Is This Nonprofit Accelerator a Problem-Solver or a Roadblock?


Foundation: Google.org

Martin Levine of NonProfit Quarterly examines a tech-backed nonprofit accelerator and poses a round of questions asking if this philanthropic effort helps solve problems like inequality, environmental threats, forced migration, and illiteracy or its partnerships make it part of the problem.

Cueing from a Fast Company article describing a tech-backed nonprofit accelerator, Fast Forward, Levine writes that the company is available to very-early-stage nonprofit startups, providing them with $25,000 coupled with training and mentoring. Just recently, Fast Forward has announced it had secured a new round of funding and raised $5 million in new philanthropic funding from leading companies, such as Google.org and many others.

Levin points out that Fast Forward claims its network has touched 51 million individuals and received more than $100 million in funding. So skeptics might wonder if the $5 million might be better spent going directly into the nonprofits' coffers.

Levine asks, do efforts of this kind obscure the severity of the problems an out-of-control extractive economy creates?

Levine quoted Ruth Cambridge who underscored the message of Anand Giridharadas, author of Winner Take All, "It remains to be seen... whether the nonprofit sector will begin asking itself some deeply uncomfortable questions."

According to Levine, these are tough questions when money is tight and dreams and passion are high. Read the Entire Article


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