Rainer Arnhold

Through our Rainer Arnhold Fellowship we find leaders with promising poverty solutions and help them to design and deliver them at scale.

We’re impact and scale-obsessed. Each year we select 10 fellows and help them (1) design high-impact scalable solutions and strategies for better and more lasting outcomes; (2) build the organizations to deliver them at scale; and (3) become part of a growing community of innovators in global development.

The one-year fellowship is a mix of money and a lot of ideas, support, and connections. The main event is usually a week-long in-person retreat.

Here are the components of the fellowship in more detail:

Design and Strategy

The fellowship is bookended by an intensive week-long workshop to dive in on design for impact and strategy for scale. It’s a rare opportunity to focus completely on new ideas and a systematic way to apply them.

Community and Connections

We bring together a cohort of leaders committed to social justice and ending extreme poverty, alongside some great experts, consultants, and our team. Fellows join a community of over 100 previous fellows. 

Resources and Support

The fellowship comes with $100K. Learning resources are regularly shared to keep everyone informed on the latest thinking and doing. We also hold open office hours year round.

What We Look For

Rainer Arnhold Fellows are social entrepreneurs, like these fellows, with:
  • Their sights on a big problem in Sub-Saharan Africa or South/SE Asia. The closer the leader is to the problem and the communities they serve, the better.
  • A big idea to meet the basic needs of the very poor (like health, education, agriculture, livelihoods, safety, sanitation, etc.) with the potential to scale.
  • An organization up and running — nonprofit or for-profit — even if very small or early.
  • The senior decision-making role (often an Executive Director or CEO).
THE Rainer Arnhold Fellows

Design For Impact

Our Approach to Design

All our fellows have great ideas.  And want to create big change for the better.  Our design tools take them all the way from a great idea to impact at scale.  Scale for us doesn’t simply mean growth, nor is it just a big number.  And it isn’t about an organization “scaling;” it’s about scaling the impact you want to see in the world.  

We’ve found that for an organization to get to “scale” and make a big dent in a big problem it has to go through some stages 1) smart R&D to arrive at a scalable model, 2) replication by your own organization to prove scalability, and finally 3) scale via replication by others that creates the exponential growth of impact. The first part of the fellowship focuses on how to turn an idea into a systematic and replicable model. It takes them through a series of steps to get to a detailed impact model, and then serves as the vehicle of an ongoing process of iterative redesign. And then we dig into how to shepherd it through the stages to scale.  It’s a systematic approach to go all the way. You can take a look at some of the design content here.

The Workshop

The main event is usually a week-long workshop on the coast of California in September where fellows have the opportunity to think deeply about their path to create meaningful impact at scale. We bring together founders, experts, experienced doers, and our team. It's fast-paced, interactive, and fun. 

The engagement also helps Fellows work through the organizational and financial models – how to deliver the impact model and how to pay for it. Fellows work directly with our team to incorporate new information, lessons, and ideas into their model.

Fellows get to listen, learn and support each other through:

  • Design & scale sessions that build on pre-work
  • Iteration on design for impact and strategy for scale
  • Honed communications
  • Small group topical conversations 
  • A series of curated one-on-one conversations 

They emerge with more clarity on the dream and a roadmap to help get them there.



(December – February)

  • There is no formal application process. We do an extensive hunt for fellows at the start of the year. We depend heavily on our trusted network of doers and funders for referrals on who’s doing excellent work. But, we’re equally open to a thoughtful cold email or Linkedin message too. 
  • We look at ~400 organizations per year for 10 spots. It’s competitive, but we keep it low-hassle for you.


(January - May)

  • We invite ~150 organizations that broadly fit our criteria to answer a short form. Three members of our team independently review every form to evaluate potential fit with the fellowship. 
  • A series of up to three learning conversations with our team. And, we do the rest!



  • We select a class of 10 irrepressible and complementary fellows. We get back to every organization that generously took the time to fill out our form and try to provide tailored feedback to everyone we talk to.


(Summer into the next year)

  • The program is a hybrid of hefty prework, digital seminars, and virtual meetings, along with two week-long in-person retreats.
  • We hope to bring fellows for an in-person design, impact & strategy workshop in September.