Social Impact Accelerator: Chapter Launchpad


Program Dates: January - June 2021
Location: Online training and local team projects
Application Deadline: December 6, 2020

The application for the Spring 2021 accelerator will open on October 1, 2020.

The Social Impact Accelerator is designed for aspiring social impact leaders who are poised to take their ideas for a better world and push them forward. We are looking for individuals and teams who have big ideas and who will benefit from joining a community that will support their growth and are excited about learning about new tools and resources.


What is the Chapter Accelerator?

Chapters will become the foundation of community-based programming and act as “hubs” in the greater VIA ecosystem. They connect aspiring social impact leaders with peers and local organizations and become a launchpad for action. The Accelerator is a 6-month training program for new chapter leadership teams. The Accelerator includes virtual trainings with other chapter teams across Asia and the US, independent team projects, and an in-person training sprint session. The Accelerator will culminate in a conference with other chapter representatives, where everyone will share about their community, projects, and impact. Through the Accelerator chapter leaders will receive training and guidance from VIA staff on how to design their chapter, identify their community and project goals, recruit members, create events, workshops, and programs, and implement impact evaluation. Chapter leaders will also act as peer mentors and thought partners with other members of the Accelerator cohort.

Why Start a Chapter?

To connect with passionate peers across the world, make a positive impact in your community, take action to support sustainable development, and learn VIA’s unique approach to experiential learning to inspire and train others.

What does it take to start a chapter?

  • Logistics
    • At least three leaders per chapter
    • Chapter leaders are in the same geographic area and able to meet regularly (in-person or online)
    • Each leader can commit at least three hours per week to participate in accelerator activities and attend monthly virtual all-cohort meetings
  • Interests
    • Interest in VIA’s mission and approach to experiential learning (experience with VIA is beneficial)
    • Interest in addressing local challenges related to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
    • Interest in developing leadership, facilitation, and collaboration skills
    • Interest in collaborating locally, internationally, and across disciplines
  • Abilities
    • Demonstrated experience or strong potential as a collaborative leader
    • Demonstrated experience or strong potential to create buy-in and inspire a shared vision with collaborators
    • Demonstrated experience or strong potential to actively recruit and involve others, including individuals and potential partner organizations
    • Comfortable with learning, discussing, and presenting in English

Click on the text or (+) symbol of the blue bars below to learn more!

Chapter leaders receive:

  • Training and support from VIA staff and advisors
  • Coaching in team-building and chapter development
  • Peer mentorship from other chapter leadership teams
  • Access to an online platform and training resources
  • Opportunity to apply for a travel grant to attend an in-person network conference in Asia, covering most transportation, lodging, and meal costs (in-person conference will only be held if it is safe to travel)
  • Post-accelerator project support

Chapter leaders contribute:

  • Enthusiasm and commitment to launching a chapter community that will thrive and grow to act as a “hub” in the international VIA ecosystem
  • Peer support for other chapter leadership teams
  • At least three hours per week for chapter development, February – June 2020 (spring cohort) / July – December (summer cohort)

Meet some of the past accelerator teams that have launched their own social impact initiatives around the world!


Educatalyst envisions the Philippine youth to be more globally-minded, culturally aware, and socially responsible. We want to create opportunities for more Filipino junior high school students to have global learning experiences that help them develop 21st-century skills such as global awareness, cultural competence, and social responsibility. We will do this through experiential learning programs, such as a 10-day immersive trip to nearby Japan. View Educatalyst’s Accelerator Speaker Series presentation.

“VIA taught me a lot about project management, cross-cultural collaboration, and leadership for impact. I enjoyed working through small assignments, supported by a wonderful global team of facilitators, to come up with concrete plans for action. I’m excited to bring our project to life!” – Hannah To, Founder

“The accelerator has helped me grow from a social development standpoint as well as personally. I have no direct experience prior but through training, modules, and seminars – we are able to see the importance of a carefully planned social innovation project. It has also helped me grow personally. Seeing other people from other countries (from other teams) work on relevant social issues energizes me to keep pushing for changes in my home country, Philippines.” – Sergius Angelo Santos, Founder


Nexplore is a social enterprise established for the reason to let people understand more about social issues and be willing to become a social changemaker, starting with doing simple things for their society. Connect with Nexplore on Facebook.

