On April 22, I had the distinct honor of competing in The Pitch, the final phase of the United Way of Metro Dallas (UWMD) Social Innovation Accelerator. While Dwell with Dignity didn’t manage to secure the big win, we were thrilled to have come this far alongside so many incredible organizations making a difference in the Dallas community—including Cornbread Hustle, The Welman Project, To Be Like Me, and Trusted World. Special congratulations are in order for Cornbread Hustle and The Welman Project, who both took home big prizes!
The Social Innovation Accelerator brings together 10 local organizations for a three-part program, which consists of an eight-week bootcamp for business planning, a four-month mentor accelerator with local business leaders, and finally a two-part pitch competition sponsored by AT&T and Accenture. Those who make it to the final round are eligible to win up to $200,000 in funding prizes. Dwell with Dignity previously won a $25,000 capital investment through the program in January, when my pitch advanced us to the final five.
Closing the chapter on our Social Innovation Accelerator experience feels bittersweet. On one hand, we’ll miss collaborating with our mentors and the many amazing individuals we’ve met through the program. On the other hand, we’ve gained so much from this experience that it feels like it’s just the beginning of our journey.
UWMD has helped us improve operationally, dream bigger, and gain some much-needed funding. Although Dwell with Dignity didn’t win in the end, our mission goes on—and while we may not achieve our goals as quickly, we have full confidence that we will get there. In fact, we’re already executing on many of the ideas gleaned from this experience: Our Diversity In Design initiative, which features talented designers of color at Thrift Studio Live, is one such idea.
I’d like to extend a special shoutout to Jamey Applegate, Senior Director of Innovation at UWMD. Jamey goes above and beyond running the Social Innovation Accelerator. He took a special interest in me and Dwell with Dignity, personally investing his expertise and goodwill to support our mission. Jamey has a remarkable capacity to nurture organizations in a way that inspires both innovation and compassion.
For a company focused on social impact, this truly was the opportunity of a lifetime. We’re still processing all the ways it was such a great experience. I look forward to serving the program in an alumni role and advising other social innovation enterprises in the future.
Thank you to the United Way of Metro Dallas for believing in our mission, and thank you to our fellow cohort members for all they do in the Dallas community. It is an honor and a privilege to stand among social impact powerhouses. If you’d like to learn more about the Social Innovation Accelerator, visit unitedwaydallas.org/accelerator. As for Dwell with Dignity, we’re feeling energized and working harder than ever to achieve our mission of transforming lives through design.