Digital Frontiers Institute

The Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI), a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, supports the emergence of a payments profession which is inclusive, ethical and sound. The mission of the DFI is to equip a new generation of digital finance professionals with the information, vision and skills to serve as digital sherpas for institutions and nations on the journey to persistent digital relationships and identities for all citizens.

Founders of the DFI realized a human capacity bottleneck in the global push to extend digital financial services to “the other half” of the world’s population who are currently not part of the formal financial system. David Porteous, advisory board chair and co-founder, notes in his blog post the DFI’s “two-part hypothesis is that: (1) there’s a gap in the learning and growth available to digital financial professionals around the world, even as demand for their skills is rising; and (2) a network that offers ongoing training and connects professionals across borders could sustainably fill this gap.”

To achieve its goal, the DFI engages in four core activities:

  • Train & certify: DFI developed and offers the first known on-line university-certified training—provisionally titled the Certificate in Digital Money.
  • Build a professional network: As students graduate with the initial Certificate, they will join an ongoing online professional community that will keep them informed about global developments in this space and exposed to the latest ideas and offer them a platform to contribute their own ideas and experiences to others.
  • Research global experiences: The DFI monitors and extracts lessons from new innovations, business models, country experiences, and applied innovations through an ongoing research program.
  • Manage applied innovation: DFI manages technical assistance to projects that lead to the further digitization of economies in selected emerging markets where there is a high demonstration potential.

RPA’s fiscal sponsorship has allowed Digital Frontiers Institute to be established as a U.S. charitable entity. Our comprehensive fiscal sponsorship services allowed DFI to focus on establishing and developing their nonprofit startup while leveraging RPA’s existing operational infrastructure. RPA’s reputation and experience in working with established for-profit and nonprofit, domestic and international funders and vendors have also greatly assisted DFI in establishing essential new partnerships to further financial inclusion in the fintech space.