In 2022, the pandemic continued to reveal ever-widening gaps in our social safety nets. Tech nonprofits stepped in to address this increasing inequality. The sector doubled down, pushing product releases, forging partnerships, and launching in new regions. This unwavering commitment to a more equitable world catapulted Fast Forward’s alumni to collectively impact 139M lives to date.
As the sector reached new heights, Fast Forward leveled up to meet it. We launched the Fast Forward Growth Accelerator, our boldest bet yet. This first-of-its kind initiative will solidify eight high-growth tech nonprofits as leaders in the social sector. 2022 also offered moments to reconnect: for the first time in three years, we convened in-person as a community at our Startup Accelerator Demo Days. To top it all off, we joined forces with our partners HPE and BlackRock on Employee Engagement Campaigns that contributed $2M to the sector. Fast Forward is proud to have helped tech nonprofits raise the bar in 2022.
This year, we went big. We launched the Fast Forward Growth Accelerator, our newest initiative to scale eight high-growth tech nonprofits – breakout stars poised for exponential impact. Together with champions like James Slavet, Google.org, and Preston-Werner Ventures, we’re scaling these organizations through transformative funding and a tailored curriculum designed to meet their specific needs. It all kicked off this past December in Santa Cruz, CA, where the cohort gathered from around the world to connect, reflect, and gear up for this next period of growth. Learn more about why we launched the Fast Forward Growth Accelerator here.
Our flagship program was special this year (hint: handshakes and hugs abound!). For the first time, the Startup Accelerator went hybrid, featuring both a virtual program and in-person Demo Days. The cohort spent the spring diving deep into everything from impact models to hiring, connecting with tech nonprofit experts, and learning from mentors at top companies. With their solutions showcase-ready, the cohort caught flights from around the world – we’re talking Spain, Ghana, and India – to rock the Demo Day stages in NYC and SF. And rock it they did, inspiring packed houses of over 200 people with their stories and solutions. Check out Demo Day to relive the magic.
Employee Engagement Campaigns
Our 2022 Employee Engagement Campaigns raised a whopping $2 million dollars for tech nonprofits. Run in partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation and BlackRock, these turnkey programs empowered company employees to support tech nonprofits through a donation credit, plus learn about their work through panels and events. We were thrilled to team up with HPE on its fourth annual Accelerating Impact Campaign, which shattered records by raising an unprecedented $1.4M and engaging 52% of HPE’s employees globally. Equally meeting the moment, in its second annual Recovery Forward Campaign, BlackRock infused 14 tech nonprofits with transformative grants of up to $90K. Nearly – wait for it – 10,000 BlackRock employees participated, raising a grand total of $600K for the sector. Learn how you can bring this high-impact giving model to your company here.
Tech nonprofits from around the world leveled their storytelling skills way up this year at Pitch Camp. These virtual events trained tech nonprofit team members on how to craft and deliver a powerful pitch – a critical skill for mobilizing support. The best part? After learning what goes into a compelling pitch, participants had the opportunity to practice and workshop their own with volunteers from top companies. To date, we’ve teamed up with our partner companies to run 18 Pitch Camps engaging their employees. The results are in, and Pitch Camp is a win. Of the 380 tech nonprofit participants, 97% of those surveyed believed they had a stronger pitch after Pitch Camp. On the volunteer side, 98% of employee participants expressed they’d like to volunteer at Pitch Camp again. Get all the details on Pitch Camp – and how to get your company involved – here.
An underutilized lever against climate change is closer than you think: your state and local governments. While these policymakers could achieve 75% of the U.S.’s commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement, they’re usually under-resourced, short-staffed, and part-time. That’s where Climate Cabinet Education intervenes. Combining data science with clean-energy policy expertise, the tech nonprofit is ensuring the half a million state and local officials across the U.S. are equipped to address the climate crisis.
Take Virginia. In 2022, Climate Cabinet Education’s data analytics anticipated a policy attack on clean energy alternatives for new construction. Partnering with lawmakers and climate organizations, Climate Cabinet Education coordinated a strategy to block the attack – and won. The tech nonprofit also built a first-of-its kind database that identifies cities with outsized opportunities for climate impact. The tool discovered an aging city-owned coal plant in Columbia, MO that may be eligible for closure. Now, Climate Cabinet Education is working with the city’s mayor to investigate options for retiring the coal plant. It’s set to work with leaders across the country to jump on climate opportunities like these in 2023.
With the job market constantly evolving, young people need support and resources to prepare for the world of work. 7 million youth have accessed such resources thanks to CareerVillage.org. Users ask their career-related questions on the digital platform, which then crowdsources answers from real industry professionals. CareerVillage.org is available anytime, anywhere – and with a 99.9% answer rate, it’s no wonder that young people from over 190 countries rely on the platform to help steer their future careers.
With a focus on underserved youth who lack access to career information, partnerships are CareerVillage’s secret sauce. The tech nonprofit teams up with schools, workforce boards, and most recently, the College Board, to bring CareerVillage to the students who need it most. On the tech side, the organization is leveling up its user experience through AI. A new integration with ChatGPT will help CareerVillage improve answer quality, generate new career content, and more. As CareerVillage continues to grow, millions more young people will be able to better navigate the world of work.
Small-scale farmers across India are seeing bigger success thanks to a tool they can access right from their phones: Gramhal. Its chatbot delivers important agricultural data to farmers via WhatsApp, like hyperlocal crop pricing, real-time weather forecasts, and quality inspection tools. Gramhal’s growth points to just how powerful its solution is: in just two years, it’s helped 250,000 farmers across 3 Indian states improve their livelihoods through data.
Gramhal’s chatbot is built on Natural Language Processing technology, which recognizes user intent in order to deliver the right data insight. To date, Gramhal has answered a staggering 8.8 million queries from users with a 95% response accuracy rate. The organization has big plans to expand this impact in 2023. In addition to launching its chatbot across all of India, Gramhal is building text-to-speech technologies to better support its low-literate users. By putting data into the hands of farmers, Gramhal is helping the farming community increase income and agency.
Half of the world’s population does not have reliable access to healthcare. Intelehealth is closing this gap through its open-source healthcare technology. Across India and Kyrgyzstan, governments, NGOs, and hospitals leverage Intelehealth to deliver quality healthcare to communities with no doctor. The numbers speak for themselves: Intelehealth has improved health outcomes across communities by facilitating almost a million teleconsultations.
Intelehealth’s solution is uniquely built for doctors and frontline health workers. A digital assistant, ‘Ayu,’ supports doctors via 100+ healthcare protocols, and clinical decision support features help health workers increase their efficiency. Tech isn’t Intelehealth’s only superpower. Partnerships with Ministries of Health and organizations like UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, and Jhiego will help Intelehealth provide healthcare for 10 million women over the next three years.
From the entrepreneurs building solutions that better our world, to the supporters rallying behind them, Fast Forward is grateful to be on this journey with the tech for good community. A special thank you to our partners and board members Aston Motes, Ime Archibong, James Slavet, Oliver Hurst-Hiller, and Rekha Pai Kamath for making our work possible!