Ayesha Khanna, who created the Points of Light Civic Accelerator to support startups with social missions and citizen action, was recently named to Foreign Policy magazine’s Leading Global Thinkers of 2015, which includes heads of state, top minds in medicine and science, world-renowned artists and entrepreneurs at the forefront.
The magazine says of Khanna and the other honorees: “Just as the globe’s intractable problems aren’t confined neatly to the realms of politics and policy, neither are the individuals imagining innovative solutions.”
This spring, Khanna and her team are leading the seventh class of the Civic Accelerator, the country’s first accelerator program and investment fund supporting early-stage, civic ventures addressing critical social problems. This session will focus on creating greater access to financial and digital tools, technologies and services. The application period opened this week.
Foreign Policy magazine pointed to Khanna’s work guiding last spring’s class, which accelerated ventures that create greater opportunity for women and girls. Khanna shares the honor with Shannon Schuyler, head of corporate responsibility at PwC and president of the PwC Charitable Foundation, a founding supporter of the Civic Accelerator along with the Starbucks Foundation.
“This honor showcases the contributions of women entrepreneurs and, more broadly, the innovative ideas and sustainable solutions that come from diverse individuals who are working in their communities to solve these complex social issues around the world and need help to tap into capital and resources to scale their impact,” Khanna said. “I am thrilled to share this honor with a true leader from one of our corporate partners that is forging the way to lend their talent and resources to help these entrepreneurs and their civic ventures succeed.”
Schuyler said of Khanna, “I am consistently inspired by the work Ayesha spearheads with the Points of Light Civic Accelerator to provide female entrepreneurs with the education, tools, mentoring and investments they need to start ventures that drive sustainable social change. Last year I was honored to stand side by side with Ayesha in Chicago with a dozen emerging entrepreneurs looking to address some of the world’s most significant challenges in dynamic new ways. The PwC Charitable Foundation is proud to play a role, with Ayesha and Points of Light, in the elevation, education and enlightenment of so many disruptive, empowered and truly special change agents.”
Khanna, who joined Points of Light in 2010, has worked across sectors and led nonprofit, for-profit and political organizations. She incubated and is a director of Fuse Corps, which matches experienced fellows with mayors to drive innovation. She also led and transformed several leading nonprofits, including the YWCA and United Way, and worked with leading Fortune 100 companies while with Andersen Consulting Strategy (now Accenture) after teaching and building health care centers in central India.
About Points of Light
Points of Light – the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service – mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages more than 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year – we put people at the center of change. For more information, go to www.pointsoflight.org.
About the Points of Light Civic Accelerator
The Points of Light Civic Accelerator is the first accelerator program and investment fund in the country focused on “civic ventures” – for-profit and nonprofit startups that include people as part of the solution to critical social problems. The three month, boot camp-style program convenes 10-15 teams in person and online with the goal of equipping each startup to seek investments and scale their social innovation. The Civic Accelerator was launched in 2012, in partnership with Village Capital, and receives generous support from PwC Charitable Foundation and Starbucks Foundation, both founding partners, and from Capital One, Dentons US LLP, Singing for Change and official hotel sponsor, Hilton Worldwide. Visit cvcx.org for more information or follow the Civic Accelerator on Twitter at @civicacceleratr and across social media at #CIVICX.
“This honor showcases the contributions of women entrepreneurs and, more broadly, the innovative ideas and sustainable solutions that come from diverse individuals who are working in their communities to solve these complex social issues around the world and need help to tap into capital and resources to scale their impact,” Khanna said.