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Investing in Ecosystems to Drive Social Good

Erin Baudo Felter
Erin Baudo Felter
Executive Director of Okta for Good

We’re increasingly engaged in conversations with both nonprofit and tech partners on the importance of collaboration to drive social impact outcomes. Nonprofits are telling us that it’s not enough to offer one-off tech tools or donated software; they need an ecosystem that understands them, funds them and supports them – especially when it comes to technology.

This idea of building ecosystems is something Okta’s business has been grounded in from the beginning. So when we launched the Okta for Good Fund last year, we made it clear that a focus for our strategic philanthropy was going to be funding ecosystems dedicated to helping nonprofits scale their impact with technology. We believe these early investments are critical to helping us systematically build toward our mission of strengthening the connections between people, technology and community.

We also know these are opportunities for both leverage and learning. When I think about Okta’s role as an emerging corporate philanthropist, it’s clear to me we need partners to help us not only reach into our communities, but, more importantly, to teach us something about what they need and how Okta’s resources – be they our products, employees or expertise – can help.

Accelerating Impact for Tech Nonprofits

Today we announced a new partnership in service of that mission – a major grant to Fast Forward, a nonprofit that supports social entrepreneurs building original technology for impact.

Fast Forward works at the intersection of nonprofit startups and technology companies like ours – delivering valuable resources to existing Okta for Good partners like Beyond12 and CareerVillage.org, and hundreds more who are building new solutions to social challenges.

Our grant will support Fast Forward’s work to scale ways for the tech sector to drive resources to their nonprofit community. We’ll also host an Accelerator Day for Fast Forward’s entrepreneurs at our San Francisco HQ offices in the fall. We’re excited to be at the intersection of these ecosystems and to be able to drive change at scale together.

Unlocking Insights for Global NGOs

This focus on early-stage tech nonprofits complements our first investment in NetHope’s ecosystem of large-scale NGOs.

As a founding partner for NetHope’s Center for the Digital Nonprofit, we committed to helping humanitarian NGOs with their most critical technology challenges – supporting those 56 NetHope member organizations that together deliver more than 60% of global aid. In the six months since we announced our partnership, the Center for the Digital Nonprofit has published its first research on nonprofit technology readiness, the Digital Nonprofit Ability (DNA) assessment. For the first time ever, nonprofits can now measure their digital transformation and benchmark themselves against other organizations. For the NetHope community, it offers an unprecedented level of data-driven insights about the sector. And this is just the beginning. As our partnership continues, we’ll leverage these insights to further refine and deliver for nonprofits based on their needs and where Okta’s people, technology and expertise can help.

Activating Okta’s Ecosystem for Good

NetHope and FastForward are two ecosystems serving vastly different nonprofits, but with the shared goal of empowering them with the right technology, resources and connections to drive their missions forward. In short, two incredible partnerships that are bringing Okta for Good’s mission to life.

We also recognize that we have more work to do to better position Okta’s ecosystem to support nonprofits. To that end:

  • We hosted Okta for Good’s first-ever Nonprofit Collaborative at Oktane18, bringing together nonprofit leaders, technologists and partners including the ImpactCloud coalition, to find ways to reduce common frictions and help nonprofits better focus on their missions. 
  • At the Collaborative we also announced a new Okta for Good online community, giving our nonprofit customers a way to stay connected with each other and with Okta experts beyond Oktane.  
  • We announced a new partner initiative, Okta for Good for Partners, to extend our values across our partner ecosystem and expand our ability to reach nonprofits.
  • And now, any nonprofit, whether or not they are an Okta customer can benefit from the data and insights across our ecosystem, with the release our [email protected]: Nonprofit Edition.

Similar to our business, our work in philanthropy is closely tied to the success and partnership of our greater community. These collaborations are the next step in doing more good together – much more to come in the second half of 2018.

erin
Erin Baudo Felter
Executive Director of Okta for Good

Erin Baudo Felter is the founding Executive Director of Okta for Good, Okta’s corporate social impact initiative. She is charged with leveraging Okta’s most important assets – our people, product and company resources – to accelerate the impact of mission-driven organizations around the world. Erin has worked at the intersection of business and social impact for over a decade and has held various corporate social impact roles at Zynga, Yahoo and Warner Bros.

Erin holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a BA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is personally passionate about justice and equity in education and serves on the advisory board for Citizen Schools California. She lives in Berkeley with her husband and two young children.