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Realizing the Future We Imagine

We believe that learning is key to well-being and equitable and healthy societies. As a global philanthropic investment firm, we are unabashedly impact-first. We aspire to shift inequitable systems and bring to life transformative solutions for learners of all ages. We do this work in collaboration with partners across public, private and social sectors in Brazil, Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States.

Mission and Vision

We imagine a future of universal well-being.

We invest in people and ideas that unlock human potential through holistic learning. Together with partners, we are co-creating more equitable and healthy systems so that all learners, families and communities can thrive in a changing and interdependent world.

Our JEDI Commitment

Justice. Equality. Diversity. Inclusion.

Justice. Equity. Diversity. Inclusion. What we call our “JEDI” principles inform everything we do. They guide our beliefs, drive our strategy, and shape our culture, operations and actions.

We believe that equitable access to learning is central to healthy, just and prosperous societies. Every person—regardless of race, background, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, income, health and abilities—should have the opportunity to learn and realize the future they imagine.

We know that the racism, colonialism and patriarchal culture embedded in education systems around the world means not everyone has the same opportunity to thrive.

We work with partners to dismantle these systemic barriers and co-create solutions for learners and their families.

As a global philanthropic investment firm, we understand our power and our privilege in a system built on white supremacy, genderism and other forms of injustice. We are doing the work individually to change our own mindsets, behaviors and approaches. We also do it as a firm, working to shift into communities the power that philanthropy and impact investors have traditionally held.

Our Values

Every day, we aspire to be….
  1. 1

    Compassionate Changemakers

    Compassion for our fellow human beings drives us to action, and we push ourselves to have deeper positive impact with every action we take.
  2. 2

    Justice Seekers

    We refuse to yield to systemic inequities and work to ensure all people, particularly those who lack opportunity from birth, have the opportunity to fulfill their potential.
  3. 3

    Inclusive Collaborators

    We actively seek diverse voices and co-create solutions with local communities because we know we don’t have all the answers. We openly share our knowledge with others.
  4. 4

    Courageous Learners

    We are open-minded and curious. We take courageous action and, given the complexity of the systems in which we work, we accept failures. No matter the outcome, we will be mindful and reflect and learn.
  5. 5

    Authentic Communicators

    We strive to be present. We show up authentically as our whole selves and listen, question, and speak with trust, candor, and respect.
  6. 6

    Grateful Celebrators

    We cheer for our team, partners, and communities. We bring joy and we live in gratitude — recognizing the great privilege and responsibility we have.

Our Beliefs

Learning is a universal right and key to well-being.

  • We believe that healthy societies are created when all individuals, families and communities thrive.
  • We believe that unlocking human potential is inherently multigenerational, and learning—inside and outside traditional educational settings—can bolster well-being for generations.
  • We believe learning is a journey that has no finish line.
  • We believe all students are capable of learning and that the opportunity to do so should not be determined by race, background, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, income, health or abilities.

Learning must be holistic.

  • We believe that holistic learning cultivates knowledge of and relationships with self, community and environment.
  • We believe holistic learning recognizes the whole person—including their background, assets, challenges and more—and develops a sense of identity, awareness, agency, purpose, curiosity, belonging and emotional health.
  • We believe that transformative learning requires that parents, caregivers, educators and other community members be in relationship with learners and be open-minded to and model learning and unlearning alongside students.
  • We believe a safe, secure and culturally affirming learning environment is foundational to learning and a learner’s well-being.

Learning will only be equitable when we change systems.

  • We believe that the current systems in place are perpetuating inequity.
  • We believe that collaboration with the communities we aim to serve is critical to creating more equitable solutions.
  • We believe that healthy systems generate feedback and are transparent, responsive, resilient and that they seamlessly work for all learners and their families.
  • We believe we are part of the system. Therefore we must live up to our values to remain curious, adaptive and humble.

