The Situation

International Peace and Security Institute (IPSI) identifies and trains the world’s brightest young practitioners in the core practical skills to be effective peace leaders, as well as forge them into a worldwide network to counter violence and promote peaceful solutions. IPSI organizes two multi-week symposiums every summer in Europe, which combine lectures by top academics and practitioners with real-world practical exercises. Some of these leaders’ expenses and most of their tuition costs are covered by IPSI through scholarships, which have allowed exceptional individuals from countries like Ethiopia, Colombia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Syria, Nigeria, the Palestinian Territories, Israel, and Iraq to attend their programs.

The Opportunity

In 2013, IPSI built an intensive online training platform on “Religion & Conflict” for the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by a private foundation. Halfway through the project, the State Department significantly expanded its scope, giving IPSI a verbal commitment to provide the extra funding necessary to cover the difference in cost. With this verbal commitment and deadlines looming, IPSI began the additional work. Subsequently, it was determined that the additional funds would not be available due to obscure laws concerning donated materials, leaving IPSI with $47,000 of net unpaid expenses.

To address the shortfall, IPSI took on significant debt. As a result, all revenue from Symposiums and contracts were being used to try to back-fill losses, effectively stunting the organization’s growth.

With the debt alleviated, IPSI would have the resources to invest in multiple, catalytic new opportunities that include a new self-sustaining symposium with a fee-for-service model, and contracts for two major online training programs for the Foreign Service Institute and Institute for Inclusive Security respectively.

Open Road's Response

A charitable grant for $47,000 from Open Road was used by IPSI to regain its financial sustainability and use new business and revenue to grow their impact.

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