Atlas Service Corps, Inc. (Atlas Corps), started in 2006, is an international network of nonprofit leaders and organizations that promotes innovation, cooperation, and solutions to address the world's 21st century challenges. Their mission is to address critical social issues by developing leaders, strengthening organizations, and promoting innovation through an overseas fellowship of skilled nonprofit professionals. Profiled as a "best practice" in international exchange by the Brookings Institution and featured in the Washington Post as a model social entrepreneurship program, Atlas Corps engages leaders committed to the nonprofit sector in 6 to 18 month, direct service fellowships at organizations to learn best practices, build organizational capacity, and return home to create a network of global changemakers. The network of Fellows includes over 300 nonprofit leaders from 70 countries.
Their mission is to address critical social issues, Atlas Corps develops leaders, strengthens organizations and promotes innovation through an overseas fellowship of skilled professionals.
Atlas Corps facilitates international fellowships for the best of the world's rising leaders. They volunteer at outstanding organizations addressing social issues and are enrolled in an ongoing training program. After 6 or 18 months, they return to their countries to work for at least one year (and usually their entire career) back in the nonprofit sector, sharing new skills, best practices, valuable experiences and a global network of changemakers.
SCALE & SUSTAINABILITY
With time, Atlas Corps will eventually have 5,000 Fellows annually volunteering in approximately 100 cities around the world. Once a Fellow of Atlas Corps, these individuals have the opportunity to continue to participate in the network to support each other's work. A generation of global leaders will emerge not only well trained, but well networked across borders.
Atlas Corps creates value by leveraging the experienced efforts of skilled nonprofit professionals in volunteer placements overseas. By recruiting and placing these Fellows at Host organizations, Atlas Corps seizes the opportunity created by a market failure - the inability for individuals from overseas to volunteer in the United States due to visa restrictions and limited resources. Simply put, there are thousands of experienced, talented international leaders who would be happy to volunteer a year of their life in the U.S., but they don't have the money or the opportunity to give of their time and talent.
Rather than just place these Fellows at U.S. nonprofit organizations as an expensive international exchange program, Atlas Corps charges a cost-share to U.S. nonprofit "Host" organizations based on the AmeriCorps VISTA model. With AmeriCorps VISTA, it is common for Host organizations to pay a cost share to the U.S. Government for each volunteer. These VISTA Members are full-time, yearlong volunteers usually right out of college. The cost share is less than the cost of an entry level employee (about $29,500 depending on the city), but the Fellows are easily worth well above $50,000 based on what the market would pay for the typical profile of the Fellows (29 years old, with five years of experience, a masters degree, bilingual with international perspectives).
SUSTAINABILITY AND SCALE
As the cost share approaches the per-fellow expenses, Atlas Corps will quickly scale to involve thousands of Fellows from countries around the world volunteering in cities all around the world. Eventually Atlas Corps will achieve the systems changing impact when the "developing world" is no longer seen as a recipient for aide, but rather a partner in development. Eventually the global nonprofit sector will leverage the skills, talent and time from inspiring individuals around the world, no matter where they were born. Eventually, Atlas Corps will see how only through global partnerships and cooperation and can Atlas Corps tackle global challenges. As Atlas Corps changes the perspective on how to solve intractable challenges, Atlas Corps will begin to change the world.