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Rainer Arnhold Fellows Program

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  • Rainer Arnhold Fellows Program

    Rainer Arnhold Fellows are social entrepreneurs with particularly promising solutions to the big problems in conservation, health and poverty in the developing world. The Program helps them design their programs for maximum impact and scale through an iterative design process. Fellows are recruited for the two-year fellowships through a network of leaders, thinkers, and doers in the social and private sectors.
  • Contents:

  • 1 Overview
    2 Purpose
    3 Distinct Differences From Other Offerings
    3.1 The Roosevelt Legacy
    3.2 The Student Focus
    3.3 Local Engagement
    4 Impact Achieved For Students and Campus
    4.1 Publications From Young Think Tanks
    4.2 Pipeline Fellows Program
    4.3 Activities at Individual Chapters
    5 Steps Required To Bring Resource to Campus
    6 Contact Information


    1. Overview:  Rainer Arnhold Fellows are social entrepreneurs that design promising solutions to the world’s most pressing problems in the fields of conservation, health and poverty in the developing world. Through an iterative design process, this program empowers Fellows to develop products and programs for scale and maximum impact. From recent graduates to mid-career professionals, program participants are recruited for the two-year fellowships through a network of leaders, thinkers, and doers in the social and private sectors. The Rainer Arnhold Fellowship is a program of the Mulago Foundation, which focuses on the development of scalable solutions and the organizations that can deliver them.

    2. Purpose
 The Mulago Foundation is a private entity that aims to carry on the work of Rainer Arnhold, a physician and philanthropist that devoted his efforts to the well-being of the most vulnerable. Rainer’s passion was the prospect of a better life for children in poverty, and so the Foundation’s work is focused on health, poverty, and conservation in the world’s poorest places. The Rainer Arnhold Fellows Program commemorates his life and continues his work by giving those who follow in his steps the tools and resources to create lasting change.

    3. Distinct Differences From Other Offerings

    3.1 Engaging Fellowship Program: This two-year fellowship lasts two years and features: - a stipend of $10k/year for travel and expenses
    - an annual week long design-for-impact course with a dozen Fellows and select faculty
    - a formal, interactive redesign of their model with staff every six months
    - mentoring by staff and faculty in the interim
    - staff help with specific needs in delivery of the work
    - facilitated networking with colleagues, including funding site visits to see the work of other Fellows

    3.2 Annual Design Course The program features an annual course that brings Fellows, partners and faculty from the Mulago Foundation together for an intensive week-long engagement that focuses on designing for impact and scalability. Held at a retreat center in Bolinas, California, this annual course gives Fellows the opportunity to focus on the development of their ideas and receive feedback on key concepts from seasoned experts that have experience with designing for systemic change. The course has four components: 1) Prepared 10-minute pitch presentations by each Fellow, which allow them to develop a communication strategy that effectively communicates the idea to diverse audiences. 
    2) Facilitated groups of Fellows and faculty work through key issues that often arise in the prototyping, testing and iteration stages of the design process. 
    3) Short sessions by Fellows and faculty around critical issues like fund-raising, hiring, and organizational leadership.
    4) Individual design sessions that allow fellows to focus on scalable impact.


    3.3 Mentors and Network Support Staff: The program features an seasoned support staff from the Mulago Foundation that work with fellows on issues pertaining to product / program design, positioning, field work and research, community engagement and social enterprise development. This team is directed by Kevin Starr, whose diverse work experience ranges from forest conservation in Tibet to micro-franchise clinics in Kenya to one-acre farming in Burma. Faculty Mentors: A seasoned network of mentors engage fellows as faculty teachers and collaborators in the effort to design for maximum impact. This network includes prominent philanthropists, social scientists, product designers and world-renowned social entrepreneurs like Paul Polak, product designer, author and founder of NGO iDE and Peter Seligmann, founder and CEO of Conservation International.

    3.4 Unique Design Process The fellowship equips social entrepreneurs with a unique approach to design that centers on an understanding of the desired impact, the behavior that creates it, and a distinct idea about how to drive that behavior.
    Fellows use specific processes and tools to formulate an impact model: the detailed, systematic process that applies the idea. A set of empirical scalability criteria is used to shape and tune each Fellow’s impact model, which then allows the design of the organizational and financial models to deliver it. A process of adaptive redesign allows Fellows to focus on the integration of new insights and information into their models and operations.

    4. Impact Achieved For Students and Campus
  • Through the Rainer Arnhold Fellows Program, students are empowered to develop their ideas to achieve maximum impact. Such is the case of Andrew Youn, founder of One Acre Fund, an NGO that invests in farmers to generate a permanent gain in farm income to reduce poverty and hunger. Below, Program Director Kevin Starr notes the impact that the program has on fellows like Andrew: 

    AndrewYoun-home.jpg
    “I found Andrew Youn at a business plan competition at Stanford. He had an idea called the One Acre Fund that addressed one of our thorniest problems: rural poverty (farmers supporting a family on one acre of land). He wanted to help farmers get land and access to the market they needed on credit. He became a fellow, and working with us, his idea evolved rapidly. He leveraged our initial support to fundraise and build an organization, and is now one of the best-known social entrepreneurs out there – a leader in his field. His work has impacted 70,000 farming families – a total of 350,000-400,000 people and his budget is now in the millions. “

    5. Steps Required To Bring Resource to Campus

    Ideal Candidate: The program seeks fellows that have an entrepreneurial personality and proven track record, lead an existing organization, have an interest in scalable design, possess a degree of decision-making authority and have a thorough understanding of their design process and tools

    Engagement Process: The foundation actively recruits fellows through the Mulago Foundation network, as opposed to holding a formal application process. The foundation welcomes inquiries from people who feel that they fit the above description.

    6. Contact Information


    Mulago Foundation Director: Kevin Starr
    Rainer Arnhold Fellows Program Manager: Sara Johnson
    Email: info@mulagofoundation.org. 

    7. Links

    Interview with Kevin Starr, Director of Rainer Arnhold Fellows Program


    Download the Design Iteration Format & the Accompanying Worksheet used by Rainer Arnhold Fellows to develop their ideas into scalable solutions.