Imaginable Futures, a new global philanthropic firm focusing on unlocking human potential through learning, launched today. Founded and funded by philanthropists and entrepreneurs Pam and Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay,
Imaginable Futures begins with US$200 million of capital invested, and an additional US$150 million for operations and investment over the next four years.
On today’s United Nations’ International Day of Education, Imaginable Futures is proud to affirm that education is a human right, a public good and responsibility, and a powerful force to ensure significant improvements in economic stability and mobility, individual health and well-being, and to unlock the innovation we need to build more resilient and thriving societies.
Imaginable Futures will utilize the hybrid funding structure pioneered by Omidyar Network that is a part philanthropic foundation and part impact investor. This structure allows Imaginable Futures the financial flexibility to support for-profit entrepreneurs harnessing the power of markets, as well as social and public-sector changemakers innovating to produce scalable change.
Imaginable Futures’ current global portfolio includes more than 100 for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations within the United States, Africa and Latin America with a focus on innovating in learning during the early, school and adult years. This portfolio includes early learning solutions in the United States like Wonderschool and All Our Kin; whole child-focused, blended learning environments like SPARK Schools in South Africa and scalable literacy solutions like Árvore Educação in Brazil; and next-generation adult learning models such as ALX and Laboratoria, which are developing critical skills and mindsets across Africa and Latin America, respectively.
“We know that learning has a unique ability to help people reach their full potential and become thriving, contributing members of their communities,” said Amy Klement, managing partner of Imaginable Futures. “However, in today’s complex world, skill-sets, relationships and opportunities are evolving far faster than ever before. This results in a need to massively rethink not only what people learn but also how and when they learn. Imaginable Futures exists to support bold changemakers who are doing exactly that—so that every learner has the opportunity, tools and support that they need to imagine, and to realize, a brighter future.”
With 617 million children and adolescents around the world unable to read or do basic math, there has never been a greater need for imaginative ideas and inclusive, collaborative leadership in learning. In the United States alone, more than 7 million children under the age of 5 are not fully ready when they enter kindergarten. Additionally, poor educational outcomes hinder millions of low- and middle-income adult learners in developing the skills needed to adapt, advance and prosper, as well as find jobs that support their economic security and mobility.
To address this, Imaginable Futures takes a human-centred approach. They recognize that learning starts early, is unique for each person based on their individual circumstances and that education and economic advancement can significantly change a family’s future for generations. Imaginable Futures focuses on the whole learner, understanding that healthy societies are created when individuals, families and communities can thrive.
With a drive to create systemic change, Imaginable Futures invests not only in the whole learner but also in bold changemakers. They also support ecosystem infrastructure, research and policy that benefits learners. The new organization works across public, private and social sectors to bring to life transformational ideas in local, national and global contexts for learners of all ages. Additionally, they assist organizations both strategically and operationally. With a deep commitment to on-the-ground partnership and co-creation with those they serve, Imaginable Futures is empowering learners, families and communities to be the changemakers of the future.
“I believe in entrepreneurial leadership and taking calculated risks for a greater vision—in my case for growing talent across Africa,” said Fred Swaniker, founder of African Leadership Group, which includes African Leadership Academy, African Leadership University, and ALX which are now part of the Imaginable Futures portfolio. “The team at Imaginable Futures has supported me in my vision and I am hopeful that our work will create the leaders we need to bring to life a better world for all of us.”
A venture of The Omidyar Group, Imaginable Futures is based in Redwood City, California with staff across the United States; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Nairobi, Kenya; and London, UK.