Part 2: Our First Steps to Deploy More Than $3 Million in Immediate Response

Q&A with Amy Klement on our COVID-19 Response
Amy Klement
Managing Partner, Board Member

In our

last blog post

, we spoke about how our current portfolio immediately sprung to action to support learners during our new COVID-19 reality as kids are out of school, families struggle to adjust to teaching and caregiving, and public and private schools, institutions, and companies try to support learners and families around the world.

In Part 2, Managing Partner, Amy Klement, shares the investments Imaginable Futures has made both within its current portfolio as well as new investments that will help those in need.


Question: Let’s talk now about some of the immediate, new investments made to support your current portfolio?

Answer: If there is one thing that is clear, it’s that we remain in a state of hyper uncertainty. Therefore while we are moving quickly, we are also taking stock, listening, learning and collaborating.

Given that the US was a few weeks ahead of our other key geographies, much of the work we share below is US-based but we also have started to deploy across Africa and Latin America. We’re thrilled share some of these projects and, more importantly, keep you informed as we learn alongside these organizations:

Through the Home Grown funder collaborative that we launched in 2019, we funded the Home-Based Child Care Emergency Fund that will provide direct financial support to Home-Based Child Care (HBCC) providers, helping to ensure access to child care for essential workers and ease providers’ near term economic impacts. Additionally, Home Grown created a Home-Based Child Care Emergency Fund Toolkit for applicants to use for guidance in deploying the local funds.

After launching the Rise Prize in early February to generate innovative solutions for student parents, in partnership with co-funder Lumina Foundation and our ten partners, we decided to extend the prize deadline to May 17 and increase the prize pool by 50% to $1.5M to support even more ideas that will drive economic mobility and well-being for this population. Stay tuned for winning solutions!

Q: How about new opportunities that you are funding?

A: Yes! We are thrilled we were able to quickly mobilize to support those working on COVID-related responses to support learners.

For example, in the United States we are excited to support Common Sense Media’s newly launched effort, Wide Open School, an online resource aggregating academic and social emotional content from different high quality providers and structuring resources into daily learning schedules. We are excited to support the launch of the overall platform, with a focus on the early years, and also continue advocating for connectivity for all children and families.

For student parents, we are funding Believe in Students' emergency aid fund that will be disbursed to student parents in need via Edquity because students with children have higher household expenses, and therefore increased emergency aid needs. Edquity plans to raise additional capital to meet the increased demand (read more on why we invested in Edquity). Also to benefit student parents, we are funding Generation Hope to support the organization’s programs and resources for students with children to continue to pursue their postsecondary degrees during the pandemic, including its Scholar Emergency Fund, remote tutoring, and technology donations.

And, we are funding the National Domestic Workers Alliance to support several new efforts to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, including building more support for child care workers as well as NPR Education to support their continued coverage of COVID-19, especially on the impact on families and student parent population.

In Brazil, we have teamed up with the Lemann Foundation to establish an emergency relief fund to support learners’ access to high-quality curriculum, along with infrastructure development, like technology platforms and applications. We hope this fund will allow for a lasting and long-term impact on learners and their school communities.

Also in Brazil we are supporting Journey X - Operation Antivirus, an online game that challenges teams of youth ages 12-25 to research, design, and implement creative solutions to attack the pandemic in their communities. The game is integrated with social networks so players can exchange experiences and virtually create solutions that can be applied in the real world by companies, government, and other partners.

In Africa we are excited to support Shining Hope for Communities, an organization that is working around the clock to empower 11 high-density urban slums in Kenya and catalyze large-scale transformation by providing critical services including health and handwashing campaigns, community advocacy platforms, and education and leadership development for women and girls. In addition, we are supporting Shujaaz, a network of social ventures based in Kenya and Tanzania aimed to inspire, entertain and mobilize 7.5 million young people across East Africa. During the pandemic, Shujaaz will play a critical role to ensure that youth voices and experiences are heard and elevated, and engage a network of young volunteers in community-level response.

Q: How much was deployed across all these investments?

A: Thus far, we have approved just over $3 million across the United States, Africa and Latin America for immediate COVID-19 support. Among these grants include $500,000 toward Common Sense Media’s Wide Open Schools, $500,000 for Home Grown’s Home-based Childcare Emergency Fund and $500,000 toward our emergency relief fund for learners in Brazil with the Lemann Foundation.

Thus far, we have approved just over $3 million across the United States, Africa and Latin America for immediate COVID-19 support.
Amy Klement

Q: Where do we go from here?

A: Here’s what we know: we have entered into a period of massive transformation. Change so big that it is difficult, if not impossible for our hearts and minds to take it all in. Thus, there is still so much left to unfold and so much we collectively need to learn and explore. We approach this crisis with a spirit of deep humility – testing so many of our previous assumptions and frameworks. We will attempt to stay on top of the challenges, keep learning, and continue to adapt our response.

What we do know is this: crisis presents an opportunity to relearn and reinvent. Let’s do this together.