The Situation

Atlas Corps was founded on the idea that talent exists everywhere in the world, yet opportunity does not. Atlas Corps connects people from around the world to opportunities in the United States or Colombia. Atlas Corps places emerging leaders from the non-profit sector in a fellowship program where they get invaluable on-the-job training and experience at leading organizations like Ashoka, Global Press Institute, McKinsey & Company, and the Peace Corps. To date, they have placed more than 300 professionals from 60 countries at 130 Host Organizations. The Atlas Corps vision is to become a multilateral service corps where thousands of individuals a year can cross borders to share skills and gain new knowledge.

In 2013, Atlas Corps recognized the need to update and revamp their online application system with custom-built software. Their Fellowship model was expanding at a rapid pace with 12,000 applicants for every 100 available positions. Three months into designing the new system, the Foundation for Young Australians approached Atlas Corps with an interest in franchising their program in Australia, which would catalytically expand the impact and reach of their model, and create a new source of revenue for Atlas Corps.

The Opportunity

To capitalize on this opportunity, Atlas Corps needed to upgrade their online application system to enhance the vetting and matching of candidates with potential Host Organizations in the United States. Atlas Corps needed this unified platform to streamline their current processes and create a user-driven experience where potential Host Organizations can directly search the Atlas Corps talent pool. An upgraded platform would also allow partner organizations to franchise the model and multiply the impact of international exchange on a global scale. In addition, Atlas Corps anticipated other benefits such as increased revenue through more placements of Fellows and improvement of monitoring and evaluation of their model. While the software developers could easily adjust the system, Atlas Corps needed additional funds to complete this extra work.


Open Road's Response

Open Road made a $70,000 investment in the form of a $35,000 charitable grant and $35,000 recoverable grant to implement a new online application platform.

Atlas Corps is in the beta-testing stage for the new platform with anticipated full implementation 2015. Beyond the partnership with the Foundation for Young Australians, the upgraded application platform has led to a new partnership with the U.S. State Department as part of President Obama’s Stand with Civil Society Agenda. Already, with the Presidential announcement on September 23, 2014, Atlas Corps has seen a 20% increase in the number of interested applicants.

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