We are building a new system to solve global challenges

Our North Star

Our public institutions and especially the U.S. government does not operate with the urgency, flexibility, and innovation we need to solve the hardest problems of our time. Established systems perpetuate the status quo and underutilize high-impact technologies and strategies that have enormous potential to address inequities and improve outcomes. Local communities everywhere are too often kept from accessing the funding they need, while entrenched special interests continue to reap billions. Climate change, pandemics, and humanitarian crises accelerate our rapidly closing window of opportunity.

At Unlock Aid, we choose to create a new system built on the principles of abundance; innovation and agility; and, most importantly, decentralizing decision-making power and resources to the communities closest to the world's hardest problems. Faith in our democratic systems and the planet’s future depend on it.


Unlock Aid started as a research project. In 2021, we surveyed more than 60 of the world’s leading social innovators to ask what kept them from working with the world’s largest development agencies. We published our findings and then pooled our resources to solve the problems we identified.

Then, we built the world’s leading coalition of social innovators driving policy changes to transform government, growing our coalition to include more than 100 social enterprises, research universities, multinationals, and philanthropies, and spanning more than 20 countries in sectors like health, energy, food, education, water, and more.

Now, we’re broadening our efforts. The challenges we identified are not limited just to U.S. global development agencies, but our entire federal government. It’s no longer enough to reduce discussions about the management of over $2 trillion of public funding every year to tired and familiar debates about how much the U.S. should be spending on what priorities. The U.S. needs to be just as focused on who is making those decisions and to whom and to what ends those resources flow. It's time to rebuild our public institutions for the 21st century.

It’s time to shore up trust in government, stop future pandemics, solve climate change, and more. We need big changes in how government works. Now.

We're making big changes by:

  • Driving policy changes through advocacy
  • Convening uncommon bedfellows to affect change
  • Shifting the narrative

Driving policy changes through advocacy

Convening uncommon bedfellows to affect change

Shifting the narrative

Read about our work in places like:

Unlock Aid leadership team

Black and white portrait of Amanda ArchBlack and white portrait of Walter Kerr
Amanda Arch
Co-Executive Director
Walter Kerr
Co-Executive Director
Krishna Jafa, Board Member
CEO, Medic
Black and white portrait of Ambassador John Simon
Steffen Tengesdal, Board Member
CEO, BAO Systems
Miki Sofer, Board Member
Senior Vice President, Zipline
John Simon, Advisory Board
MP, Total Impact Capital
Ex-U.S. Ambassador to African Union
Black and white portrait of Sonal ShahBlack and white portrait of Maura O'Neil
Sonal Shah, Advisory Board
Former White House Director for Social Innovation
Maura O'Neill, Advisory Board
Former USAID Chief Innovation Officer
Jane Leu, Advisory Board
CEO, Smarter Good
Efosa Ojomo, Advisory Board
Director of Global Prosperity, Clayton Christensen Institute

Some of our coalition partners include

With generous support from groups including
Unlock Aid logo