2021-2022 Fellows Announced for Social Innovation Accelerator | United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

Drumroll, Please: Announcing the 2021-2022 Fellows for the United Way Social Innovation Accelerator

At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, social innovation is an important part of the work we do. We’re constantly on the lookout for nonprofit and for-profit social ventures that take a creative new approach to long-standing challenges impacting North Texans in the areas of education, income and health.

Our original and premier social innovation program, the United Way Social Innovation Accelerator in collaboration with Accenture, encourages innovative solutions to social issues by providing entrepreneurs with funding, mentorship and community connections to grow their ventures and amplify their impact.

Since its creation in 2013, the Social Innovation Accelerator has invested nearly $5.8 million and approximately 5,000 mentoring hours in 54 North Texas social entrepreneurs. With the support of United Way’s community connections and credibility, these startup organizations have gone on to raise an additional $28.4 million, build 771 partnerships and receive national recognition.

As we continue to build on this success, we’re proud to announce the next cohort of fellows selected to participate in the Social Innovation Accelerator in collaboration with Accenture:

AES Literacy Institute

AES Literacy Institute helps North Texans 17 and older who did not graduate high school by offering a three- to six-month alternative program that allows them to earn their Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency. The institute also provides its participants and their families with a variety of wraparound and support services, including housing/utility assistance, transportation, mental health services, hygiene, groceries, technology distribution, college placement, and career training and referrals.

The Artist Outreach

The Artist Outreach (TAO) teaches academic concepts to early elementary students using creative arts-based activities. TAO’s STREAMliners Programs use drumming techniques and dance moves to help children understand language fluency and math concepts, ensuring students are prepared with subject proficiency.

Aspiratia Village

Aspiratia Village is a venture by Ark of Hope Inc., which seeks to end homelessness by providing chronically homeless individuals immediate access to safe, permanent housing and the opportunity to engage in collaborative community services that promote clinical and social stabilization. The overall goal of Aspiratia Village is to create an environment that allows residents to participate in a community setting that help them break the cycle of homelessness and increase their employment abilities and opportunities.

BT Foundry

BT Foundry is a nonprofit creative experience agency that provides real-world job experience and education in marketing and advertising through paid apprenticeships. The agency hires from communities that are typically underrepresented in the creative world, working to enhance diversity and inclusion in the field.

Combined Arms

Combined Arms connects veterans who are transitioning from military to civilian life with services, community and purpose. The nonprofit is part of The Texas Veterans Network, a statewide collaborative of veteran-serving community-based organizations and government agencies that has a full-time intake team on standby to assist veterans in navigating the resources available to them.

ESTe²M Builders

ESTe²M Builders’ mission is to educate, mentor and serve the community by providing quality education in science, technology, engineering, entrepreneurship and math (ESTe²M) all while building self-confidence in youth. By creating a “STe²Mulating” environment for knowledge acquisition, ESTe²M Builders serves as an interdisciplinary platform designed to develop confident, competent and creative explorers.

FEED Oak Cliff

FEED Oak Cliff is a nonprofit whose Transformative Community Market seeks to lift the physical, financial and entrepreneurial profile of food desert residents. The group is working to establish a community-based grocery store that will be the cornerstone of an innovative food-centered development consisting of a grab-and-go restaurant that will host classes on nutrition, health and entrepreneurship and serve as a community gathering place.

Veritas Impact Partners

Veritas Impact Partnes delivers the gift of health by addressing key barriers to health care access, including benefit literacy, technology/user challenges and customer engagement. Through its partnership with Teledoc and a specialized direct-to-resident approach, Veritas is able to surpass national trends on telehealth user activation.

Wesley-Rankin Aspiring Professionals

Wesley-Rankin Aspiring Professionals (WRAP) is a pre-apprenticeship program for high school students that addresses gaps in workplace readiness and low living wages using a four-part approach: technical instruction, soft skill coaching, financial support and literacy, and parent education. WRAP enables students to choose a career track in collision repair or finance or empowers them to use their skills to fund a college education.


Yumlish is creating an AI-powered cultural nutritional therapy solution for minorities with diabetes to address socioeconomic barriers to dietary adherence. Yumlish uses programs approved by the CDC and American Diabetes Association to help patients lose weight and lower their A1C levels, resulting in health cost savings.

What’s Next for the Fellows

In the coming months, the Social Innovation Accelerator fellows will go through an intensive bootcamp powered by Santander, with expert instruction that will help them refine their business plans and set milestone goals. They’ll also receive one-on-one mentoring and coaching from a team of Social Innovation Accelerator mentors.

Then, five of the 10 fellows will be selected to participate in The Pitch, our annual social innovation competition, where they will compete for tens of thousands of dollars in additional seed funding.

You’ll be seeing a lot more of these incredible organizations as they go through the Accelerator and compete for a spot at The Pitch. Stay tuned!

Support Social Innovation in North Texas

This is an exciting time to step up and be part of our region’s social innovation movement. Together, we create opportunities for all North Texans to thrive. Donate today to support our social innovation programs.

This article was published on: Jul 27, 2021