Atlas Corps Wins $10K in America’s Giving Challenge – Recruiting for Spring 2010 Fellowships in Colombia + Needs Your Support for Another Online Contest

Atlas Corps earned over $32,000 recently in America’s Giving Challenge, which counted the number of daily donors to Atlas Corps through Facebook Causes. Because of its fabulous showing, the organization won an additional $10,000 as top winner in the contest.

Atlas Corps, the fairly new service corps that uniquely recruits skilled international and U.S. volunteers to serve in U.S.- and Bogota-based nonprofits for a year, attracted over 2,500 donations in about a month through the contest.

Now Atlas Corps is hoping to get your click – no financial donation necessary — to sweep the Chase Community Giving contest on Facebook which ends Dec. 11th. Chase is donating a total of $5 million in the contest to organizations who Continue reading

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Atlas Corps Needs Your Help to Win America’s Giving Challenge

Last year, Atlas Corps won America’s Giving Challenge, and this year it’s in the running again — but it needs the support of people like you who care about service, crossing borders, and professional development for people dedicated to working in social impact careers from all over the world.

Atlas Corps, a year-long international service fellowship which sends U.S. residents abroad as well as brings foreign nationals to the United States to serve in nonprofits, is currently in sixth place in the overall competition that rewards the number of daily donors, not the total amount raised through the competition. Your daily donation of $10 can help Atlas Corps win, as it did last year.

See the standings — for today and “all-time” for this year’s competition — here.

America’s Giving Challenge, which takes place using the Facebook Causes platform, is co-sponsored by the Case Foundation, the W.G. Kellogg Foundation, and Parade Magazine, among other groups. According to the rules:

$50,000 will be awarded to the cause with the highest total number of unique daily donations over the 30 days of the Challenge. $25,000 will be awarded to the causes with the second and third highest total number of unique daily donations over the 30 days of the Challenge. $10,000 will be awarded to the next five causes with the highest total number of unique daily donations over the 30 days of the Challenge.

So far, over $1.3 million dollars has been donated to 7,600+ organizations, through the competition—by over 70,000 donors. Atlas Corps’s had nearly 2000 donors.

Last year Atlas Corps not only raised $33,000 through America’s Giving Challenge, but also won the $50,000 grand prize for having the most donors. The organization, headed by Scott Beale, went onto to win $20,000 from an online Ideablob competition. (Read more about these online contests here.)

I plan to donate daily this week because I believe that Atlas Corps’s mission of bringing nonprofit professionals from the Global South to serve in the U.S. nonprofit sector stands to strengthen our perspectives as well as help us discover new ways of solving problems. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, I also admire Atlas Corps’s efforts to send mid-career U.S. nonprofit professionals overseas — people who have a great deal of targeted skills, and who already speak the host country language fluently and can jump into short-term, high-skill roles at partner organizations. Atlas Corps is completely privately funded, and has only recently emerged from its pilot phase.

Learn more about Atlas Corps:

And please consider donating to Atlas Corps as part of America’s Giving Challenge.

New Podcast Episode: Scott Beale from Atlas Corps!

atlas-corps-logoNew podcast episode from Idealist features the founder and head of Atlas Corps.

The latest New Service podcast series features Scott Beale, Founder and Executive Director of Atlas Corps, a service and exchange corps for professionals in the NGO sector. Also known as a “two-way Peace Corps,” Atlas Corps brings rising professionals from NGOs in the Global South to the United States to serve for a year; U.S. professionals find opportunities to serve at NGOs in Colombia, India, and soon, elsewhere.

Atlas Corps has just started accepting applications for the 2009-10 fellowship year.

Scott Beale

In the show, Scott and I talk about the need for professional global exchanges, starting up a new service corps, and his experiences that led to developing Atlas Corps.

You can download the episode now or subscribe to our podcast (opens iTunes).

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Help Atlas Corps win $20K

International exchange corps for nonprofit professionals stands to win $20K in Ideablob.com contest.

Sometimes identified as a two-way Peace Corps—because volunteers come to and from the United States—Atlas Corps “facilitates an international exchange of nonprofit leaders in which ideas and talent cross borders to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges such as HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, poverty, care for the elderly and disabled, and education of underprivileged youth.”

Ideablob.com allows nonprofit and business entrepreneurs to submit their good ideas and to earn $10,000 towards funding them.

Each month, readers vote for their favorite idea — the idea with the most votes two weeks in a row wins. Because Atlas Corps is an Advanta customer their prize will double, to $20K, if selected.

