CTIA Wireless Foundation is dedicated to the development of mobile technology that promotes social innovation. We embrace the wireless industry’s spirit of entrepreneurism and believe in the promise of wireless technology to improve communities nationwide.
The Foundation partners with nonprofit and mission-driven enterprises that accelerate tech social entrepreneurs’ work. With an emphasis on impact at scale, we are proud to partner with organizations that nurture and develop the potential of social entrepreneurs to deliver positive outcomes made possible by wireless technology.
Camelback Ventures is an accelerator that through the identification, development and promotion of early-stage underrepresented entrepreneurs, aims to increase individual and community education. CTIA Wireless Foundation is proud to support Camelback Ventures and the founders that are working daily to solve these important issues. Since its inception in 2015, over 75 social entrepreneurs have participated in Camelback’s accelerator programming, many of whom have used wireless to achieve social impact.
Camelback Ventures’ premier initiative, the Camelback Fellowship, is a six-month program supporting the development of social entrepreneurs and their ventures. Through coaching, capital and connections, the fellowship emphasizes a focus on entrepreneurial growth through a series of summits and a culminating Showcase.
Since 2015, 94% of the entrepreneurs who have participated in the fellowship identified as people of color, and 60% as women. The program has received over 1,500 applications and has a 4% acceptance rate.
Fellowship alumni have been recognized in Forbes 30 Under 30, Echoing Green and the Obama Fellowship. We are proud to have Camelback alum, MindRight Health as a 2020 Catalyst Finalist. Previous alumni who use wireless technology include:
- Konekti: A mobile app and online platform to facilitate communication among students, parents and teachers.
- Liberate: A meditation app designed for the Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities, which offers resources for common cultural experiences, like internalized racism and micro-aggressions.
- Movers & Shakers: Creates augmented reality to teach the history of marginalized people in classrooms, cultural institutions and public spaces.
- Uvii: A remote learning app that allows instructors to engage with, teach and respond to students using a combination of video, audio and text messages.
To celebrate the culmination of the 2020 Fellowship, Camelback Ventures hosted a virtual Ruthless Pitches showcase. The Foundation was proud to sponsor this event, which featured the 2020 founders presenting 4-minute pitches.
During the event, our Executive Director Dori Kreiger introduced CTIA Wireless Foundation to the audience of social entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders.
CTIA Wireless Foundation is proud to partner with Fast Forward, a San Francisco-based organization that invests in social entrepreneurs who are using wireless to solve real-life problems.
Fast Forward works with tech nonprofits to build a bridge between the tech and social sectors and equip organizations with the funding and resources they need to scale their operations.
Tech Nonprofit: tech startups that build original software or hardware with the primary goal of scaling social impact instead of increasing financial profits.
The flagship Accelerator program works to connect tech nonprofits with seed funding, mentors, peer communities and fundraising opportunities. Through the Accelerator, Fast Forward has helped 50 tech nonprofits scale, impacting 63M lives and raising $157 in follow-on funding.
We are proud to have Fast Forward Accelerator alumni Objective Zero and MindRight Health as 2020 Catalyst winners.
Fast Forward’s Tech Nonprofit Playbook, launched in 2020, is a comprehensive guide to starting and scaling a tech nonprofit. The playbook gives social entrepreneurs access to advice from successful tech nonprofit leaders who have transformed the social impact space.
In 2020, Fast Forward launched its first-ever virtual Accelerator. In the 2020 Accelerator class, 56% of the organizations are co-founded by people who identify as women, 78% are co-founded by people and color and 100% are co-founded by people with lived experience with the problem.
Throughout the summer, the social entrepreneurs worked closely with Fast Forward to acquire useful knowledge and skills to help them develop and grow. The accelerator class received:
- Three months of curated workshop-style trainings
- Demo Days, where they had the opportunity to pitch to 600+ philanthropists
- Mentorship form 100+ advisors from the tech and social sectors
- $25,000 in unrestricted funding
- Network and relationship building opportunities among like-minded startups
- Support from Accelerator partners (like the Wireless Foundation!)
In July, the Foundation hosted a week of the virtual accelerator program, during which the Foundation board and CTIA employees participated in speed-mentoring with the accelerator organizations. During the program, Fast Forward’s 2020 Accelerator class met with mid- to senior-level employees with management or coaching experience for discussions on business development, strategy, product development and management, marketing and more.
The 2020 accelerator class showcases the diversity of the technology and social sectors. The foundation is excited to support these innovative tech nonprofits, which include:
- Ameelio– App that sends free letters and photos to keep incarcerated people connected with their loved ones.
- Hopebound– Free teletherapy platform for low-income youth at higher risk for teen suicide and mental illness.
- Movers and Shakers NYC– Augmented reality curriculum of women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ leaders designed to diversify public narratives.
- Reboot Rx– AI platform that surfaces insights into generic drugs that have potential to affordably treat cancer.
- The American AI Forum– Game-based curricula introducing AI concepts in underserved schools.
- TurnUp– Mobile app created by and for young activists to efficiently organize.
2020 Demo Day
CTIA Wireless Foundation was thrilled to join Fast Forward for the virtual Demo Day 2020. Nine entrepreneurs pitched their tech solutions to pressing challenges.
Do Good Institute at University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy
CTIA Wireless Foundation also partners with the Do Good Institute at University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. The Do Good Institute provides opportunities for University of Maryland students to immerse themselves in an entrepreneurial community while working to address significant social issues through hands-on learning opportunities.
The Institute provides student social entrepreneurs with workspace, personal and professional development opportunities, coaching, financial support and access to funders and investors. Do Good Institute programs include:
- Do Good Accelerator: A collaborative space on campus that helps to scale up students’ innovative solutions to social problems. The accelerator offers trainings, networking opportunities and more to help social entrepreneurs grow their impact.
- Do Good Challenge: An annual, campus-wide challenge inspiring students to pursue innovative solutions to social issues they are passionate about. Students from across the University spend the year advocating, fundraising, volunteering, supporting and developing solutions to a social issue. The challenge culminates in a finals event where six student teams pitch their venture for a chance to win a share of more than $20,000.
- Faculty Fellows: A program supporting faculty members in their work as scholars, teachers, advisors and educational leaders exploring social innovation.
- Mini-Grants: Do Good mini-grants support the development and innovation of student-led and -run project proposals.
Recent Do Good Challenge projects using wireless technology include:
- 2019 Venture Track Finalist Padres Preparados, Jovenes Saludables is a culturally grounded, open-source app combatting obesity in children by promoting positive parenting practices.
- 2019 Semi-Finalist Chat Health uses novel machine learning and AI technology to enable students to communicate with the UMD Health Center using an SMS platform.
- 2018 Venture Track winner Symbiot developed a wearable device that utilizes wireless technology to detect when elderly people fall in retirement homes and automatically alert staff.
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