Greater Twin Cities United Way is proud to foster sustainability and equity in our community. This year, we have an exciting announcement—the creation of our Community Impact Accelerator, a program to equip and empower local nonprofits to bring innovative initiatives and projects to life through funding and expert consulting. This initiative is in partnership with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG,) a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy.
This first-ever initiative evolved from conversations between BCG and Greater Twin Cities United Way- in alignment with the United Way’s new long-range plan, the organization is seeking ways to increase collaboration and innovation. With an increasing Minneapolis presence, BCG is seeking more ways to connect with the greater Twin Cities community. The two organizations recognized an opportunity to provide a unique way to benefit local nonprofits not only with funding, but with consulting support to promote growth and success, and the Community Impact Accelerator was born.
“We can’t expect nonprofit organizations to be agile, change, and innovate if we are not doing that ourselves, as well as creating funding to support these things,” said Leslie Wright, Director of Community Engagement, Community Impact, at Greater Twin Cities United Way. “This is something people want to see- the community being empowered to solve its own problems.”
“We are very excited about increasing the ways in which we contribute to the community,” said Jennifer Bratton, Senior Partner & Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group. “BCG has participated in similar programs around the world, so there was a natural synergy to join efforts and partner with Greater Twin Cities United Way.”
Applications open today, June 5, and close on July 12. Applicants must be United Way funded nonprofit partners who operate within the nine-county metro area with annual operating budgets over $250,000. Criteria for consideration include equity, long-term mindset, innovation, social impact, economic sustainability, and scalability.
“There are very few nonprofit or government philanthropic grants that are available for innovation,” said Wright. “The Community Impact Accelerator is a way to give nonprofits the tools they need to launch brilliant ideas they otherwise may not.”
After July 12, the applicant pool will be narrowed down to 6-8 semifinalists, and ultimately, 3 finalists. The finalists will present their project or initiative in person at Greater Twin Cities United Way’s Together We Thrive event on October 25.
“The three companies chosen to join us at United Forward will have the opportunity to get on stage and share their vision, impact, and needs to an audience of top philanthropists in the Twin Cities, which is a unique opportunity,” said Bratton.
At the event, a third place, second place, and first place finalist will be chosen. Third place will be awarded $15,000, second place $35,000, and first place $75,000. The first place finalist will also receive individualized consulting from BCG tailored specifically to their project’s needs.
“BCG has a wide range of expertise across numerous topics, including go-to market and digital strategy, financial and talent planning, organizational design, sales and marketing, operational efficiency, and customer segmentation,” said Bratton. “Where we add the most value is challenging established thinking to drive transformation. We look forward to bringing an outside perspective to help the winner improve and innovate to drive success.”
Greater Twin Cities United Way has high hopes for year one of the Community Impact Accelerator, as well as other future for-profit sector partnerships that encourage innovation and collaboration.
“The creation of the Community Impact Accelerator will benefit the community for years to come,” said Wright. “We hope it becomes a launching pad for success.”