According to their entry on Ideablob:

Atlas Corps’s new model of international cooperation brings talented professionals from developing nations such as India and Colombia to the U.S. to volunteer for one year in established nonprofit host organizations. Host organizations receive an experienced mid-career professional with specialized knowledge and unique perspectives. Fellows learn best practices, impart their professional knowledge, and then return to strengthen the nonprofit sector in their home countries.

Last year, Colombian Maria Duenas was a Fellow at TechnoServe, a nonprofit in Washington, DC. She now heads up TechnoServe’s flagship project in Bogotá, Colombia, creating business solutions to rural poverty.

In Atlas Corps’s second year, the program has doubled with four Colombian Fellows and five Indian Fellows in Washington, DC, and three U.S. Fellows in Bogotá, Colombia. In the coming year, we plan to increase the number of Fellows again to increase our scale, impact and sustainability. To do so we need this money and we need your vote.

All [prize money] will go directly towards the placement of new Fellows, since Host organizations cover the administrative costs. This prize money will put us well on the way to achieving our goal of promoting international cooperation in the nonprofit sector in a unique and sustainable way. See www.atlascorps.org/2008-fellows.html.

My Idea

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Change.org: How Would You Change the U.S.?

The social networking site Change.org (not to be confused with Obama’s transition site Change.gov) asks you to submit and vote for the best ideas to change the United States.

Here are some of the top national and public service ideas afloat.

uspsalogoVote for the U.S. Public Service Academy, a four-year, federally subsidized, civilian counterpart to Westpoint and the other military academies. Students would attend cost-free in exchange for a commitment to a few years of public service post-graduation. Spearheaded by Echoing Green Fellow Chris Myers Asch, and backed already by many government leaders. (Listen to the Idealist.org podcast on the idea.)

Vote for a national service program to improve local infratructure. “A large yet light and fast corps of workers – not unlike President-elect Obama’s campaign infrastructure – mobilized to solve such regional blights could have a huge impact on our economy, our environment, our education, and our civic engagement and empowerment, all from the ground up.” Submitted by librarian and media ecologist Terence Fitzgerald.

Abigail Falik

Abigail Falik, Founder of Global Citizen Year

Vote for Global Citizen Year, “The world urgently needs globally engaged American leadership.  Poverty, disease and climate change affect us all, threatening global security, prosperity and survival.  Yet Americans remain dangerously uninformed and unengaged in global issues….By recruiting and training a diverse corps of emerging leaders, and supporting them as apprentices with development organizations across Asia, Africa and Latin America, we’ll ensure that many more students have the global fluencies and civic savvy they need to approach their lives with passion, perspective and purpose. ” Global Citizen Year is already incorporated as an organization, headed by Abigail Falik, with plans to launch its first corps during the fall of 2009.

Atlas Corps logoVote for a two-way international service corps. “For 47 years Americans have had the opportunity to volunteer abroad with the Peace Corps and other programs, however it is almost impossible for someone overseas to volunteer in the U.S. The U.S. Government should support a global, two-way, service corps, such as Atlas Corps, where nonprofit leaders from abroad can volunteer in the U.S. and U.S. nonprofit leaders can volunteer abroad.” Submitted by Scott Beale, the founder of Atlas Corps.

Vote for incorporating social entrepreneurship into the national service plan. “While many students will be thrilled with the loan-repayment and service opportunities provided, and will rush at the ability to as teachers in under-privelleged schools or as Peace Corps volunteers abroad, the social entrepreneurs among the undergraduate crowd need support for their style of making change as well. This group are the synthesizers that see gaps in current nonprofit service provision and create new, innovative approaches to change. Unfortunately, there is almost no regularized funding available for student social entrepreneurs to translate their student work into full time careers and full-scale nonprofits. Social venture funding is needed.” Submitted by Nathaniel Whittemore, a Chicago-based social entrepreneur.

Vote to Expand AmeriCorps. “The benefits of giving Americans a chance to serve their country radically outweigh the costs.  In addition, service is a wonderful way to give young people the resources they need to go to college.  President Obama should keep his promise to expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 members a year by immediately pushing to increase its funding, instituting a “health corps” and a “green corps,” and giving a major speech in which he personally solicits young people to make a commitment to filling these slots.  More than ever, Americans desire the opportunity to serve their country; President Obama must make that a priority immediately.” Submitted by UPenn law student, activist, and AmeriCorps Alum Adam Schwartzbaum.

The top ten ideas overall, submitted in a wide range of categories, will be presented to President-Elect Obama on inauguration day (January 20).

Voting will take place in two rounds — round one ends on December 31. The top ideas from each category will make it to round two. Read more about the Ideas for Change in America.