One year ago, the world changed. The COVID-19 crisis, unlike any other in recent history, revealed our global vulnerability and interdependence.

It also exposed and exacerbated deep inequities in our education systems, rooted in racism, colonization and misogyny. The solutions to these systemic problems that connect us all will take all of us. At Imaginable Futures, we won’t pretend that we know what all of those solutions might be. But, we are committed to working together to find out. And we know this starts with listening.

Valarie Kaur, American activist, educator and lawyer said: “Deep listening is an act of surrender. We risk being changed by what we hear.” And, indeed, this has been our experience. In a year of upheaval and change, we have led with listening to understand how we can help drive systemic change for all learners. Being authentic communicators is one of our core values at Imaginable Futures and one we know we need to lean into even more.

  • In Brazil, we are listening to marginalized learners and families and those from communities with few educational resources as they share how they feel curriculum, experiences and educational systems do not represent them and were not built for them.
  • In Kenya, we’re listening to young people who are full of hope and resilience and want to serve their community, but feel the education systems did not fully prepare them with the right tools, experiences and skills to thrive.
  • And, in the United States, we’re listening to remarkable parents who are heroically working to get a postsecondary degree or credential in a system that was not designed with their needs in mind. We’re also listening to the stories of essential workers — our early childhood educators —who are underpaid, under supported, and yet held to standards that may not consider their context nor the full context of the children in their care.
As a philanthropic investor, we acknowledge the power that is inherent within philanthropy, and as part of the systems that have perpetuated injustice. Thus, we are being more conscious than ever to step back, share space with our partners and help create spaces where trust and their stories can emerge
Amy Klement, Managing Partner, Imaginable Futures

As a philanthropic investor, we acknowledge the power that is inherent within philanthropy, and as part of the systems that have perpetuated injustice. Thus, we are being more conscious than ever to step back, share space with our partners and help create spaces where trust and their stories can emerge. We're also being more intentional to give up our own agenda, be informed by local communities and learn from local leaders who deeply understand the on-the-ground realities. We’re coming to conversations ready to learn, open to hearing whatever might emerge and willing to change based on what we hear, as Valarie Kaur so eloquently stated.

By leading with learning we may — together — find a pathway forward and solutions to the pressing problems that impact us all. We all have so much to gain from one another; there is so much power in collective wisdom. And, there is so much justice to be realized for the communities that have lost so much.

Finally, to our amazing partners: We want to extend our deepest gratitude for your fortitude, creativity, service and more during these incredibly difficult times. We continue to be astounded by the courageous acts and innovations we see each day. If we can be of service to you, please do connect with us.