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Starting Bloc

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For over seven years, StartingBloc has helped social innovators address the most pressing global challenges of our time by giving them the education, inspiration and connections they need to create lasting change. Our signature leadership development program, the StartingBloc Fellowship exposes young leaders to new models for achieving social impact. 

The Fellowship begins with the transformative five-day Institute for Social Innovation. The Institute is a boot-camp in social innovation. The curriculum is designed to include all the basic skills required for social change agents. 

Following the Institute, our Fellows become part of the larger StartingBloc community which currently consists of 1,500 Fellows representing 221 colleges and over 53 countries.


StartingBloc exists to educate, connect and inspire emerging leaders to drive social innovation across sectors. StartingBloc focuses on activating individuals, while simultaneously teaching a community approach to lasting change. Fellows aim to eradicate poverty, end world hunger and reverse climate change.

StartingBloc is a nonprofit that educates and places high-achieving, change-oriented college students and young professionals. Since 2005, StartingBloc has helped global leaders by giving them the skills and the tools they need to addresss the most pressing global challenges of our time.

The idea is to position young people to drive social, economic and environmental innovations. StartingBloc Fellows are young leaders who share a common set of values. They believe that economic value creation and social value creation are complementary. Fellows believe in making money while providing value to society. These students are from over 221 universities across more than 55 countries. The Fellowship is comprised of people from different sectors, geographies and cultural backgrounds. The experiences of each Fellow contribute to the diverse modes of thinking brought forward in the StartingBloc Fellowship community.

StartingBloc's vision is a global ecosystem in which the world's greatest challenges are resolved by the collaborative work of a community of leaders from all sectors, in order to drive innovative ideas into actions to create lasting, positive social impact.

 This YouTube video provides a description of StartingBloc's mentality. 

Distinct Differences From Other Offerings

StartingBloc aids students in becoming innovative problem solvers. Fellows learn to create sustainable solutions by identifying problems, learning quickly to guage context, create market-based, sustainable solutions and implement these solutions. Fellows learn to build relationships using communication, empathy and authenticity. StartingBloc thrives on the principle that collaboration is fundamental to solving the world's greatest problems. Fellows should also have all the skills and resources to complete their goals. Businesses and relationships are built through social responsibility.


StartingBloc has various local and regional chapters across the world. These chapters are found in Bangalore, Beijing, Boston, Boulder, Chicago, Delhi, London, Mumbai, New York, North Carolina, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Graduate schools.JPG

BuildingBloc Workshops

BuildingBloc Workshops provide StartingBloc Fellows and friends with the critical continuing education needed to advance their careers in social innovation. BuildingBloc Workships offer a deeper look into specific topics or skills related to social innovation. These workships are help in New York. Los Angeles, Boston and will soon be expanding to other regions. StartingBloc partners with corporations, individuals and organizations to implement these programs for our community. 

All Fellows' Summit

The All Fellows' Summit is the ideal place to further hone your business skills, make new connections and make a lasting impact. This summit reconnects Fellows across Institute classes, allows Fellows to find inspiration for future careers and provides opportunities for Fellows to get the resources to act upon future plans.

Graduate School

There are many Fellows in graduate school. StartingBloc can connect Fellows with other Fellows on campus. If a Fellow is applying for graduate school, another Fellow can be contacted and asked 3 questions, and a call can be dropped to them. 

Impact Achieved For Students and Campus


Alums of StartingBloc have achieved social, environmental and economic change across the country.

Mattias Sparrow, a fellow from 2004, now manages strategy and development for Gary Klinsky Children's Centers. These centers are after-school-program providers supporting 800 young students at five schools in Brooklyn, New York. 

Pyiya Khetarpal helped KLD Reaserch and Analytics in Boston launch an index of 100 companies investing in technology that address climate change.

Moses Choi, an assistant portfolio manager for Citigroup in New York, has been working to set up an internal corporate-social-responsibility club.

StartingBloc has relationships with graduate schools at MIT, Duke and Tufts, which reserve spots in their programs for fellows, and with companies and nonprofits that provide internships.

Steps Required To Bring Resource to Campus

StartingBloc hasan application process for undergraduate students and young entrepreneurs. Application deadlines vary; make sure to check the website (linked above) for the correct submission dates. Tuition for the Institute for Social Innovations is $1,000, with a $35 non-refundable application fee. A limited number of partial and full scholarships are available for accepted canidates based on merit and financial need. 

Here is the admission criteria for the fellowship program:

StartingBloc Potential: (25%) Demonstration that now is the right time for the applicant to attend the Institute. The applicant should gain new understanding from the Institute, contribute to the StartingBloc community and fit with the StartingBloc values.

Clarity of Purpose: (25%) Clarity of the applicant’s vision for creating impact, as evidenced in the application essays. Supporting evidence in the resume and background information that the candidate’s goals for the Fellowship are a balance between ambitious and realistic.

Leadership and Teamwork: (20%) Ability to communicate new ideas and influence others to adopt them. Leadership can take many forms, and successful candidates often lead groups that consist of their seniors as well as their peers.

Passion for Social Innovation: (20%) Enthusiasm for using social innovation as a tool for solving the world’s tough problems. Commitment to incorporating social innovation into personal or career goals.

Academics: (10%) Ability to learn quickly; breadth and depth of intellectual curiosity.

Diversity: StartingBloc values diversity of thought because combining unique perspectives often leads to innovation. The Fellowship is comprised of people from different sectors, geographies and cultural backgrounds. The experiences of each Fellow contribute to diverse modes of thought in the community as a whole. In your application, please show the admissions committee what makes you unique, and the diversity of thought that you bring to the Fellowship.

Finding Funding: 

Given the costs of attending Starting Bloc, the organization has setup a fundraising toolkit for aspiring participants. From the Starting Bloc website: “StartingBloc has partnered with CrowdRise to make it easier to fundraise your Institute costs”.

CrowdRise lets users create campaigns under the StartingBloc umbrella. These campaigns can be shared online with friends, family, and supporters. StartingBloc has compiled a list of recommendations for running a successful fundraising campaign. They can be found here. 

Contact Information

Adriana Pentz

Or, contact:

Rithes Menon 
StartingBloc (NY '09)
Phone: (212) 285 - 2727 .

For more information, visit StartingBloc's website,