The University of Chicago launched the Community Programs Accelerator in 2014, in response to requests from community residents and organizations that were seeking support in developing programs to meet community needs.
Since then, the accelerator has committed more than $500,000 in grants and internship funds and provided office space, training, or student and faculty support to more than 200 community-based nonprofits. The accelerator is open to organizations at various stages, including startups in need of incubation, existing nonprofits looking to grow, and established organizations seeking to expand their programs to the mid-South Side. It is one of a broader set of UChicago initiatives to foster leadership and strengthen capacity among individuals, organizations, and businesses in Chicago. Others include the Civic Leadership Academy, UChicago Local, and Chicago Urban League’s IMPACT, a partnership with Chicago Booth School of Business.
The Community Programs Accelerator provides mid-South Side nonprofits with three levels of support: comprehensive capacity building, including funding; project-based resources; and educational workshops. The accelerator also provides opportunities for UChicago students to engage with local nonprofits and enhance their educational experience both inside and outside the classroom. In turn, local organizations gain valuable training and support from University students, including through internships.
In 2017, the accelerator launched a new Faculty Initiatives Program. The inaugural faculty projects selected are the South Side Home Movie Project, led by Jacqueline Stewart, professor in the department of cinema and media studies; and the Mid-South Side Chicago Stroke Education Project, led by Agnieszka Ardelt, MD, PhD, FAHA, associate professor of neurology and surgery, director of Neurosciences Critical Care, and co-director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at UChicago Medicine.
Hyde Park Jazz Festival