The Athari Group is on a mission to take future nonprofit founders through a first-of-its-kind global accelerator. Participants receive world-class mentorship and networking opportunities with nonprofit founders, a curriculum of workshops on topics such as root cause analysis, board development, and advanced fundraising, and an opportunity to gain $5,000 in seed funding.
The global accelerator is free.
Individuals with great ideas often lack the requisite knowledge, fundraising capacity, support, and network to start a successful organization. Athari Group would like to bridge that gap, and support those interested in being in service to a cause greater than themselves.
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Below is an interview with the co-founders of The Athari Group Global Accelerator, Jeff Fonda and Celeste Drubner.
What was the motivation for creating a global accelerator for idea-stage nonprofits?
Celeste: The motivation behind Athari Group was a., to provide budding nonprofit founders the support that Jeff lacked when he started his nonprofit, and b., to foster and bond a group of people who are doing different versions of the same thing, so they can find inspiration, motivation, and solidarity within and as a group.
There is a list of things Jeff wishes he knew, or had access to, when he started The Literate Earth Project, and we emphasize those in our program.
The value of mentorship, for example, made a big impression on Jeff, and thus it is a primary aspect of the program.
Athari Group is mentorship, networking, and collaboration.
There’s a special kind of synergy that occurs when individuals work alongside one another towards a common goal, which in this case for each person is to launch a nonprofit.
Who should apply for the nonprofit global accelerator and how many individuals will be selected in the initial cohort?
Anyone who is serious about starting a nonprofit should apply.
We will review and send personalized feedback on all applications for as long as we can. Our focus is low-income countries but we have already accepted someone into the program whose work would be based in a high-income country.
There is a preference for ideas that are concerned with beneficiaries who are the most in need, regardless of location.
We plan to accept 12 individuals (some may have co-founders) in our initial cohort.
How long is the global accelerator and can you give us a program overview?
The accelerator is 10 weeks long with a week break in the middle.
During that 10-week period participants will go through 14 workshops and meet weekly with an experienced mentor.
Our mentors are founders of nonprofits and include members of the Forbes 30U30 and World Economic Forum Global Shapers communities, among others. We expect the time commitment for participants to be 3-5 hours a week.
The workshop categories you have put together is tremendous, what workshop category(s) are you most excited about?
Jeff: We’re excited about Root Cause Analysis, which is the first workshop our cohort will go through, and Celeste is thrilled to have this particular teacher involved.
Understanding and respecting the root causes of an issue is something many of our largest, most financially successful nonprofits fail to prioritize.
The organizations we’d like to help will ideally be agile and adjust however many times and in whatever ways best serve the interests of the beneficiaries. Of course, the practical workshops that cover topics such as fundraising and board development are going to be helpful, but we’re especially excited about the more abstract classes that address the starting and running of nonprofits from a theoretical perspective.
How do you measure success for the global accelerator program?
Our primary goal is to help participants realize the best way to effect the change they want to see, and if that is indeed starting a nonprofit, then our goal is to make sure they have the tools to start and lead an organization that is honest, efficient, and effective.
Long-term we will measure success by the success of our graduates, by tracking whichever impact metrics they employ. But to be sure, failure is only failure if we don’t learn from our mistakes.
With this logic, anyone who comes to the program for the sake of sharing, with an open mind and willingness to learn and be coached, is already succeeding. Simply getting this first cohort together, which is led and run completely on a volunteer basis, is testament to how willing people are to collaborate with others for the sake of a good, common goal greater than ourselves.
And that itself is a success we are genuinely so thankful to be a part of.
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