For leaders of employment-focused social enterprise who want to take their business to the next level, the REDF Accelerator is a unique, hands-on program that can help you get there. This program is designed specifically for businesses that are helping their employees overcome barriers and successfully transition into competitive, long-term employment through their social enterprise. The Accelerator is the only program of its kind focused on the challenge of successfully operating these type of unique double-bottom line businesses. In partnership with the Points of Light Civic Accelerator, Fellows receive expert guidance on core business competencies, employee support programs, and the opportunity to plug into a network of like-minded peers. To hear more about the experience from our alumni, click here to read their blogs.

Meet the 2019 REDF Accelerator Cohort:

East Coast
Alden Woodcock, EMERGE Connecticut, Inc., New Haven, CT
Dan Rhoton, Hopeworks GIS and Drone Services, Camden, NJ
Jerelyn Rodriguez, The Knowledge House, Bronx, NY
Justin Green, Big Reuse, Brooklyn, NY
David Lidz, Ladders To Leaders, Hagerstown, MD
Beth Rocca, Light House Bistro, Annapolis, MD

Aina Gutierrez, Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse, Evanston, IL
Matthew Cuff, Just Q'in BBQ, Cincinnati, OH

Deidra Kirtley, Take 2: A Resonance Cafe, Tulsa, OK

Karen Caldwell, Primavera Works, Tucson, AZ
Paige Pavalone, Missoula Works, Missoula, MT
Mark Smesrud, Purple Door Coffee, Denver, CO
Kathleen Foley-Hughes, Ada's Café, San Francisco, CA
Paul Fordham, Wagster Treats, Novato, CA
Yana Simone, New Earth Explore, Culver City, CA
Laura Tancredi-Baese, Home Start Thrift Boutique, San Diego, CA
Maria Lemus, Visión y Compromiso, El Cerrito, CA
Brent Hendricks, Global Neighborhood, Spokane, WA

Curriculum & Outcomes

The core curriculum focuses on the following key areas:
• Marketing, messaging & communication
• Strategic planning
• Operational & organizational analysis
• Goals, outcomes & metrics
• Financial planning
• Employee supports & workforce development
• Leadership skills & coaching others

The Accelerator also equips Fellows with the tools to:
• Improve strategic thinking and planning skills
• Diagnose and overcome challenges by applying a “growth mindset” approach
• Learn how to better identify and test assumptions
• Create a vision of impact to better align and execute on strategy
• Set bold goals and practice getting outside the “comfort zone”
• Connect with peers for future support, problem-solving, and sharing
• Identify and prioritize opportunities for growth on the business and program side of the enterprise
• Pitch for funding more effectively
• Expand local and national professional networks

By completing the REDF Accelerator, an enterprise becomes eligible to apply for REDF funding. Participation in the Accelerator does not automatically qualify the enterprise for funding through REDF.

Program Schedule

June 11, 2018 Application Opens
July 30, 2018 Application Closes
August, 2018 Follow-up with Applicants (as needed)
September, 2018 Selected Applicants Notified
November 6 – 9, 2018 Session 1 | Chicago
February 5 – 8, 2019 Session 2 | Los Angeles
April 30 – May 3, 2019 Session 3 | Nashville

Selection Criteria

To apply, the applicant and enterprise must meet the following criteria. If after reviewing this list, you still have questions about whether you are eligible, please contact us at

Applicant Eligibility
• Must be the operating head of an employment-focused social enterprise and have full decision-making authority over the enterprise.
• Willing to provide key data to REDF during and after the conclusion of the accelerator program. (This includes completion of the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative annual survey.)
• Must be a member of, REDF’s free practitioner platform. Not a member yet? Register here.

Enterprise Eligibility
• Can be a stand-alone enterprise or exist as a program that is part of a parent agency.
• Is in early or growth stage - revenue should be between $25K - $1M per year. If revenue is above or below this range, you’ll be asked to provide more detail as to why you believe this program is the right fit for the enterprise. For example:

- Revenue is currently $12K/year but there are active contracts that will bring the enterprise to $40K this fiscal year.
- Revenue is currently $1.2M/year, operating costs are high and the programmatic side of the enterprise is struggling since it lacks expertise in employee supports and workforce development.

• Currently employs REDF’s target population (histories of homelessness, incarceration, addiction, mental illness, opportunity youth) and pays wages that meet local minimum wage standards through a transitional jobs model.
• Located, and legally able to operate in the United States.

REDF will be evaluating applications on the following criteria:
Mission Alignment | The mission is aligned with REDF’s priority to support social enterprises that provide transitional employment for those with barriers to employment.
Leadership Fit | Demonstrated interest in being an active cohort participant to learn from, share with, and teach others. A commitment to consistently complete assignments to ensure maximum learning for the cohort.
Growth Plan Fit | A clear, comprehensive and realistic growth plan that offers a compelling vision based on feasibility, market need, and job-type fit for the population served.
Organizational Capacity | The enterprise is in an overall strong position – both operationally and financially – to build on what already exists and with the right support and resources, grow over the next 2-5 years.


REDF will provide accommodations and most meals for the duration of the in-person sessions:
• Chicago, IL | November 6 - 9, 2018
• Los Angeles, CA | February 5 – 8, 2019
• Nashville, TN | April 30 – May 3, 2019

Commitment Required
Fellows will sign an agreement that they accept the following requirements:
• Attendance at all sessions (including virtual) is mandatory. Note: All fellows must arrive the night before the start of each session.
• Completion of all data-gathering surveys from both REDF and the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative.
• Travel to and from each session is not covered by REDF. (A limited number of travel stipends are available – to be considered, complete the optional travel burden question in the application.)

Still have questions? Here’s a few more resources:
• Review our FAQs here.
Register for our informational webinar on July 20th.
• Email us at

The application is now closed.