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Accelerating Black Male Achievement

The following post is by Zeina Fayyaz, Program Manager, Social Innovation Forum & Social Innovation Accelerator at Root Cause.


  • Are you a leader in an organization or program/initiative with strong results?
  • Do you have the passion and potential to be a national leader in your work to improve the life outcomes of black men and boys?
  • Do you possess the social entrepreneurial spirit of a Geoff Canada, Bill Strickland, or Van Jones?

If you answered “yes” or know someone who can answer “yes” to the above, apply now (or nominate someone) to become a part of the Leadership & Sustainability Institute’s 2013-2014 Black Male Achievement Social Innovation Accelerator.


Since its inception in 2003, Root Cause’s Social Innovation Forum has helped dozens of Greater Boston area nonprofits advance their promising new approaches to social problems. Over the course of an 18-month capacity-building program—including consulting, coaching, and connections to donors—the Social Innovation Forum dramatically accelerates an organization’s rate of growth. Over the last six years, the average Social Innovator has experienced significantly greater revenue growth per year than the average nonprofit in Massachusetts and nationwide. On a broader level, the Social Innovation Forum works to create a “social impact market” that distributes resources to organizations based on performance in order to most efficiently and effectively solve social problems in Greater Boston. The ultimate goal of the Social Innovation Forum is to bring donors together to invest and re-invest resources in innovative, results-oriented nonprofits.

Now in its 10th year of operation, the Social Innovation Forum is a proven model with admirers and adopters across the country.

The Black Male Achievement Social Innovation Accelerator (the “Accelerator”)—modeled after the successes of the Social Innovation Forum—was launched on a national scale last week.

The Accelerator is a key strategy of the Leadership & Sustainability Institute for Black Male Achievement (the “LSI”) to provide capacity building and showcase and spread what works by selecting and supporting a cohort of five Black Male Achievement Social Innovators.

The Leadership & Sustainability Institute for Black Male Achievement (LSI) is a national membership network launched by Open Society Foundations Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA)—along with support from The California Endowment, The Heinz Endowments, Knight Foundation, Mitchell Kapor Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Skillman Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Casey Family Programs—to ensure the growth, sustainability, and impact of leaders and organizations across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors committed to improving the life outcomes of black men and boys through systemic change. Root Cause is co-leading the LSI’s implementation, along with our partner, PolicyLink.

Like the Social Innovation Forum, the Accelerator will provide capacity building, connections, and showcasing to a cohort of Social Innovators. However, the Accelerator will select leaders who have shown tangible results in improving the life outcomes of black men and boys and who have the passion and potential to increase their national leadership and impact. The BMA Social Innovators will be selected from nine LSI cities (Baltimore, MD; Detroit, MI; Fresno, CA; Jackson, MS; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Oakland, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA) across four target impact areas (Attain Education Equity, Expand Work Opportunities, Strengthen Family Structures, Promote Positive Frames and Messages). The BMA Social Innovators will receive more than $150,000 in capacity-building support and coaching over 12 months, be connected and showcased to funders, and become national leaders in the field of black male achievement.

If the reputation and longevity of Root Cause’s Social Innovation Forum is any indication, the Black Male Achievement Social Innovation Accelerator will be a hugely successful program. The Accelerator is accepting applications now through Friday, April 5, 2013. To request a link to the application, please complete the short online nomination form.

For more information, please consult our Applicant Guide. Any specific questions may be directed to Zeina Fayyaz, Accelerator manager, at or 617.649.1518.

As the Program Manager for Root Cause's Social Innovation Forum, Zeina oversees the department's day-to-day operations, which vary widely depending on the time of year. She is Program Manager for the Social Innovation Accelerator of the Leadership and Sustainability Institute, a national initiative to bolster the efforts of advocates and organizations working to improve the life outcomes of black males in the U.S. In this role, Zeina applies lessons learned from Root Cause's Social Innovation Forum to a national concern and an emerging field, that of black male achievement. Zeina first joined Root Cause in 2009 as a Social Innovation Forum Program Assistant and transitioned to her current role within the Social Innovation Forum in June 2010. She began her work with the Leadership and Sustainability Institute in October 2012. Zeina holds a B.A. from Harvard College where she majored in History, minored in Psychology, and spent a semester abroad in Cuba.

Topics: Nonprofit Programs