Access Initiative

Give the gift of possibility.

Opportunities for Fellows, funded by Fellows. We created the Access Initiative to remove barriers blocking people from getting started in tech. Join us with a donation to reach even more high potential builders and leaders.

Opening 1,000 doors

The Access Initiative exists to open doors that for far too long and for far too many have remained closed.

We are proud to announce the Access Initiative's s inaugural giving campaign. The On Deck network has welcomed 1,100 Fellows thanks to the generosity of our community. By donating to the Access Initiative, you continue to remove barriers for those who don’t have the background, network, or resources typically found in tech today.

For every person founding or working on an impactful company or cause today, there are thousands more who should be, but can't. The Access Initiative is how we unlock opportunity and get these incredibly talented leaders and builders in business.

$1,000,000 in funding to welcome 1,000 Fellows into On Deck

In its first year, the Access Initiative has awarded more than $1,000,000 in scholarships in support of nearly 1,100 Fellows with the funding provided by community members. On Deck has pledged $1,000,000 in matching funds. And we’re just getting started.

40% of scholarship recipients identify as female
40% identify as a racial or ethnic minority

There are 2 ways to support the Access Initiative's Giving Campaign:

Direct support
Make a donation today to directly support On Deck Fellows — give $50 and we'll get you a pair of limited edition On Deck socks
FROM $10
Donate now
Non-Fungible Token
Check out our limited edition NFT
1,100
5,000
of all Fellows are Access Initiative scholarship recipients

Strengthen flywheels for the entire community.

By donating to the Access Initiative, you unlock scholarships, support for future founders to take the leap to start a company, and the ability for high potential talent to find their next game changing role.

When you donate, the entire Fellow community wins. Whether it’s more talent in the community, an amazing Masterminds group member, a connection to potential customers or hires, the On Deck network wins.

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Generation (n)Zero
David Adamu
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Follow David on Twitter @afrogodd
David is an On Deck Design Fellow living, building, and creating in Nigeria.

By purchasing a NFT, you are supporting the On Deck Access Initiative. All NFT proceeds from the Generation (n)Zero Collection will go the On Deck Access Initiative.

Limited Edition On Deck Socks

We know how much the On Deck community loves their socks…

Want to represent the “spirit of service” of the On Deck community?

Donate any amount above $50 and we’ll send you a pair of limited edition socks

CASE STUDIES

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CASE STUDIES

Spotlight: Saamra Mekuria-Grillo

The other piece of it is representation: highlighting stories of people who have walked in your shoes before and received the Access Fund scholarships. I think that’s important to those folks who are maybe less inclined to step in, to feel that invitation. Once I had been through the program, I felt very empowered to reach out to others and I felt very much a part of the community.”

CASE STUDIES

Spotlight: Vensy Krishna ODNC1

I believe that there are hundreds of people like me. People who are extremely hungry to learn new skills and support their communities. People who are from underserved groups and don’t have a traditional background that directly links them to the tech ecosystem. People who are simply dying for an opportunity to do the work that they've always wanted to do.

CASE STUDIES

Spotlight: Cara Whitehill ODA3

There is an intersection, for example with On Deck being global and digital, and the organizations using hyper-local, place-based strategies. I’m excited about a ‘both/ and combination’. That’s one positive outcome from the pandemic — we now have the tools and the frame of mind to be proximity-agnostic.

CASE STUDIES

Spotlight: Charles Oppenheimer ODA3

I knew there was a $5k fee going into ODA. When I heard that it goes directly to the Access Fund, I thought, “Okay. That's perfect.” It’s an excellent reason to do it. It wasn't just a fee, it was earmarked for improving access to underserved founders and investors. We work in a field with a known problem, where this same group has access to all the investments and startup capability, and not everybody else does. It fully mirrors my efforts to seek out underserved areas, like developing countries, and invest my resources there.

CASE STUDIES

Spotlight: Maya Caddle ODC1

There are so many people in this world who have so much potential, and they may not even know it. Maybe they need to be guided slightly, maybe they need to be in the right environments or community. Imagine how much more powerful our world would be if we were able to identify and nurture that talent.

CASE STUDIES

Spotlight: Jeevahan Murugesu ODF6

In this community, when someone wins, everyone wins. They share their knowledge, hiring updates, and recommendations directly back to the community. It is especially satisfying when I've helped someone who shares a big win, knowing that I played a small part of their journey.

FAQ

What is the Access Initiative?

On Deck’s mission is to expand the startup economy. We’re creating the world’s best support ecosystem for founders, operators, investors, and partners. For every person founding or working on an impactful company or cause today, there are hundreds who should be, but can't.

In September 2020 we announced the On Deck Access Fund to support underserved talent in tech through scholarships and up to $1M in matched donations from On Deck.

Today, the On Deck Access Initiative provides scholarships, establishes partnerships, and provides runway to high-potential builders who are just getting started in tech.

How does the Access Initiative work?

The On Deck Access Initiative is dedicated to supporting people who have the talent and drive to build great startups and progress their careers in technology, but lack the typical background or resources to do so.

Here’s how it works:

  1. A Fellow applies and is accepted to participate in an On Deck program.
  2. Once accepted, the Fellow applies for a scholarship from the Access Initiative, describing financial situation and needs. The fund helps cover On Deck tuition.
  3. Once Fellows are “off deck” again — having either found a job or started a company — we encourage them to contribute back to the Access Initiative to provide support for future Fellows.
What has the Access Initiative accomplished in 2021?

Through more than $1,000,000 in scholarship funding, the On Deck Access Initiative has enabled more than 1,100 high potential leaders to join the On Deck community to build and grow together.

It has so far in 2021 raised $1,000,000 in support from Fellows. Donors to the Access Initiative include Fellows who received a scholarship and now have the means to pay it forward and Fellows who didn’t apply for a scholarship, but are committed to unlocking opportunity for talent across the world. 

Alongside the announcement of ODX, the Access Initiative is launching Runway Grants, an innovative funding opportunity for more ambitious, talented founders who are currently blocked from building their businesses by financial barriers. 

When I click “Donate,” I go to a website hosted by Overflow - who are they?

On Deck has a partnership with Overflow to process online donations. This allows for contributions to go directly to our nonprofit partner supporting the financial administration of the Access Initiative. Overflow was founded by On Deck Founder Fellows Vance Roush (ODF2) and Kyle Woumn (ODF3) with a mission to inspire the world to give. 

I received an Access Initiative scholarship and want to get more involved with the Access Initiative in 2022. How can I help?

Thank you for the great question!

The best way to get matched up with opportunities is to email the Access Initiative team (Nate and Kelly) at [email protected].

I want to join an On Deck Fellowship program and will need a scholarship. How do I apply?

Fellows apply for a scholarship after being selected to join an On Deck program. Scholarship applications are reviewed by the Access Initiative team independently from any program admission decision. You will learn more about the scholarship application after acceptance into the program.

Where can I learn more about the Access Initiative?
Did we miss your question? Drop us a line and we will get back to you asap.