• When is the Eligibility Questionnaire due?

The Questionnaire must be submitted online, by Tuesday July 16th, 2019, 5:00pm PST.

  • How do you define ‘systems change’?

We define systems change as work that tackles the root causes of pressing social problems. As distinct from direct service work, systems change initiatives (1) acknowledge the complex, interrelated political/social/economic factors contributing to a social problem, and (2) seek to tackle the root causes of pressing social problems, creating change in underlying inequitable structures by shifting policies, processes, resources, and power structures. 

We acknowledge the spectrum of impact that social change initiatives lie on, and seek here to distinguish systems change work from direct service work, which serves individuals on a 1:1, direct basis to improve their wellbeing within a shorter or defined timeframe.

Questions you might ask yourself, to determine where on the spectrum of impact your initiative lies, include:

o   Have you made the problem go away temporarily, or forever?

o   Have you created local empowerment, or dependence on your model?

o   Have you set in motion new behaviors, norms, values, incentives in your model that renders your model unneeded over time? (Marina Kim, “Rethinking the Impact Spectrum.” Ashoka U, 2015.)

Below are examples of work that illustrates the difference between work that takes a systems change approach (tackling root causes), vs a direct service approach (addressing symptoms).

  • I am not a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit entity, and/or I don’t have a fiscal sponsor. Can I still apply?

Unfortunately, only IRS-designated 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, or initiatives with a fiscal sponsor are eligible to apply for the Accelerator. If you are a 501(c)3 nonprofit entity, ensure that you have a Letter of Determination from the IRS affirming your organization’s tax exempt status. Learn more at the IRS website.

If you’d like to learn more about fiscal sponsorship, visit the National Council of Nonprofits.

  • What happens at the in person Applicant Workshop? Do I have to attend?

SVPLA will review all Eligibility Questionnaire submissions, and invite only eligible candidates to attend an Applicant Workshop.

Thee Applicant Workshop is offered on two dates; invited candidates will be required to attend only one: Thursday, August 1st, 10am - 4pm or Tuesday, August 6th, 10am - 4pm.

We acknowledge the time, resources, and effort that nonprofit organizations invest in completing funding applications. Our intention is to reduce barriers to applying for the program, to honor the investment of time and resources that nonprofits expend seeking funding, and to offer a value-add component to the Accelerator selection process.

The Workshop is hands on and interactive, allowing candidates to experience an Accelerator workshop firsthand. It’s an opportunity for candidates and SVP to get to know each other, to get a deeper understanding of the systemic change candidates seek to create, and to determine whether the program will be a fit for both parties.

Candidates will engage in collaborative exercises with their teammates, walking away with tangible tools to help clarify the problem they’re tackling and to create a strategy roadmap. SVP Partners and Staff will serve as facilitators and coaches throughout the workshop. After the workshop, SVP will invite shortlisted candidates to interview for a spot on the Accelerator program.

  • I will miss one of the program dates, can I still apply?

Selected candidates are required to participate all program dates outlined here. If you know in advance that you will miss one or more of the sessions, please email before submitting the Eligibility Questionnaire.

  • I am not an Executive Director, can I apply?

The individual participating in the Accelerator on behalf of their organization must hold the title of Executive Director, CEO, or equivalent position with significant organization-wide 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. If you are not the Executive Director, CEO, or equivalent, we recommend you get in touch before submitting the Eligibility Questionnaire - email

  • How much does it cost to participate?

There is no cost to participate in the program, thanks to the generous support of our sponsors and Partners.

See the Program Overview and Eligibility Criteria here, and submit the Eligibility Quiz here by Tuesday July 16th, 2019, 5:00pm PST.


We welcome you to email us if you have any questions about eligibility, program participation requirements, or the application.

CONTACT: Sharon Stratton, Social Venture Partners | Email: