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SVPLA Accelerator

Great News!! SVP's Accelerator Program application is open!!!

SVP Los Angeles is seeking L.A.’s most innovative emerging nonprofits tackling the root cause of pressing social problems.



Social Venture Partners Los Angeles (SVPLA) is excited to launch a new program designed to accelerate the growth and impact of a cohort of systems change nonprofits in Los Angeles County. We define systems change as work that tackles the root causes of pressing social problems. As distinct from direct service work, systems change programs address underlying inequitable structures by shifting policies, processes, resources, and power structures. We see an opportunity to create exponential positive change in Los Angeles through this focus on root causes, and we aim to channel the unique skills, networks, and expertise of the cohort and our SVP Partners (our donor volunteers with deep experience in private sector, government, and nonprofit leadership) in support of these endeavors.

The Accelerator is a fast-paced, intensive program for 3-5 nonprofit organizations in the early stages of a systems change initiative. The program blends workshops, coaching, peer learning, and 1:1 mentoring  to support nonprofit leaders in strengthening infrastructure and program design, increasing relationships and resources, honing and amplify their voice, and integrating core values of equity and innovation. We’ve found these foundational elements uniquely accelerate an organization’s ability to create systemic community impact.

The program will run from October 2017 to June 2018, and will include participation in SVP’s signature Fast Pitch Program and event. All participating organizations will receive an unrestricted seed grant of $10,000 and will be eligible for additional cash prizes through the Fast Pitch portion of the program.

The Accelerator will be divided into three phases:   

  • Phase I: Design/Infrastructure (October-December 2017): To focus on aspects of design and organizational infrastructure, based on the interests and needs of the cohort. May include sessions on human-centered design, equity, and operations.
  • Phase II: Fast Pitch (January-March 2018): To focus on honing an inspiring 3-minute pitch with the support of two coaches per organization, culminating in a 600-person event in March.
  • Phase III: Network/Capital Building (April-June 2018): To include support around financial sustainability, managing growth, connections to funders and other influential leaders.

SVPLA believes that diversity creates a rich learning environment, and we seek to build a cohort of leaders that reflects the diversity of race, ethnicity, gender expression, age, ability, and sexual orientation here in Los Angeles.


Social Venture Partners builds powerful relationships among people who want to create positive change in their communities and the nonprofits that make that change possible.  We are a diverse group of individual donors (“Partners”) – business people, entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders – who combine our skills, resources and networks to help amplify and grow nonprofit impact. SVP Los Angeles is a member of the international Social Venture Partners network of more than 3,500 engaged philanthropists in 40 cities globally.  For more information, visit www.svpla.org.





Organizations must meet the below criteria in order to apply for the Accelerator:

  • Nonprofit organization Applicants must have a designation from the IRS as a 501(c)3 organization or proof of fiscal sponsorship.
  • Location – We have a strong preference for LA County-based organizations. If you are a part of a national organization or are headquartered elsewhere, you are still invited to apply. Be sure to tell us how your program significantly impacts LA County.
  • Systems Change Focus – Applicant’s organization or initiative must have a systems change focus, seeking to address the root cause of an identified social issue. We are looking for organizations that are working to alter the status quo by transforming systems, and rethinking the boundaries of what is possible. Systems can include policies, routines, relationships, resources, power structures, and values.
  • Early Stage Endeavors – The program must be in the early stages of growth and development, but must have some proof of concept. Larger, established organizations may apply to the program only if their participation in the Accelerator would focus on a new, innovative program being developed or implemented by their organization.
  • Organization Representative The individual participating in the Accelerator on behalf of their organization must hold the title of Executive Director, CEO, Founder, Chief Program Officer, or equivalent senior-level position with significant organizational decision-making responsibility, and should have at least six months of tenure with the organization. Participants should work or live in LA County in order to utilize the coaching resources available. We will also invite additional organizational leaders to participate in some of the workshops.
  • Organization Size, Years in Operation There are no restrictions on organizational budget, staffing, or age.
  • Program Cost There is no fee to participate in the program. Participants will spend approximately 4-5 hours a week over the course of the 9-month program.
  • SVPLA Fast Pitch Alumni Fast Pitch semifinalists (those who did not present on stage) are eligible to apply. Fast Pitch finalists (those who presented on stage) are not eligible for this program.



A team of SVP Partners will prioritize applicants that demonstrate strength in each of the following:

  • Social Problem – The program/initiative addresses the root of a pressing social problem in L.A. and demonstrates a deep understanding of the problem.
  • Innovation The approach to solving the social problem has unique potential for impact. The innovation seeks to address systemic issues that lead to more significant long-term results than more conventional models or practices.
  • Openness to Learning & Sharing – The leader applying for the program demonstrates a thoughtful approach to the work, a proximity to the challenge they’re addressing, and a willingness to learn, share, and grow their leadership and organizational impact.



  • We are looking for participants who will be deeply committed to the Accelerator process during the program timeline (October 2017 – June 2018).
  • Accelerator participants must participate in two half-day, in-person workshops/cohort sessions each month over the course of the nine months. We anticipate that participants will need to spend an additional four hours on Accelerator-related work in weeks when the group is not meeting.
  • Participants embrace a culture of learning in a feedback-rich environment, ready to receive and provide feedback to/from peers, coaches and mentors.  



  • Submit the online application, which can be found here. Applications must be submitted through our website by Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 5:00pm PST.
  • We will notify you by email when we have received your application and will let you know if you’ve been selected into the program by Friday, September 29, 2017. We may request participation in follow-up conversations/activities prior to our final selection.
  • If you are accepted, you will be required to submit proof of tax-exempt status or fiscal sponsorship by no later than Friday, October 6, 2017, and cohort sessions will begin in mid-October.



Did you missed our informational webinar on Monday August 14th and have questions? We recorded the session to give you more information about the Accelerator Program, click the link below and have a listen — some of your questions may be answered there! 


CONTACT: Sharon Stratton | Email: sstratton@svpla.org | Phone: 310.305.1761


Apply for Accelerator