The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced the launch of Collective Shift, a new nonprofit that will work to advance the legacy of the foundation’s Digital Media and Learning program.
With $25 million in seed funding from the foundation, Collective Shift has launched its first project, LRNG, which seeks to create a new approach to learning that combines in-school, out-of-school, work-based, and online learning opportunities that are accessible to all. The initiative builds on more than $200 million in research, design experiments, and demonstrations that MacArthur has supported over the past decade. Other supporters of the initiative — which will be led by Collective Shift CEO Connie Yowell, former director of education at MacArthur, and COO Jessica Lindl, the former executive director of Glass Lab, which is being merged into Collective Shift — include Arizona State University, the Gap Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Electronic Arts, the Fossil Foundation, the National Writing Project, the Schultz Family Foundation, and musician John Legend.
Over the past several years, MacArthur supported five Digital Media and Learning competitions designed to foster innovative approaches to learning, in the process making more than $11 million available to over a hundred projects. As part of its exit strategy, the Chicago-based foundation has agreed to support a final competition to be announced in early 2016. In addition, the foundation will award final grants to a set of existing grantees to ensure the continuity and sustainability of ideas and projects that were seeded over the last decade.
"The real scale and spread of the principles, practices, and products that have emerged from ten years of investment in digital media and learning require a new, more diverse set of investors and partners; alternative funding models and mechanisms; and a more entrepreneurial and innovative way of operating than is possible as a foundation program," said MacArthur president Julia Stasch. "We are making a bet on LRNG, and on Collective Shift, as a new model of a nonprofit organization, combining the vision and structure of a nonprofit with the business rigor, product development mentality, agility, and growth potential of a technology company."