To accelerate or 'fast forward' the transformation of young adults as social investors, FFF is creating a new philanthropic model of 'investment activism.' FFF guides and supports emerging social investors to engage with and build philanthropic portfolios of outstanding peer-led projects, pre-screened and nominated by leading pipeline partners of social entrepreneurship. FFF investment portfolios feature youth-led social innovation addressing global challenges in four portfolio areas: climate change & energy, poverty alleviation, public health, human rights & peace. FFF investment strategy focuses on two-year commitments of $50-150K, augmented by professional mentoring and peer partnerships, directed to start-up and early stage for-profit, not-for-profit, and hybrid social enterprises. To optimize impact, FFF emphasizes collaborative, creative alliances with colleague organizations leveraging and adding value to current and new youth networks and social engagement programs.
FFF offers a range of hands-on leadership training and skill-building programs to develop the philanthropic capacity, commitment, and acumen of young social investors. Working with youth organizations, professional associations, and university communities, FFF will train social investors both on-site and online. FFF envisions a network of university, young professionals, and other youth communities affiliated through Fast Forward Investor Hubs. This network connects with FFF through a range of activities, such as: on-site training workshops, Global Youth Social Investment Leadership Summit participation, pilot curriculum development and course offerings, research and case study partnerships, Fast Forward campus funds, and other initiatives. The vision and promise of the FFF is a new generation of global citizens embracing social investment as action to shape the global agenda of our times, and create a vibrant, sustainable future.
The need to create the Fast Forward Fund (FFF) stems from several concurrent problems: (1) the scope and scale of 21st century global social challenges demand additional philanthropic funding sources and strategies;
(2) philanthropy as social investment is largely absent from the financial development and literacy of young people as they enter post-college financial adulthood and independence;
(3) youth engagement strategies emphasizing social entrepreneurship overlook or underutilize the talent and capacity of young adults as social investors; and
(4) at the same time, the dramatic growth of youth social entrepreneurs has increased demand and out-paced supply of peer partners and financial support.
FFF believes: (1) Investing is action: we all make a difference with our daily financial choices; (2) Investing in a collective social fund allows young people to leverage relatively small individual resources into large-scale impact; (3) More inclusive, expansive philanthropic models enable youth to accelerate, or fast forward, their participation as social investors advancing innovative solutions to global challenges; and (4) Cultivating philanthropic social investment among young adults creates lifelong givers and engaged global citizens.
The Fast Forward Fund strives to: (1) engage youth as partners for social entrepreneurs, driving innovation and impact through social investment; (2) integrate philanthropic social investment in the training and development of young adult financial literacy, practice, and identity; and (3) mobilize mass philanthropic participation of young adults through an inclusive, innovative and global social investment model.
The FFF founder, Diana Ayton-Shenker, brings over 20 years of social sector and philanthropic experience and expertise working on global issues. Ms Ayton-Shenker holds a Senior Fellowship at the Bard Globalization and International Affairs program of Bard College, where she teaches 'Global Social Entrepreneurship & Strategic Philanthropy.' She has taught previously at the American University of Paris, and Hunter College where she directed the first undergraduate Human Rights Program in the country. The editor and author of two books on the United Nations, Ms. Ayton-Shenker is founder of the philanthropic consulting firm Global Momenta, and has held senior positions with Mercy Corps, Human Rights Watch, and P.E.N. She has an LLM in International Human Rights Law from University of Essex Law School, and a BA with Honors in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania.
February 2009-January 2010:
Organizational Development- Establish and develop FFF leadership team through Founding Board and Founding Advisory Council- Launch FFF as CGIU Commitment of Action recognized at 2nd Annual CGIU meeting- Develop and pilot curriculum training for social investors at Bard Globalization & International Affairs - Solidify & deepen key strategic partnerships with: pipeline incubators, professional mentors, delivery outreach networks, educational training colleagues
Build Investor Base & Marketing Outreach- Capitalize FFF to cover operational costs and seed the fund- Introduce FFF to student leaders and pilot FFF training workshops at five Fast Forward Investor Hubs identified through partner alliances- Develop and launch online presence, branding & marketing, to integrate FFF into key social networks- Attract 1000 founding youth philanthropists to invest in FFF- Develop and co-lead webinar training with Teach for America's Social Entrepreneurship Institute- Partner with New York Young Women Social Entrepreneurs (NYWSE) Incubator Program
Develop Portfolios of Youth Social Entrepreneurs- Allocate first investments to youth-led projects in at least two portfolio areas- Create FFF portfolio panel review teams - Position thought leadership of FFF in strategic international, national, and key market venues
February 2010-January 2012:
Review 1st year progress, lessons learned, development; program development and fundraising; annual investor meeting; private leadership gatherings; expand and deepen investor base; increase, solidify, and diversify investment fund; refine business model and plan; increase amount and number of allocations; assess impact; identify and implement adaptations to improve program
This commitment will be evaluated against the following targets:
- 12 Portfolio Investments of Youth-led Social Enterprise- 6 Pipeline Social Entrepreneur Incubator Partners- 4 Educational Training Partners - 4 Youth Engagement Partner Organizations- 3 Global Youth Social Investment Leadership Summits- 15 Training Workshops- 12 Fast Forward Investor Hubs
Financial contribution ($2,088,000) to capitalize and operationalize Fast Forward Fund to develop and facilitate youth-to-youth social investment platform, portfolio development & management, and online & on-site training for emerging social investors.
Professional skills & service to develop professional network and quality of FFFsocial investment program; mentoring (especially by philanthropists, grantmakers, investors, and finance sector professionals) for youth social investors; semi-annual review of portfolio investment opportunities; monitoring performance progress and impact assessments through social resturn on investment metrics; public relations & media outreach consulting; web 2.0, online social network marketing strategy & development; online philanthropic financial product development.
(February 2011 Update)
-Best Practice Information
Youth social investment portfolio development and management; training and education (value $900,000).
In-Kind - $1,620,000. To include mentoring services.
-Best Practice Information