Our Story

FAQs

ABOUT IMAGINABLE FUTURES

What is Imaginable Futures?

Imaginable Futures is a global philanthropic investment firm driven by impact first and the belief that learning is key to well-being and equitable, healthy systems. We are committed to shifting inequitable systems and dismantling barriers preventing learners, families and communities from thriving and reaching their fullest potential. To do so, we collaborate with local changemakers and communities to solve complex education challenges and co-design solutions that work for those most impacted. With partners across public, private and social sectors focused in Brazil, Sub-Saharan Africa, the US and beyond, we are co-creating transformational solutions in local, national and global contexts for learners of all ages.

What is Imaginable Futures’ relationship to Omidyar Network?

Imaginable Futures spun off from the education initiative at the Omidyar Network in 2020. When we spun off, we brought with us our learnings and relationships built over many years, as well as our portfolio of over $200 million in invested capital. Omidyar Network is a sister organization within The Omidyar Group, also founded and funded by Pam and Pierre Omidyar.

As an independent organization, we have the flexibility and autonomy to invest and collaborate with partners to create more equitable, healthy systems for learners in Brazil, Sub-Saharan Africa and the US. Our association with Omidyar Network India allows us to stay close to India’s education learnings and innovations.

What is Imaginable Futures’ relationship to The Omidyar Group?

Imaginable Futures is a venture of The Omidyar Group. The Omidyar Group creates, funds and fosters a diverse collection of independent organizations and initiatives, all united in the pursuit of ideas that have the potential to create positive change in the lives of people and societies. Learn more about The Omidyar Group.

HOW WE INVEST

What is your approach to philanthropic investing?

Building on our years of experience in impact investing and venture philanthropy, we have recently added to our toolbox. This includes being much more intentional around equity, diversity and inclusion. And, it includes using a systems approach that will allow us to go even deeper to understand what is happening at the roots of these complex systems and ask: What patterns are behind these systemic inequities? In addition to being informed by local and global insights, this approach is grounded in looking for underlying patterns and being more holistic, collaborative and adaptive.

We are committed to using our resources and privilege to: [1] collaborate with changemakers to challenge and dismantle inequitable systems that are in the way of learners from reaching their fullest potential, [2] ensure that those most impacted are at the table co-creating and driving solutions that work best for their own communities, [3] uplift learning as crucial to individual and family well-being and critical to building more equitable and thriving societies and [4] prioritize impact first. We work across public, private and social sectors with partners concentrated in Brazil, Sub-Saharan Africa and the US.

How many investments has Imaginable Futures made so far?

With a global team in Brazil, Kenya, the US and UK, Imaginable Futures has invested over $239 million in more than 171 partners since 2009.

Our portfolio includes a wide variety of investments—from equity investments and multi-year general operating grants to smaller research and project grants—and our partners work reaches across Brazil, Sub-Saharan Africa, the US and beyond. Historically, we also made investments in India, which are now held by our sister organization, Omidyar Network India.

How do you source new investment opportunities?

We are always looking for impactful, values-aligned partners and for new ways to support our mission to co-create more equitable and healthy systems for all learners, families and communities to thrive in a changing and interdependent world.

If you are helping to change the future of learning, working in our core geographic areas and think our strategies align, we invite you to connect with us.

How does Imaginable Futures work with partners?

As a partner, we support organizations financially, strategically and operationally. We provide our partners with the support needed to ensure they are as impactful as possible. We aim to support the whole entrepreneur and whole organization by becoming partners in each of our partner organizations’ journeys and supporting their teams and development. In addition to our financial capital, we look to share our co-created learnings and insights among our global network of private, social and public sector partners.

HOW WE HOLD OURSELVES ACCOUNTABLE

How does Imaginable Futures measure impact?

