June 14, 2021
Accenture Announces U.S. Innovation Challenge Winner
Cornell University students’ initiative to help Covenant House address youth homelessness
ARLINGTON, Va.; June 14, 2021 – A team of undergraduate students from Cornell University has won the 2021 U.S. Accenture Innovation Challenge. This year’s Challenge partner was Covenant House, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving children and youth facing homelessness.
Student teams developed proposals to help break the cycle for youth experiencing homelessness following their departure from Covenant House transitional housing. The winning team from Cornell University was selected following a competitive application process from more than 1,300 student applicants and three rounds of competition over the winter semester. Fifty-nine student teams from undergraduate campuses and diversity partner programs across the United States participated.
The winning team’s solution, entitled Pathways to Destiny, designed a platform to connect youth exiting the Covenant House program with peer coaches and alumni to extend the continuum of care. The team’s solution also includes a strategy for building a peer coach pipeline by offering interested, exiting youth the opportunity to train as peer coach advisors and begin to build a career in social work. The proposal also entails feedback loops to help inform Covenant House’s long-term care program and post-exit coaching.
“This year’s Challenge looks to help homeless youth develop pathways to employment and in turn safety and stability,” said Marty Rodgers, senior managing director of Accenture’s U.S. south region. “Over two million kids a year in America – more than 30,000 on any given night – experience homelessness. It’s a tragedy and we can and must do better. On behalf of Accenture, I am proud to congratulate the winning ‘Big Red’ Cornell team for doing well and doing good and working so hard to create an innovative solution to help advance Covenant House’s mission and the youth they serve.”
“The Accenture Innovation Challenge is everything that is right about collaboration and partnership,” said Covenant House president & CEO Kevin Ryan. “It is young people working together to empower each other and, through their own creativity, forging new ways to pursue the great promise of their lives. We are so grateful to all the young people who shared their time and talent for this initiative, and to our partners at Accenture for the many ways they continue to make a difference in the lives of the resilient young people experiencing homelessness at Covenant House.”
Launched in 2012, the Accenture Innovation Challenge is an annual case competition providing college students from across the United States an opportunity to offer ideas and solutions to support a priority goal of a nonprofit organization.
Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries, we offer Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology and Operations services — all powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. Our 537,000 people deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. We embrace the power of change to create value and shared success for our clients, people, shareholders, partners and communities. Visit us at www.accenture.com.
About Covenant House
Young people facing homelessness deserve the chance to grow into their potential. In 31 cities across six countries, Covenant House provides a safe place to sleep, high-quality programs and services, and the promise of unconditional love, absolute respect, and unrelenting support, so they can achieve their dreams. Visit us at www.covenanthouse.org.
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