center for Clinical Legal Education
- School of Social Service Administration
- UChicago Charter Schools
- UChicago Medicine
- UChicago Urban
For more than 35 years, Featherfist has been helping people move from homelessness to safe, secure, affordable housing — and supporting them on every step of the journey. In turn, Featherfist gets support from the Community Programs Accelerator at the University of Chicago, which connects South Side nonprofits with University resources that help them strengthen their impact on the communities they serve.
Civic Actor Studio
Jonathan Swain wasn’t sure what he was in for when he arrived for Day One of the pilot of the Civic Actor Studio (CAS). CAS, a partnership between Court Theatre and the Office of Civic Engagemen...
Kemati J. Porter
eta Creative Arts Foundation
"Being part of the Accelerator taught us the value of reaching out and finding people who can answer questions, open doors, and provide a resource." -eta Creative Arts Foundation
“The Accelerator did the vetting and strengthening that we needed in order to present ourselves to foundations and funders, who want to feel comfortable and know that you’re solid before they invest in you.” -Sheldon Smith
Community Programs Accelerator
“Without the Accelerator, we would not be anywhere near where we are now. They not only gave us resources and help, they gave us the courage to try things.” -Susan Alitto