You should be able to answer “yes” to the following questions before you apply:

  • Is your venture registered in the U.S.? Our current focus is on supporting U.S.-based start-ups, both for-profit and nonprofit, though your customer or user base can be anywhere in the world. We hope to expand our scope in future years to support global entrepreneurs. Learn more about our global work here.
  • Are you developing new pathways to increase access to economic opportunity for all?
  • Are you launching a “civic venture?” Does your startup achieve a social or environmental mission by engaging people as a core part of the solution? 
  • Are you in the startup phase? We do not select ventures at the idea stage. You should have a prototype or have completed a pilot program prior to applying.
  • Have you recruited a minimum of two to three people to join your team? We believe that most successful startups are not the product of a lone entrepreneur, but rather the collective work of small teams. We will consider teams of two or more people and are very reluctant to accept one-person startups.
  • If your venture is a nonprofit, have you developed a means to generate earned revenue? We are interested in nonprofits that plan to supplement traditional grant and sponsorship revenues with earned revenue models.
  • Is your venture a social enterprise? A social enterprise is an organization that applies business strategies to achieving social or environmental goals and can be structured as a for-profit or nonprofit.
  • If accepted, will you be able to attend the entire Civic Accelerator program? To be eligible, at least one of your team members must be able to attend each of the three sessions.
  • .


  • If your venture does not answer or address the Fall 2014 Challenge.
  • Your venture is past the startup phase. We typically define startup as less than five years old, and still experimenting with models for scalable and repeatable growth.
  • Your venture does not leverage people as a core part of the solution. Points of Light is the largest service and civic engagement organization in the world, and thus, our focus is on supporting early-stage startups who believe in putting people at the center of change.
  • Your proposal is for a faith-based initiative. We do not support ventures that are aligned with a specific religious institution or have been established to promote a specific faith.
  • You have no track record of raising or generating revenue.
  • Your venture is grounded in or focused on a specific political agenda or party. Points of Light has a 20-year history and bipartisan presidential support.

We are now accepting applications for the Civic Accelerator program. Apply today!  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.