Academy for Cause and Community Engagement Leadership

Recharge your fundraising and marketing with the Academy for Cause and Community Engagement Leadership (ACCEL). The Forbes Funds and The Benter Foundation are offering advanced courses to help Pittsburgh non-profit leaders drive increased awareness and build movements behind critical causes in our region. 

Level I:  Fundamentals Of Effective Marketing and Fundraising

Promote your cause with research-backed fundamentals needed for effective, donor-centric marketing and fundraising. Level 1 participants form a learning cohort to develop messaging, digital engagement, design, and multi-channel campaigns. 

Level I Course Dates

Full Day Course Sessions - September 9, September 25, October 7 from 9 AM to 3 PM

Cost:  $250 per participant. Lunch and refreshments included. 

 Apply to ACCEL Level I

Features - Team-Based, Experimental Learning | National & Local Case Studies for Application | Flash Advising by Instructor & Peer Mentoring | Resource Rich Participant Site: Templates, Recordings & Presentations | Graduates Eligible for Level 2: Movement Building Practices, and to Participate in ACCEL Executive Roundtables

Level II:  Movement Building Practices To Build Larger Constituencies

Build a movement behind your cause with peer mentoring and one-on-one coaching by instructor Derrick Feldmann. Using Level 1 fundraising fundamentals, Level 2 covers social movement theory, issue adoption and engagement, data and building movements. Prerequisite: Applicants are required to complete ACCEL (or Velocity) Level 1.

Level II Course Dates 

Full Course Prep - August 27 from 9 AM to 3 PM
Full Day Course Sessions - September 10 & September 26 from 9 AM to 4 PM, October 8 from 9 AM to 3 PM
Mentoring Sessions - September 10, September 26 from 3 PM to 4 PM
Wrap up session with Board Members - October 22 from 10 to 11:30 AM

Cost:  $1,000 per participant. Lunch and refreshments included. 

>  Apply to ACCEL Level II 

Features - Team-Based, Experimental Learning | National & Local Case Studies for Interactive Application | Coaching Hours & Peer Mentor Engagement | Resource Rich Participant Site: Templates, Recordings & Presentations | Graduates Eligible to Participate in ACCEL Salons

Apply to ACCEL

Application:  Login to the online grant system to apply to ACCEL Level I or Level II. Once logged in, click the apply button in the upper left-hand corner. Application deadline extended to July 26, 2019.

Location:  Course sessions take place at The Forbes Funds, 5 PPG Place, Suite 250, Pittsburgh PA 15222.

Scholarships and Credits: Participants may be eligible for professional development credits upon completion and a limited number of scholarships may be available. To request a scholarship, contact Jayme Holloway at 412-394-4271 or


ACCEL Participant Site

Access the Participant Site 
Access ACCEL Resources



"providing non-profits like Bike Pittsburgh access to national fundraising expertise...completely transformed my fundraising communications strategy."

"I learned strategies to take our marketing and fundraising to the next level. The best part? These were strategies specifically designed for non-profits. Non-profits who are short on staff and hours in a day."

"All of the guesswork we had, all of that throwing spaghetti against the wall, it was now gone. I had the opportunity instead to focus all of my effort on creating the best campaign possible with the tools they gave us."

"I learned... how to talk less about the non-profit and more about the people we serve."

"We raised $20,000 more during our year-end campaign compared to the year prior."

"I joined [a cohort] with little to no knowledge of the best fundraising tactics, and left with a clear strategy. This program works."