Winning Nonprofit Ideas at the Leading Change Summit, Idea Accelerator

Amy Sample Ward of NTEN and Emily Boylan Lonigro of LimeRed Studio get ready to announce the winning ideas at the 2014 Leading Change Summit, Idea Accelerator. Photo by NTEN on


Like all things, it started out small.

It was an idea that sparked after we at LimeRed experienced both the SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin, TX and the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington DC this past spring.

What we saw happening

We saw a lot of money and attention focused on for-profit tech startups at SXSW, some of which had a social mission. Not that thats bad on the whole its great but our friends in nonprofits are working on the same social issues without the opportunity to pitch, find funding and get attention. At the same time, we were also concerned that the pace at which ideas moved from inception to deliverable couldnt keep up with the private sector. We were worried that nonprofits, with their hearts in the game, would ultimately lose out on funding and talent to the sexier, faster tech companies.


We wanted to create an environment where nonprofits could invest time thinking about problems, make connections with others from other organizations, and shape their ideas into feasible, desirable, profitable, and viable products or services, ultimately benefiting their organizations and the communities they serve.

We contacted our friends at the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) with this idea and list of concerns and worked together to design and organize the first Idea Accelerator at the Leading Change Summit on September 6, 2014. A big thanks to NTEN for taking a chance on this idea.

Winning Ideas

We had a total of 24 amazing ideas, eight which moved to the final round. Three finalists brought home prizes from Microsoft, Pongos Interactive, Salesforce, NTEN and others. We donated a Fixie Dust consulting package.

Here are the three winning ideas at the 2014 Leading Change Summit Idea Accelerator.

First Prize Winner: Say This Not That by Yee Won Chong

Certain phrases (such as illegal aliens) and words (such as lame) have unintended harm. Political strategists coined terms to intentionally alienate, dehumanize, and degrade certain communities, and people. This platform will identify harmful phrases and words for you so you wont be part of the machine and perpetuate harm.

Second Prize Winner: Connections: Aged-Out Foster Kids and Caring Adults by Ann McAlpin

Kids in the foster care system turn 18, are declared “independent,” and are suddenly on their own; While in foster care they have a CASA advocate, after they “age out” advocates have no authority to stay in contact however kids can choose to stay in contact; We need a way to keep in touch with these kids to 1) point them to resources and 2) measure the results of your work.

Third Prize Winner: Campus Light by Ashish Sinha and Jeric Kison

Deploy a site facilitating peer 2 peer communication & resources for specific colleges, providing support for students struggling with depression & psychological disorders.


Many thanks to our friends at NTEN, All of our excellent coaches and of course all the participants of the Idea Acclerator. You all really made it happen! Hope to see you next year…

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