Three years of Okta’s nonprofit technology fellowship

At Okta, we believe nonprofits should be as powerful as their missions. Nonprofit organizations do society’s most critical work — and technology is essential to achieving and accelerating their impact. We also recognize that the impact of any tech is ultimately determined by people — people who understand how technology can be a force for good in society. 

Through our work, we’re fortunate to connect with inspiring organizations and leaders leveraging technology to drive meaningful social impact. Our vision is to contribute to a paradigm shift in how nonprofits are funded and enabled to make the digital transition. By sharing the stories of these leaders more broadly, we provide a spotlight on these incredible individuals. We hope these stories inspire more leaders working at the intersection of technology and social impact to take action.

To highlight these stories, in 2021, we launched the Nonprofit Technology Fellowship, a program within Okta for Good’s Nonprofit Technology Initiative, to empower a diverse collection of rising nonprofit technology leaders to enrich the sector with their experience and become more effective strategic leaders within their organizations. During the six-month fellowship, fellows develop at least one significant piece of content, which could include items like an article, conference session, or internal presentation. Fellows also receive professional development through facilitated convenings, coaching, and networking, plus a $25,000 grant from the Okta for Good Fund to their organization. 

Today, we’re excited to announce the third cohort of this fellowship, with eight leaders representing technology leadership roles in areas like project management, product development, and strategic initiatives, joining us from across the world, including Colombia, India, Spain, and the United States. As we welcome this group to the Okta for Good family, we also want to look back and celebrate leaders from our past cohorts. 

Looking Back

Across our last two cohorts, we have engaged in the development of sixteen nonprofit technology leaders, supporting their leadership capacity and enhancing their visibility as thought leaders. 

We’ve had the pleasure of working with dynamic leaders like Amy Sample Ward, CEO of NTEN; Francis Johnson, CTO of Tech Impact; and Poesy Chen, Co-founder and Innovation Director at Mobile Pathways. Through their participation in the fellowship, they each have developed foundational content pieces that showcase the importance of technology in delivering social impact. 

In their Inside Philanthropy piece, Sample Ward shares recommendations to funders on contributing to a more equitable, tech-enabled nonprofit sector. In the same publication, Johnson challenges funders and grantees to acknowledge security technology as critical infrastructure for all nonprofits, offering actionable advice on creating a culture of funding and support for cybersecurity. And in her blog post, Chen highlights the criticality of data and technology use for effective service delivery, particularly for underserved immigrants. Each of these are incredible examples of the innovative approaches fellows have taken to drive the digital transition. 

Our fellows have also given us crucial insight into the types of resources and specific tools nonprofit technology leaders need to move their organizations — and the nonprofit ecosystem — toward the digital transition. These leaders need more platforms and opportunities to advocate for the importance of technology — and expert support to develop and effectively articulate their messages to diverse technical and non-technical audiences. Centering the unique needs of our fellows and their insights enables us to build on the success of this program and empower future cohorts more strategically. 

“There are so many opportunities for networking in our sector — at conferences and events, through organizational collaborations, or even in grantee groups — so it didn't seem that 'meeting people' would be such a high priority to me. I was incredibly wrong.

Okta’s Nonprofit Technology Fellowship was intimate and intentional, creating a valuable space for developing relationships with professionals [who] shared my values and vision.

A few years later, some of my fellow Fellows are at the top of my list of both professional and personal friends. We are better able to do our work when we know we aren't alone, and I'm so grateful to be part of this work with these folks.”

— Amy Sample Ward, CEO of NTEN

Our third cohort of fellows

We're excited to welcome our new leaders as we kick off this year's fellowship! Fellows will explore topics including enhancing accessibility, security, and scalability of platforms and technologies; improving product development standards for nonprofits; developing sustainability and technology strategies; promoting diversity in technology innovation; software development processes; and ensuring safe implementation of generative AI.

More about our third cohort below: 

We invite you to follow these leaders as they embark on their fellowship journey — and encourage you to learn more about the missions of their respective organizations. Stay on top of future announcements and opportunities from Okta for Good by joining our mailing list.