With our goal of creating more equitable and healthy systems that give everyone the opportunity to thrive, we recognize our learning must be grounded in an exploration of how systems are changing and why. We are actively strengthening our learning and impact work as part of our systems approach, including what types of metrics and measures we can let go of, and how we can replace them with more meaningful information about how systems are changing. We believe our learning needs to be in partnership with and bring value to our portfolio, recognizing that those working with complex systems can see and understand things that we cannot.

How does Imaginable Futures make investment decisions?

Our investment process is agile and aligned with the needs of the organizations and partners we support. We make investment decisions following business due diligence and impact due diligence, including values alignment. When evaluating an opportunity, our first step is determining both strategic and geographic alignment.

We often invest early and are willing to take risks, knowing that making sustained change requires trying new things––and sometimes failing. We recognize the need to be able to pivot, adapt and respond to challenges and opportunities as we work to accelerate impact and shift power within systems.

HOW WE DEFINE LEARNING AND EDUCATION

Why does Imaginable Futures invest in learning?

We believe that learning is key to well-being and to equitable, healthy societies. We also believe that the opportunity to learn is a fundamental element of thriving. Too often, the current systems reproduce inequities and create barriers to learning, failing to provide the space for all learners to thrive, reach their fullest potential or even dream of the reality they wish to see. This is why we invest in people and ideas that drive holistic learning solutions and prioritize impact through systemic change.

What is the difference between education and learning?

We believe that learning is a continuous journey and occurs in the entire context of one’s life: in school, at home, at work and in relation with the community around you. Education is only one facet of learning as a whole.

How do you define holistic learning?

We use the term “holistic learning” to describe the type of experience that we hope our portfolio of organizations will create for learners, their families and their communities. Holistic learning cultivates the whole person, including developing well-being, emotional health and a sense of identity, awareness, agency, purpose and curiosity.

Young learners who experience holistic, whole child approaches that promote safety, mental and physical health, engagement and social emotional development have higher levels of academic achievement, are less likely to drop out of school and are more likely to build positive relationships than peers who do not experience whole child approaches. Further, learners who experience learning rooted in social and emotional approaches are able to manage stress better and have better attitudes about themselves, school and others (Durlak et al., 2011). Research tells us that these benefits are lifelong and result in reduced poverty and higher economic mobility (CASEL, 2021).

More about our beliefs about learning can be found here.

What does equitable learning look like?

We imagine a world where every person has the opportunity to build a brighter future for themselves and their community and is surrounded by a community support system. Where learners, families and communities drive innovative solutions that challenge and dismantle systemic barriers to learning and foster well-being. Where identity, belonging and cultural relevance are nurtured and built into learning intrinsically. This is what we are co-creating with our partners.

HOW WE LOOK AT SYSTEMS

How do you define “healthy systems”?

We define a healthy system as one that generates feedback; is transparent, responsive, and resilient; and seamlessly works for all learners and their families.

What do you mean when you say “systems approach”? How do you use a systems approach at Imaginable Futures to inform your work?

A systems approach is both a concept we use to inform our strategies and a practice we use to do our work in order to better understand and address important, though intractable, social problems in the complex environments we work in.

The practice involves deep exploration of the key components, forces and patterns of a given system as a way to identify leverage points or areas of energy that have the potential to yield positive, sustainable impact. In addition to learning from the best of current science and practice, a systems approach includes listening deeply to a wide variety of voices to help build a collective understanding of needs, patterns and possibilities. This differs from a more traditional philanthropic or impact investing approach, which may provide surface fixes that leave underlying patterns untouched.

Our systems approach continually reminds us that we are a part of the larger system, not separate from it.

How does JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) show up in our work?

We use a lens of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) across all of our work, both internally and externally. We know that, in order to create the systemic change that we want to see, we must use and share our privilege and resources—financial, social, network and intellectual capital—to catalyze partnerships, ideas and initiatives that drive equity, particularly racial equity. Internally, we are doing the work individually and as a firm to change our own mindsets, behaviors, and approaches. Learn more about our JEDI commitment and the steps that we have taken on our journey.