Next Gen Public Media: Accelerator

Apply now to the Next Gen Public Media Accelerator, a program that supports the piloting, experimentation, and spread of youth-focused initiatives in the public media sector. The request for proposals is open from November 3 – December 20, 2021.

Read the RFPApply to the AcceleratorKey Dates


The Cooney Center is seeking proposals for tween- and teen-focused initiatives (ages 10-18) that aim to develop and support new content, modes of engagement, usage and development of technologies, and community-based programs within the public media field. Accepted proposals will receive $15,000 and join a six-month Accelerator program from February to August 2022. 

Proposals may apply to either of two tracks:

  • Piloting New Models (‘Spark’ grants) – initiatives that design and pilot new content, modes of engagement, usage and development of technologies, or community-based programs that directly or indirectly (e.g. via teachers or out of school partners) engage tween or teen audiences and are aligned with Next Gen Public Media priority areas.
  • Expanding Capacity (‘Catalyze’ grants) – initiatives that benefit the field by building the capacity of public media stations to engage in tween or teen-focused work through development of resources, professional development, technical assistance, support for adoption of program models, or other means and are aligned with Next Gen Public Media priority areas.

How to Learn More & Key Dates

The Cooney Center is committed to helping a diverse range of public media stations, producers, and other potential applicants submit robust proposals. To get started, be sure to read the RFP, including the evaluation rubric and additional resources and readings that are included as appendices. Up next, consider joining us for any or all of the following opportunities to hear directly from the Cooney Center team and work with them to improve your proposals:

    • Informational webinar

      On November 8, 2021, the Cooney Center held a one-hour webinar about the Next Gen Public Media Accelerator RFP. This webinar covers the purpose of the RFP, the research that is motivating it, the key activities that will happen during the Next Gen Public Media Accelerator, and opportunities for potential applicants to ask questions about the opportunity.
      View the webinar recording
      Presentation (PDF)

    • Concept design sprint

      This two-hour interactive workshop will help applicants transform their aspirations into compelling proposal concepts. Facilitated by Cooney Center project leaders, applicants will engage in design exercises that help generate ideas that align with Next Gen Public Media Accelerator goals and expectations.
      View the agenda
      Register: November 10 @ 1-3pm ET or November 12, 2021 @ 1-3pm ET 
      (Note: this is the same event held on multiple dates).

    • Consultation office hours

      Interested in 1-on-1 support? Sign up for a 30-minute consultation slot during office hours during mid-November and early December. A member of the Cooney Center project team will answer your questions and help you improve your proposal concept.
      November 15- 19 and December 1-3, 2021. Sign up for a consultation slot here.

    • Deadline

      All submissions are due at 8:00 PM on December 20, 2021. Please apply here.


Read our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.

The ​Next Gen Public Media Accelerator is an important element of the By/With/For Youth: Inspiring Next Gen Public Media Audiences initiative. Visit the initiative’s homepage to access research publications, the NGPM learning community, and more.

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