Sep 18, 2023

What Inspires Us to Do Our Work — And Why Independent Schools and Colleges Matter

Education and nonprofit work is messy. Strategic work within this sector is highly complex, often involving organizational change and nurturing trust along the way. It is hard to assess our impact — and most schools and colleges don’t even know how to collect that data or define how they measure it. Why, then, would anyone commit to this work?

We often get asked why we do what we do. And, our answer is pretty simple. Independent schools and colleges possess the capacity to change the world. Full stop.

One simple vision has been at the heart of our work for two decades.

We inspire the potential of education — aimed properly and accessed widely — to transform people, solve problems and repair communities.

And, to be honest, independent schools, colleges and nonprofits are the best bet to realize that vision. See, it turns out that the most important asset for these organizations is not their program, faculty, or endowment — it is their independence. And, in a world where independence is threatened by oversight, policy, government overreach, and political division — independence becomes the most critical asset.

Think about it for a moment. Independent schools, colleges and organizations get to:

  • choose their mission, vision and values;

  • define their own distinct educational philosophy to mobilize that mission and vision;

  • set their own price point;

  • define their own enrollment objectives that are mission-congruent;

  • determine how wish to deliver their services, whether online, in person, in malls, in downtown warehouses.

Francis Parker once said “the work of the school is determined by the needs of society”. Well, society has a lot of needs at the moment and it is getting more complex all of time. Why independent schools, colleges and nonprofits as our focus, you ask?

I look to independent schools, colleges and nonprofits as uniquely qualified to transform people, solve complex and challenging problems, and repair communities.

My hope is that — while these organizations may not serve the largest segment of enrollment currently, that they will grow in the future, not for financial reasons, but to be more impactful and influential. Just dream with me.

  • Perhaps the cure for cancer is a seedling in in the mind of an independent school student.

  • Or, a small, independent college student will generate a systematic approach to ending homelessness.

  • And, perhaps, maybe a small nonprofit will use their independence to find a proven way to unite people and end the division in our world.

Yes, I have placed a lot of hope in these organizations. It is what drives us. And, isn’t hope what education and the human condition are all about?

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