Innovating for the Greater Good
Our overall mission is to improve access to education, income and health—key areas that we have identified as the building blocks of opportunity in North Texas. One of the ways United Way works toward our goals is by embracing social innovation: the practice of finding new and innovative solutions for long-standing community problems that are more effective, efficient, sustainable or just than current solutions.
“Our focus on social innovation enables us to tap into the most effective new ideas for creating positive change in our region,” said Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “Through social innovation initiatives like the Social Innovation Accelerator and The Pitch, we’re able to continue our nearly 100-year legacy of uniting the community around a common goal: a North Texas where everyone has the opportunity and access to thrive.”
The Social Innovation Accelerator in collaboration with Accenture is one of the United Way programs that encourages the creation and growth of innovative new solutions to community issues in education, income and health. Each year, we select a group of social entrepreneurs whose organizations advance progress toward our Aspire United 2030 community impact goals. Each class of Social Innovation Accelerator fellows receives seed funding, boot camp-style training and professional mentoring from United Way.
At the end of the months-long Social Innovation Accelerator program, we choose five of the fellows to move on to The Pitch, a live event where they pitch their ideas to strengthen education, income and health to a live virtual audience and a panel of judges who are leaders in the local business, innovation and philanthropy communities.
Since its creation in 2013, the Social Innovation Accelerator has invested nearly $6.1 million in funding, training and mentoring for 64 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 $30.1 million, build more than 800 partnerships, receive national recognition and impact more than 150,000 North Texans.
“All aspects of our community—corporate, philanthropic, government and the public—must work together to ensure everyone has the opportunity to thrive,” said Charlene Lake, chief sustainability officer and senior vice president of corporate social responsibility at AT&T, and chair of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Board. “Programs like the Social Innovation Accelerator and The Pitch are driving lasting change by activating the solutions of incredible entrepreneurs who have their finger on the pulse of what it will take to ensure the people in their communities can live their very best lives.”
In addition to AT&T and Accenture, other sponsors of the event include The Eugene McDermott Foundation, Santander, Vistra, Sara and Gary Ahr, Charles Schwab, United Way Teens United, SVP Dallas, PNC, The Hoglund Foundation, The Moozie Foundation, Carol and Kevin March and the March Tocqueville Fellows, Scott and Melanie Schoenvogel, and Toyota.
“At Accenture, we aspire to make a positive impact in the communities where we live and work, and we believe that everyone should have an opportunity to succeed,” Corral said. “When we work together as a community, we can have a bigger impact. That’s why we partnered with United Way to grow the Social Innovation Accelerator, with both financial support and our Accenture team’s time and talent. It has been inspiring to see the program grow so significantly over the years, helping make North Texas a better, more equitable place for everyone.”
Chow added, “Social innovation brings an entrepreneurial mindset to community impact work, and it can be a powerful tool for change. AT&T, as well as a growing number of other business leaders, recognizes the incredible potential of social innovation. That’s why we make it a priority to invest in programs like The Pitch, which helps social entrepreneurs to exponentially grow their footprint and expand their impact here in North Texas. The result is improved access to education, income and health for our neighbors, and an even better community for us all.”
Invest in Social Innovation with Us
Programs like the Social Innovation Accelerator and The Pitch represent a huge investment of time and resources in organizations that directly benefit our North Texas neighbors. Since the start of the program in 2013, Accelerator alumni have gone on to positively impact more than 150,000 people right here in North Texas.
You can help us deepen the impact of our social innovation initiatives and change even more lives—not only for local entrepreneurs, but for thousands of North Texans. By investing in social innovation, you’ll help ensure we can identify and amplify the next big innovation in education, income or health. Join us in supporting this important work today.
This article was published on: Apr 13, 2022