EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator™ Faith-Based

Watch the finale as we celebrate institutions and innovators of faith who’ve been on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis

The American Heart Association aligns with faith-based communities to improve health and empower sustainable outcomes.

$105K in grant funding opened up to communities of faith

Pittsburgh Pastor Receives Top Grant at the First EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator™ Faith-Based

The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, announced the top awardees of its first-ever EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator™ Faith-Based hosted by the Eastern States region. The first-place grant of $50,000 was awarded to Pastor Cynthia Wallace of Bible Center Church in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for their work aimed at addressing food access and insecurity through innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit.
Arian Simone (left) and Pastor Cynthia Wallace (right)

Learn from Innovators in these 30 Minute Fireside Chats

The American Heart Association hosted a rotating panel of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and Accelerator grant awardees to educate faith institutions and the community at large on how to grow and fund their businesses. These recordings could be helpful for anyone who is starting their own venture and wants to understand how to grow their business and refine their ideas on removing barriers to health in their communities.


  • March 17 – May 14 Submission Cycle

  • April  27 Fireside Chat 1

  • May 15 –  June 3 Application Review

  • May 25 Fireside Chat 2

  • June  7 Announce Winners - all finalist Informed

  • June 7 – July 12 Finalist Training

  • June 29 Fireside Chat 3

  • July 22 Faith-Based Accelerator Finale Event

What to expect

map of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia and Washington, D.C.The AHA’s Eastern States Region launched the Faith-Based Accelerator at an online workshop on March 17, 2021, with an interactive presentation from faith leaders working on entrepreneurial strategies that serve their constituents/congregations and provide additional revenue potential for the site.

The Faith-Based Accelerator is open to faith-based sites and places of worship in the following areas: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Up to 10 submissions will advance and receive training to further develop their business model and pitch around their faith-based efforts to help the most vulnerable and under-resourced communities and drive sustainable impact and improved health. 

Housing security and heart health connection

Did you know that people who can’t consistently afford housing payments face a higher risk for heart disease and stroke? 

A healthy life starts with access to basic needs such as food, health care, education and secure housing. Join us for a conversation on how places of worship can be agents of lasting change in their communities — and a chance to receive funding to support your faith institution’s efforts.

Faith-based organizations and places of worship have been on the frontline, mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 and providing communities with much needed guidance and support.
Now the American Heart Association’s Eastern States Region is calling on them to submit their business concepts that address urgent community needs and disparities exacerbated by COVID-19.
Group of people
two women standing together

EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator™

The American Heart Association, through its Empowered to Serve Business Accelerator model, supports faith-based organizations as they provide critical support for our most at-risk communities. Places of worship are converting land and assets into housing solutions, serving as critical food distribution sites and remaining trusted and accessible venues for health services.  

The American Heart Association seeks to empower faith institutions and leaders to continue and scale their business models aimed at addressing social determinants of health in their communities. Social influences include, but are not limited to, race bias, income, education, healthcare access, pollution, housing availability, transportation and access to healthy foods. 

News and stories

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EmPOWERED Women Roundtable Series

CPR and Opioid Use in Communities of Color

In honor of Women’s History Month, the American Heart Association hosted the EmPOWERED Women CPR and Opioid Use in Communities of Color roundtable in March. The livestream event focused on CPR, as studies have shown significant disparities in bystander CPR rates for people of color and women, as well as opioid misuse among women of color.

Building Mental Resilience for Women of Color in the Midst of COVID-19

As a part of National Minority Health Month, the American Heart Association hosted a roundtable about how racism, cultural stereotypes, economic insecurity, stigma and shame all impact the mental health of women of color.

Black women suffer disproportionately from adverse life experiences that can lead to depression, anxiety disorders and toxic levels of chronic stress.

Maternal Heart Health and Why Gaps Exist

Motherhood and heart health go together.

The American Heart Association’s EmPOWERED Women’s Roundtable in May will focus on how the disparities Black, Hispanic, Latina and Indigenous women experience during and after pregnancy affect heart health. Tuesday, May 11 at 7 p.m. CT online.

The Mark & Brenda Moore and Family Foundation

Legacy Sponsor
The Mark & Brenda Moore and Family Foundation