The Coolest Organizations You’ve Never Heard Of
[Part One of a new ReWork series]
Searching for your dream social innovation job is difficult. The social innovation space is ambiguous, confusing, and difficult to tap into. (You may even be thinking “Is it better to say social enterprise or, more broadly, the purpose economy?” ) Unlike lawyers, doctors, or bankers, there is no clear career path or obvious top places to work. The hopeful do-gooder or the idealistic sector-switcher is left Googling “companies like Warby Parker” or “nonprofits in New York that pay well”. Organizations that are busy fulfilling their mission rather than editing their SEO keywords are left unseen in these searches. Here at ReWork, we hope to change that.
Too often the real innovators go unseen. ReWork exists to put top talent to work on the world’s most pressing issues. To accomplish our mission, it’s necessary to spotlight more mission-driven teams whose work is under the radar. This is the first of many lists that will detail our favorite organizations where you can do well while doing good. After all, if you don’t know they exist, then you may miss your opportunity to make an impact now.
K-12 Education — 100kin10
Few problems attract as much attention and proposals for reform than education. As a result, deciphering real impact in the sector can be overwhelming. Should you work on the inside of a school system or a policymaking body? Should you work on the outside in edtech or innovation? For 100kin10, the answer is both. Their networking model positions them at the very center of this sector, connecting a variety of stakeholders that focus on education. 100kin10’s mission is to employ 100,000 STEM teaches in schools by 2021. They are innovating a new approach to social change called “networked impact.” Their model marries funding partners with programmatic partners, ranging from The White House to community organizers. By bringing people, ideas, and resources together, they are able to catalyze systemic change. ReWork has partnered with 100kin10 to expand their team over the last four years. Through their rapid growth, they have not lost sight of professional development for all team members. For example, 100kin10 teammates take part of their week to work on projects outside of their typical scope of work. For an ambitious person, It’s the all-too-rare coupling of meaningful work and a way to grow your career.
Microfinance — Opportunity Fund
What organization comes to mind when you hear the word microfinance? Household names like Grameen Bank and Kiva top the list. but they aren’t alone. For example, Opportunity Fund has been helping small business owners in California earn, save, and invest in their future since 1994. Now, they are one of the biggest microfinance institutions in the United States. Opportunity Fund has loaned out more than $60 million dollars and assisted over 12,000 individuals. While this is an impressive feat on its own, they are much more than your average bank. Not only do they provide microloans, but they also advocate for public policies that close the opportunity gap, educate their loan recipients about savings accounts, and even invest in real estate projects that advance economic well being. If you’re into the power of microfinance, don’t overlook the market here at home when job searching.
Diversity in Tech — All Star Code
Organizations focused on diversity in tech are popping up everywhere — and our country is better for it. This area of focus is long overdue for the attention it deserves; given that only 1% of VC funded startups have a black or Latino founder. All Star Code is a new player in this subsector, but a mighty one. ASC teaches coding and computer science to young men of color in high school. Rather than churning out programmers, ASC has a broader mission. ASC provides skills that position young men of color to qualify for scholarships and collegiate success. 100% of their graduates thus far have been accepted to college.With four sites in NYC, and an expansion to Pittsburgh, the team has doubled in the past year to keep up. Given their goal of having 1,000 students by 2020, they will likely continue to grow. This is a great place to be part of a fun, young team at the precipice of change.
Civic Engagement — Nationswell
Civic engagement becomes a hot topic every four years during presidential election cycles. But savvy practitioners know making changes requires ongoing effort, especially outside of campaign moments. In a deeply divided nation, Nationswell manages to both be nonpartisan and successful. Called “A Cure for Post-Election Malaise” by The Atlantic, NationSwell is a social impact media company, storytelling platform and membership network with a mission to elevate the solutions to America’s greatest challenges. Their unique position at the intersection of policy, media, and cross-sector leaders makes them an incredibly interesting place to work. If you are sick of checking if Pod Save America has an open host slot, this may be for you.
Impact Investing — Acumen America
There is no question that Americans are shifting how they invest. From millionaires opening Donor Advised Funds and millennials turning to apps like Motif, Impact Investing is here to stay. Acumen America is a distinctive player in this field. Acumen became globally recognized for their work in international development.. Now, they are turning their proven global model inward to tackle our most intractable domestic issues. By investing in startups that support marginalized communities in our country, they hope to change the face of poverty in the United States. Acumen America focuses on financial inclusion, health, and workforce development and offers everything from seed investment to long-term support for their investees. With an international reputation and impressive funding partners such as Barclays and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, being part of this initiative means making real impact every day.
What organizations aren’t getting the attention they deserve? Who isn’t being properly celebrated for their innovative model? Who is still under the radar yet tackling our biggest challenges? Share your favorite and it may be featured in an upcoming piece.
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