We kicked off the excitement with our first ever Demo Day in New York, hosted by our long-standing partner BlackRock. New York was hungry for social impact, evidenced by the packed room (standing-room only) where we introduced New York tech, philanthropy, and social sector leaders to the Fast Forward universe!
“Kevin and I have started organizations. We know firsthand how hard it is to bring an idea into the world, scale it, and achieve impact. It’s really hard. We also know what a difference early advisors and supporters make in the trajectory of an organization. Those who step up in the beginning are the angels that can catapult an idea into impact at scale.” – Shannon Farley, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Fast Forward
BlackRock was one of those early champions for Fast Forward. Lance Braunstein, Head of the Aladdin Product Group at BlackRock, and Deborah Winshel, Global Head of Social Impact at BlackRock, took the stage with a message about the immeasurable value that Fast Forward provides by identifying and supporting early stage nonprofits.
“For us at BlackRock, the power of technology and the ability to scale it to drive and solve big problems, including social ones, is really near and dear to our hearts. The teams are using technology to solve problems that are central to global prosperity.” Lance Braunstein, Head of the Aladdin Product Group, BlackRock
The highlight of the night was BlackRock’s $25,000 Employee’s Choice Grant which was awarded to Ample Labs, the tech nonprofit building a chatbot to help the homeless connect to emergency services. Read more about the evening in TechRepublic. The night was made possible by BlackRock’s support and commitment to social impact. We are so grateful to them.
Fast Forward’s second Demo Day was supported by Hewlett Packard Enterprise in San Jose and brought together Silicon Valley leaders interested in the power of tech to drive social impact. We are so thankful for HPE’s partnership, which has unlocked massive impact for tech nonprofits. Earlier this year, HPE’s Accelerating Impact initiative in partnership with Fast Forward raised over $1,000,000 for tech nonprofits through HPE’s employee giving campaign. We were grateful to have John Schultz, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal and Administrative Officer and Corporate Secretary at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, open the night with remarks about the ways in which Fast Forward’s values align with HPE’s guiding principles.
“We’re thrilled to be hosting Fast Forward. Built into HPE’s DNA is that technology companies should act for the good of society and focus on community. We’ve carried that for 75 years as a company.” – John Schultz, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal and Administrative Officer and Corporate Secretary at Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Our Demo Day finale was hosted by GitHub in San Francisco. It was a night to remember with joyful reunions from past Accelerator batches, transformative conversations, and inspiration in the eyes of all attendees. Admas Kanyagia, Director of Social Impact at GitHub, gave opening remarks igniting the audience with a powerful call to support the power of tech to scale impact.
The evening concluded with a special announcement from Fast Forward’s first ever partner Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink, Head of Product Impact at Google.org. Brigitte shared incredibly exciting news… Google.org planned to match donations made in the room!
“We know that we need now – more than ever – innovative approaches to address some of our world’s biggest problems. And seed funding is a critical piece to getting them on our way…At Google.org we believe deeply in the power and promise of technology to be part of the solutions that we don’t have yet today to address some of these challenges. We know that we need new answers to some of those old problems.” – Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink, Head of Product Impact at Google.org
These events were an opportunity to showcase the hard work and tenacity of nine social impact tech organizations. Their visions for a better future are an inspiration. You can watch the pitches in full here.
Almost Fun, the free mobile app fusing pop culture with SAT prep to level the education playing field, will radically change the test prep space for under-served students. Almost Fun aims to equip all 12 million low income students with the resources they need to successfully pursue their college and career dreams.
1 in 8 human deaths are due to air pollution. OpenAQ, the first open data platform highlighting air quality data in every city on earth, seeks to change that. To date, OpenAQ has collected and visualized +455M air quality data points across the world.
With one guidance counselor to every 500 students in U.S. public schools, there’s a severe deficit in career guidance. That’s where Gladeo steps in. Gladeo’s digital platform empowers diverse young people to discover and land their dream careers.
12M U.S. arrests occur annually; the vast majority for low level, nonviolent offenses. Good Call operates a free arrest support hotline for New Yorkers. Early legal intervention after an arrest can have a tremendous impact. It allows a free attorney to quickly fight for the fairest outcome possible, while mitigating the unnecessary damages caused by an arrest.
1 in 3 U.S. deaths are caused by heart disease or diabetes, conditions that are clinically reversible. Low-income Americans bear this burden disproportionately. Through digital health coaching, the CoachMe app is scaling healthier outcomes for low income individuals.
30% of the world’s global economy lives in informal settlements. QUIPU’s digital marketplace seeks to strengthen economic prosperity in these regions by equipping low-income communities with a simple way to exchange goods and services.
Refugees have limited healthcare and the care that does exist is often disjointed due to lack of health records. Hikma Health’s medical record management system centralizes patient information to help local clinics improve refugee health outcomes, highlighting chronic conditions to deliver more effective care.
Ample Labs just launched Chalmers in Toronto. Chalmers is the first chatbot helping people facing homelessness find free meals, shelter, drop-ins, and clothing in real time. Anyone facing homelessness will soon have access to life-changing social services in their pocket.
Black students are up to 200 times more likely to be suspended than white students, hindering opportunities to succeed in school & beyond. Discriminology is the digital platform equipping families with data on how black and brown students are treated in over 90,000 U.S. public schools, empowering families to drive change through advocacy and community action.
Celebrations were in order…
The nights were trajectory changing for these social impact entrepreneurs. Thank you to our sustaining partners Google.org, BlackRock, HPE, Twilio.org, Okta, Bloomberg, Vodafone Foundation, CTIA Wireless Foundation, Walter and Elise Haas Foundation, Nasiri Foundation, AWS, PagerDuty, GitHub, and Twitter. Thank you to all of the donors whose generosity will go far in helping these tech nonprofits achieve scale. Finally, thank you to our community for all that you do to support the tech nonprofit ecosystem.