AWS Public Sector Blog

Global Nonprofit Leadership Summit Recap

The AWS Global Nonprofit Leadership Summit in London focused on how to achieve the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs) through technology.

We value and recognize the amazing contributions that organizations make in order to make this world a better place. By hearing from nonprofits, such as UNICEF, the American Heart Association, Conservation International, and many others, attendees were able to provide each other with technology approaches that have yielded improved outcomes and share big ideas for projects or programs that could greatly advance achievement of the SDGs, which include reversing climate change, ensuring equality for all, and eliminating poverty.

Why does the cloud matter?

  1. The cloud helps pave the way for disruptive innovation – This gives nonprofits the agility to fail fast and to try many things, pick what works, and continue moving forward. We innovate to give our customers the capabilities and cost savings to achieve more mission for the money.
  2. The cloud also helps drive an innovative ecosystem – Our innovation extends to our partners, our customers, and the entire ecosystem that is touched by the approach and technology. Many nonprofit organizations depend on a broad network of volunteers, donors, and staff. As AWS innovates, we seek to help our customers innovate as well.
  3. The cloud is helping to make the world a better place – Our customers change the world through medical research, monitoring tools that protect endangered species, empowering underserved youth through technology education, and much more. In addition, AWS is helping to improve government and spur economic development around the world though open data and public/private partnership initiatives and by bringing services to places that might not otherwise receive them.  The goal is to connect the private, public, and social sectors to share our strengths and do more, together.

Nonprofits are all in the business of improving the well being of people and environmental ecosystems around the world. By using AWS’s inexpensive and highly scalable infrastructure technology to build websites, host core business and employee-facing systems, and manage outreach and fundraising, nonprofit organizations around the world can stop paying for computing power they aren’t using, and focus their resources on their important work.

From issue advocacy to charitable causes, from health and welfare to education, nonprofit organizations use AWS to radically reduce infrastructure costs, build their capacity, and reduce waste. The common denominator for all discussions was technology, and session after session, we heard about how it touches and improves lives in areas such as green activism, animal conservation, fighting heart disease, and finding exploited children. Through engagement with the AWS Nonprofit team, we have helped guide nonprofits globally on new ways to leverage data analytics capabilities, such as to hone in on specific human genomes to create personalized care that has a higher success rate of healing and recovery or to crawl image data for clues as to the location of abducted children.  We have strategized with our customers and determined approaches for leveraging IoT sensors to monitor air quality, weather conditions for agricultural yields, and even smart donation solutions.

Partnerships in the Cloud: Bringing the big ideas

As part of the event, AWS committed $500,000 in AWS promotional credits to support the big ideas and new concepts brought forward by the nonprofits in attendance. AWS technical experts hosted office hours at the event to help the nonprofits build out their concepts and transform them into approaches, and will soon award the credits to these organizations.

Teresa Carlson, VP of Worldwide Public Sector at AWS, closed the event by encouraging the attending organizations to continue to collaborate with each other and share solutions.  We intend to hold this event annually and we look forward to sharing the progress AWS and, most importantly, our customers have made in 2017.

“As we begin to see drastic changes in our climate and increasing levels of poverty and humanitarian crises around the world, AWS has taken action to ensure we are an active participant in sustainable development.  We want to both be part of the solution and bring our resources to bear to enable others to reverse the compounding effects of the violence, hatred, and even indifference,” Teresa said.

AWS Public Sector Blog Team

AWS Public Sector Blog Team

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Public Sector Blog team writes for the government, education, and nonprofit sector around the globe. Learn more about AWS for the public sector by visiting our website (, or following us on Twitter (@AWS_gov, @AWS_edu, and @AWS_Nonprofits).