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Forward Project

Nonprofits rely on donations to operate, but most small organizations don’t have the opportunity to grow capacity quickly. Few of them have resources or staff dedicated to growth. In fact, the costs associated with fundraising are often disparaged as “overhead.” Which is to say: the very elements that allow nonprofits to grow are seen as unnecessary.

Rebecca Serna, executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, a 2020 grantee

We think that’s backwards. At Mailchimp, we want to give effective organizations the power to grow. So, we designed a program to do just that.

A student at Re:imagine/ATL, a 2020 grantee

The Forward Project is a $750,000 grant program that helps a cohort of traditionally overlooked social enterprises accelerate their community impact work in metro-Atlanta over the course of 3 years. A diverse investment committee of expert peers chose the Forward Project’s first 3 grantees.

The program aims to directly address the obstacles many small organizations face when trying to build their social impact organizational capacity. And while other philanthropic grants often come with constraints on how the money can be used, Forward Project funds are unrestricted.

We partnered with Purpose Possible to develop a custom strategy for each organization’s growth. In 2021 we awarded grants to College AIM, The Counter Narrative Project, and the Hand Heart and Soul Project/Little Ones Learning Center.

Atlanta Streets Alive, one of the signature events by 2020 grantee Atlanta Bicycle Coalition

College Aim

College AIM envisions a day when every student in Greater Atlanta can equally access and achieve postsecondary success.

College AIM will use the new investment to place more high-quality college access professionals in their partner schools and advocate for a more equitable postsecondary landscape.

Counter Narrative Project

Founded by Charles Stephens in 2014, the Counter Narrative Project works to realize an Atlanta where Black gay men and the broader Black LGBTQ community, have greater acceptance in their communities.

CNP will invest the Forward Project grant in their digital mobilization strategy and develop content that fights stigma, while strengthening their capacity for fundraising.

Hand, Heart and Soul Project & Little Ones Learning Center

Hand, Heart and Soul Project & Little Ones Learning Center have forged an innovative partnership between a for-profit and non-profit to help strengthen food security by bringing fresh, nutrient-dense to families also seeking childcare.

The partnership, led by HHSP co-creator Wande Okunoren-Meadows, will leverage the Forward Project grant to open a new learning center in Clayton County that provides holistic programs focused on health, education, wellness, and nutrition.

New caption: Filming video with Re:imagine/ATL, a 2020 grantee

We’re excited to help local nonprofits with the Forward Project. Their experiences will help Mailchimp shape the program for future organizations looking to increase their impact.

More Programs

Mailchimp Community College


Forward Project