“To be a part of the accelerator, I love how we gathered and shared passion and experience from each person. Those storytellings inspired and provoked me to think of how far I’ve been through on this journey and how I’m going to grow up.” – Weerawat Mongkolchoste (Earth), Founder

Application Period

  • December 6 – Application Deadline
  • December 7 – January 8 – Application Review & Team Discovery Calls
  • January 11 – Selection Results
  • January 18 – Teams confirm intent to participate

Accelerator Course*

Spring Cohort

  • January – Initial Orientation Activities
  • February – Team-building
    • Themes: leadership, team structures
  • March – Communication
    • Themes: Interpersonal communication, conflict management and constructive problem-solving
  • April – Ideation & Needfinding
    • Themes: UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs), objective analysis
  • May – Project Development
    • Themes: Theory of Change and project development frameworks
  • June – Conference Prep
    • Themes: Defining learning outcomes and facilitation

Summer Cohort

  • July – Initial Orientation Activities
  • August – Team-building
    • Themes: leadership, team structures
  • September – Communication
    • Themes: Interpersonal communication, conflict management and constructive problem-solving
  • October – Ideation & Needfinding
    • Themes: UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs), objective analysis
  • November – Project Development
    • Themes: Theory of Change and project development frameworks
  • December – Synthesis
    • Themes: Defining learning outcomes and facilitation
  • January – Network Conference

*The accelerator course will include monthly synchronous online sessions with the entire cohort and individual team assignments through an online platform. Originally, the accelerator was also designed to include a local in-person ‘sprint’ session with an advisor and participation in the network conference, but in light of the global pandemic, these in-person activities will be implemented only if and when it is safe to do so.

Virtual Meeting Schedule

Meeting US Pacific Coast Japan China / Philippines / Singapore Thailand / Indonesia (Jakarta) Myanmar
Discovery Calls December 7 – January 8 December 8 – January 9 December 8 – January 9 December 8 – January 9 December 8 – January 9
All-cohort Call 1 Jan 29 @ 5PM Jan 30 @10AM Jan 30 @ 9AM Jan 30 @ 8AM Jan 30@ 7:30 AM
All-cohort Call 2 Feb 19 @ 5PM Feb 20@10AM Feb 20 @ 9AM Feb 20 @ 8AM Feb 20@ 7:30 AM
All-cohort Call 3 Mar 12 @ 5PM Mar 13@10AM Mar 13 @ 9AM Mar 13 @8AM Mar 13 @ 7:30 AM
All-cohort Call 4 Apr 9 @ 6PM Apr 10 @10AM  Apr 10 @ 9AM  Apr 10 @8AM Apr 10@ 7:30 AM
All-cohort Call 5 May 21 @ 6PM May22@10AM May 22 @9AM May 22 @8AM May 22@ 7:30 AM
Speakers Series Events June 18- 26 @ TBD June 19- 27 @ TBD June 19- 27 @ TBD June 19- 27 @ TBD June 19- 27 @ TBD

Online Application

Part 1: Personal Information

  • Full name
  • Contact information
  • Current city of residence
  • Current occupation
  • VIA experience (if applicable)

Part 2: Deeper Questions

  • Why do you want to become a chapter leader?
  • Please describe your relevant experience, including experience working with a team.
  • What is your potential vision for this chapter? What do you hope the chapter will accomplish?
  • Chapters will work to address the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs) within local communities. Please describe your interest and / or experience with the SDGs. Which are you most interested in addressing in your community?
  • If you already have potential team members, please list their names. Each team member must complete their own application.

Discovery Calls

  • Selected teams will be invited to a discovery call with VIA staff. The goal of the discovery call is to get to know you and your project better, and also give you an opportunity to get a better sense of what to expect during the accelerator. Part of the discovery call will be a discussion about sustainability. The purpose of this discussion is for us to get a sense of your current understanding and thoughts on sustainability, and how it relates to your project.

Ready to get started on your application? Click the blue APPLY button!

Frequently Asked Questions

How will chapter leadership teams be selected?

VIA will select chapter leaders based on their experience, qualifications, vision for the chapter, and potential to build a resilient chapter community that will continue to grow. It is possible that not all applicants from the same area will be selected as leaders for the first round, but all applicants will have the opportunity to join the chapter as members.

How long will leaders serve?

We expect the initial leadership team to participate in the accelerator for 6 months, followed by serving one year as a leader. After the one-year term, team leaders should decide if they want to continue, or transition to new leadership members. There is no “term limit” for leaders.

Is there a participant age limit?

No, we do not have a participant age limit. We have participants that are in university, graduate school, that have just started working, and others that have been working for some time.

Who is best suited to join the accelerator?

We are looking for people who desire to make an impact on your community and who have the time to participate in the accelerator. We also ask that participants are comfortable communicating (reading, writing, listening and speaking) in English. However, you do not need to have perfect English.

Do team members need to be VIA alumni?

No, you do not have to be a VIA alumni. We welcome everyone to apply.

Do I need to have experience with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to participate? 

No, you do not need to have experience with SDGs to participate. However, we encourage you to explore the topic of sustainability if you are interested in applying to the accelerator. Visit the United Nations website to learn more about the SDGs.

Should I have a project idea before joining?

You do not need to have a fully developed project idea, but you should have an idea of the kind of impact you want to make on your community. The accelerator program will help you and your team develop your idea.

What is the time commitment?

You should expect to spend an average of 3-5 hours per week on accelerator assignments and team meetings.

How many teams are accepted from each country?

We don’t limit teams by country. We will only accept 5-6 teams in total. If you are from the same country and your team has a project goal that is similar to another team, we might ask you to consider joining each other. However, we do try to have a diverse representation of countries and project themes.