Caroline Avakian

Founder & CEO - SourceRise, Trickle Up Program
New York, NY, United States

About Caroline


Caroline (Sanchez) Avakian is an Emmy-nominated TV host, speaker, social entrepreneur and communications strategist working to leverage technology, global development and new media relations models to promote a more diverse and inclusive news reporting landscape.

Currently, she is the founder of SourceRise, a global tech enterprise launching in spring 2014, that connect reporters and bloggers to on-the ground expert sources and NGOs, in an effort to bridge the growing information gap in international news reporting.

When Caroline isn't working on SourceRise, she's a communications strategist for nonprofits and international NGOs via her consulting work at Socialbrite and CauseSMART. Caroline also lends her time as a faculty and board member of the ELLA Leadership Institute, an organization advancing the lives and leadership of women through mentorship and innovative leadership programs.

Previously, Caroline has served as the Communications Director and United Nations Representative for Trickle Up, an international nonprofit organization working with the poorest and most vulnerable women in India, Africa and Central America. While at Trickle Up, she produced the short film, "The Test of Poverty" about the struggles and advancements of the rural poor in India.

Prior to Trickle Up, Caroline was the Director of Communications & External Relations for FilmAid International, an aid organization using the power of film, video and digital communications to educate and empower refugees all over the world.

In 2007, Caroline was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work as a television correspondent.

Caroline has been featured in The New York Times, is a contributor to the Huffington Post and has appeared as a guest on television shows such as CNN’s Inside Africa, The Today Show, Good Day New York, CW11 Morning News and Univision’s Despierta America. She's a frequent speaker and panelist on topics such as the use of media and digital communications as a tool for global health, social and economic development.

Her work has taken her to Asia, Central America, the Middle East and East Africa, where she has taught participatory video workshops in refugee camps - helping refugee youth find their voice and communicate their stories. Caroline has a Bachelor of Science in Communications from St. John’s University, and a Master of Arts from Antioch University.

Caroline was born and raised in Queens, New York City, and currently lives in the NYC Metropolitan area with her husband and two year-old daughter, Sabina.


Catalan, English, Spanish

Areas of Expertise

Philanthropic consultancy, Philanthropic & Non-for-Profit Leadership, Communications - strategy, Cause Marketing and Branding, Thought Leadership Consulting, Thought leadership programs, Branding & business identity, Marketing / Branding, Nonprofits, Nonprofit Advocacy & Management

An idea worth spreading

SourceRise is a pioneering social enterprise that directly connects reporters to expert sources, in an effort to scoop the underreported but important global stories that the world is hungry for. We make it easy for sources and experts in the field of global development, who are often closest to the people affected by crises, to share their needed expertise with the journalists and bloggers actively searching for them. As a result, we make better news and turn it into a powerful force for good.

Via daily source request emails from reporters and digital media briefings on breaking global hot topics, we directly fill the void left by the shifts in traditional journalism that have shut down foreign news desks all over the world. Our vision is the creation of a robust international reporting landscape, where media have the access and information they need to report on critical stories and events that would otherwise remain invisible or half-told.

I'm passionate about

people, great causes, great conversations, mentoring, world travel, NYC, Barcelona and Spanish cuisine!

Talk to me about

The intersection of global development, technology and new media. You can also talk to me about paella and red wine, too.

People don't know I'm good at

Singing! And that I'm the unofficial, "paella whisperer".

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

Caroline Avakian
Posted over 1 year ago
What can people who work, support or care about the social sector do to help educate others on more effective ways to measure impact?
Well, whether we fully agree with Mr. Pallotta's idea or not, I think the greater point that I see here is that judging a nonprofit's efficacy by the size of their overhead costs is all wrong. I think many would like the conversation to turn towards measuring the real impact of programs from a monitoring and evaluation perspective vs. relying on overhead to program ratios to tell us a story of impact. Not to mention that different organizations need to have different cost structures in place in order to achieve their particular mission. I think we'll always look to nonprofits to be financially accountable and transparent, and I believe that is very important for the overall health of the sector, but I do think regardless of how we feel about Mr. Pallotta's argument, it's important to note that he has opened up an important discussion about examining the way we rate nonprofits and think about creating real impact.
Caroline Avakian
Posted over 1 year ago
Dan Pallotta: The way we think about charity is dead wrong
I'd like to add that I've worked at organizations where the quest to keep that overhead low for fear of getting dinged and given a low star rating on charity watchdog/review sites is a very big problem. I've seen organizations cut productive, exciting, innovative campaigns entirely that would have benefited so many for fear of getting that low rating that would have affected the program to overhead ratio that donors use to judge who they decide to fund. It is indeed demoralizing and unproductive for all. But as long as major donors keep logging onto charity watchdog sites that rate organizations based on the size of their overhead, nonprofits will continue to have their hands tied for fear of losing their funding. I'm so glad to see this Talk get so much buzz. I can attest to its power among nonprofit professionals since it's completely gone viral within the nonprofit community. It's a voice of reason that has sorely been missing from the conversation and I'm am thrilled to see Mr. Pallotta carrying the torch for so many that have been left feeling completely lost on how to actually remedy this endemic problem.