Fast Forward welcomes our new Strategic Partnerships Associate: Eli Etzioni.
Claremont McKenna College didn’t offer a major in social impact studies, so I did my best to create one. For my senior thesis, I interviewed social entrepreneurs working on everything from a micro-volunteering platform to delivering water filters to families in rural Guatemala. My goal was to investigate how social enterprises balance earning revenue and creating social change. Upon graduating, I was drawn to two things: doing work that maximizes positive social impact, and surfing. I combined both by moving to San Diego and joining grassroots nonprofit Urban Surf 4 Kids as the Development Manager and first employee. At Urban Surf 4 Kids, I secured first-time funding from San Diego County, the California Coastal Commission, and the San Diego Foundation, enabling us to offer surf therapy camps and mentorship to over 500 foster youth, many of whom had never surfed before.
As a next challenge, I moved up the coast to San Francisco and joined PagerDuty.org, PagerDuty’s social impact team, to explore corporate social responsibility. While helping coordinate PagerDuty’s employee engagement programs and researching how nonprofits use the PagerDuty product, I learned of a mythical group of social impact champions who call themselves “Fast Forward.” I only made it a few pages into the Fast Forward 5 Year Impact Report before I got totally hooked.
I never imagined that my search for an impact-first career would lead me to Fast Forward, but now that I am here I can’t imagine being anywhere else. While there are hundreds of accelerators which fund for-profit ventures, we are the only one in the world that exclusively supports tech nonprofits. I’ve been blown away by the ingenuity and impact at scale that I have already seen from the tech nonprofit community, and I’m excited to help Fast Forward bring capital, talent, and awareness to the sector. When not at work, I’m usually biking in the Marin Headlands, surfing at Ocean Beach, or snowboarding at Squaw.