General Questions



What is EmPOWERED To Serve™?

EmPOWERED To Serve (ETS) is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s multicultural program and movement developed to build a sustainable culture of health in diverse communities across America and encourage more people to get involved in their communities. ETS is designed to leverage the American Heart Association’s 2020 impact goal, improving health outcomes and reducing the gap in health disparities among minorities.

Why is the American Heart Association launching this accelerator?

There are many factors that affect a person’s health, including community environments. People living just five miles apart can have a difference in life expectancy by more than 20 years. Thus, the American Heart Association is working in communities and joining with alliances to address key factors that impact health and wellbeing: economic stability, education, societal influences, neighborhoods and healthcare. The accelerator is an opportunity for community-focused companies, organizations and individuals to activate critical projects that will positively impact urban community health. The overarching goals are to increase healthy living behaviors, enhance the chain of survival and cultivate community transformation.


The American Heart Association is a large organization with considerable funding. Why is it relying on external businesses, individuals and organizations to assist in this effort?

To affect meaningful change in the communities the Association serves, we understand that we must collaborate with and value the knowledge of organizations and individuals who have deep community connections. Tapping into and providing resources to community talent will give us the best opportunity to work together to devise solutions to address the social determinants of health.

Urban Accelerator Guidelines & Expectations


Will you accept multiple companies or startups working on the same idea?

Yes. Because most big markets have room for several slightly different solutions, and it's unlikely that two startups would do precisely the same thing. If there are two teams working on related ideas, we won’t talk to one about what the other's doing.

We've already been working on our project for a while. Is the Urban Health Accelerator appropriate for us?

Absolutely. This process will help sharpen and expand what you’ve started.


Who can enter?

You can enter as an individual or as a team. You can be at the idea stage, a start-up or an established company. You can enter your non-profit organization. There are no restrictions on the amount of revenue you have earned.


How is the Accelerator Organized?

The Accelerator consists of 6 weeks of coaching and training for topics that include digital marketing, messaging, market segmentation, customer discovery, brand experience and brand storytelling. The coaching and training will be delivered primarily through phone and/or video conferencing. Combining both individual work, coaching and video conference clinics, each team can expect to spend a minimum of 6-10 hours per week. Each team will receive over $50,000 worth of training, coaching, direct access to industry experts and pr/media exposure.

Impact Project Expectations & Milestones


Our group has two ideas. Can we submit two applications?

We don't recommend it. You should pick your favorite idea and apply with that one.


What We're Looking For:

A clear understanding of the issues facing the communities you wish to have your ideas implemented. Authenticity, passion and clarity of scope about your concept and why you want it to work. Community impact projects that are submitted must target the needs of a specific community and be clear about how your company can implement the project successfully.

Showcase Night Event Logistics and Expo

Will the American Heart Association cover travel costs?

You are responsible for organizing your travel to The EmPOWERED to Serve Summit in Baltimore, Maryland. However, we will cover the costs for one room for you and a guest to share. Your team will also receive one meal from the Summit’s events menu.


What key attributes will the judges be considering during the Showcase Event?

The judging panel will review several factors when selecting the candidates that have advanced to share their stories onstage. They will take into consideration the following attributes:

  • How well does the business model/concept address social determinants of health?
  • Does the concept have the potential to grow? Can it be easily introduced into other communities?
  • Does the candidate clearly define what success looks like and how the grant will be managed?
  • Does the competitor exude passion and enthusiasm about their concept and its potential impact?

Funding Requirements and Milestones


How does the funding works if our team wins a grant?

50% of the grant money will be awarded after the night of the EmPOWERED to Serve Summit, once the contract is signed. The remaining 50% will be released after 60 days pending verification that the proposed model has been implemented and is delivering results.





Do You Have Questions about the Accelerator?

We're happy to answer any and all of your questions:

General Questions:

Michelle Rafael
Christa Chambers-Price

PR/Media Questions:

Marissa Alanis
Toiya Honore