Through our Summit community, we will identify a subset of leaders with promising plans — either to enter public service or launch new organizations. We will support them through viability and beyond.
This support will come in the form of a hybrid between a fellowship and an agency model — where we provide advice and direct assistance through the launch phase and then become fierce advocates and advisors for our fellows once they’ve achieved escape velocity.
We have a general theory about which organizations are needed in this new ecosystem and we will solicit proposals specific to pre-determined categories. Of course, if a promising organization appears that doesn’t fit our ecosystem map, we will give them consideration.
Our preliminary ecosystem blueprint includes organizations focused on the following problems.
ARENA ACCELERATOR PRIORITIES
The Accelerator Program will support two types of organizations. The Arena (our social welfare organization) will sponsor other social welfare and issue-based organizations. The Arena PAC (our political organization) will sponsor other political organizations.
We must activate and support a deep and sustained effort to translate our beliefs into policy — both so we can arm candidates and advocates with the right ideas and ideals and so we can support public officials to implement the policy.
We believe that the integrity of our democratic system has been imperiled long before the 2016 election, due to forces such as partisan gerrymandering, restrictions on voting rights, and the corrosive influence of money in politics. We encourage applicants focused on these challenges.
Many have given up on the idea of finding common ground with folks who voted for another candidate or on convincing them to moderate their views. This is incredibly dangerous, as we cannot write off large swaths the electorate — both tactically and morally, and many voters are becoming increasingly misinformed and polarized as they continue to engage in insular political circles.
In addition to organizations working in the above categories, we welcome applicants who are committed to entering public service and who are committed to our core beliefs.
State Legislative Races
We believe that state legislative infrastructure has been ignored for too long and has been co-opted by anti-democratic forces.
Federal Congressional Races
For our beliefs to be realized, we need a strong infrastructure for the 2018 congressional elections and beyond. We are looking for innovative ways to put more races into play and, in the process, advance our core beliefs.
OUR SUPPORT FOR FELLOWS INCLUDES:
Starting a new organization or launching a career in public service is lonely. With The Arena Accelerator Program comes a community of encouraging, talented peers who not only stay in touch digitally, but also meet as fellow cohorts for multiple in-person retreats a year.
The Accelerator Program will offer new organizations with low budgets a one to three-month stipend to ensure the key founder(s) can spend their full time on an effective launch. These stipends are limited and will be disbursed based on need. These stipends will range from $10,000 to $50,000.
Using our experience scaling successful non-profit and for-profit ventures, we will work with fellows to hone their stories and business plans.
We will make a comprehensive case to the donor community about which organizations are needed right now, and we will only select fellows aligned to that map. We will convene donor Summits and other meetings where our fellows will receive air time to advocate for their individual organizations while presenting a unified vision of the larger ecosystem.
The Accelerator Program will advocate for our fellows and their organizations along the lines of how an agent in Hollywood would, and (subject to legal restrictions) will do so for free. This will include assistance setting up and executing fundraising meetings, communications consulting, negotiating mergers and alliances, and assorted other help.
The Arena Fellows will be given air time, every quarter, at our Summits and at other The Arena gatherings to update our community on their progress.
IN RETURN, THE ARENA FELLOWS COMMIT TO:
Fellows starting new organizations will view their mission as to the broader The Arena effort and not just to their organization’s mission in isolation. This means fellows will tell a common, connected story about how their work connects to the work of others.
Fellows will be active members of our community. During their launch period (first three months), they will participate in three community retreats and will, on an ongoing basis, be expected to attend our quarterly Summits.
All of The Accelerator Program fellows starting new organizations are expected to invite their major donors to our donor alliance meetings and share data on donors and giving history — with donor permission — to The Arena fellow community. Fellows will also be required to report on progress against predetermined goals to The Arena team and the larger donor community on an ongoing basis.
Organizations with governing boards will invite one of The Arena partners to their board, to ensure longevity of commitment and strategic alignment.
Fellows will always act in accordance with The Arena statement of beliefs.
Fellows are committed to taking a growth mindset to their work. They should expect — and welcome — voluminous feedback on all aspects of their work.