Three themes: the future of work, rebuilding education, and the limitations of philanthropy.

I recently participated in “A Conversation with Futurists” discussion as part of FPP 20/20, the Florida Prosperity Partnership’s Twelfth Annual Financial Capability Training Conference. My co-futurists were Dale Brill of the Foundation for Orlando’s Future and Daniel Williams of Legacy Consulting Services. Our 90 minute session addressed immediate and long term challenges facing communities. Three themes emerged from our conversation: the future of work, rebuilding education, and the limitations of philanthropy.

Future of Work

Work as it was known in the last century is already being disrupted through automation. In the wake of COVID-19 however, technological job loss will be further impacted by a service and hospitality industry that may take years to recover from the economic shutdown. In light of this job catastrophe it is vital that we expand our definition of “work” beyond employment and expand the ability of the market to see value in all creative endeavors.

Rebuilding Education

The global pandemic has put a harsh spotlight on the realities of education in America. Public education was developed for an industrial age society that no longer exists and has disintegrated to a point that it abuses the best teachers and reduces children to statistical analysis. In this century, the foundation of education must become human flourishing that values teachers, drives creativity, and inspires lifelong curiosity. Modern education should be a life-long journey that is easily accessible at any life stage, by everyone.

Limitations of Philanthropy

For too long, philanthropy has maintained limiting practices that hinder solutions to social challenges. Aversions to overhead and scale combined with decades of conservative grant practices have left communities unable to dream big enough to actually solve problems. The resulting system has become what Dan Pallotta dubbed “the flat org chart” and is incapable of meeting community needs. Sustained business shutdowns are showing us there will never be enough philanthropic money to solve problems through program focused funding. Creative philanthropy must invest in organizational infrastructure by funding people and encouraging scale.

By investing in infrastructure, local communities will be primed to nurture expanding definitions of work and play a key role in facilitating modern education.

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