Interest Area

Workforce

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Our Thinking

We believe that innovation – whether it is technologically or organizationally driven – can happen anywhere, in any industry, region, or community. However, the foundations that support innovation are not accessible to everyone. We’re asking how to bring innovative capacity closer to those who are now left out and make the rewards of innovative ideas accessible to everyone. As such, our vision is to promote an equitable innovation economy, one that enables all people and their communities to achieve economic prosperity. 

Our Inquiry Areas

We seek to work with organizations that can help us better understand how to support sustainable, scalable approaches to creating equitable innovative capacity

Inquiry Area

Community-Driven Innovation

Many cities have systems in place to generate growth: skilled workers, high quality universities, entrepreneurial spirit, quality of life, ample infrastructure, and a base of venture capital that can turn new ideas into profitable companies. However, not everyone within these cities participates in or benefits from rapidly growing, innovative sectors. Not all cities become high-performance hubs, and not every hub emerges organically. Creating more equitable innovation in these communities would mean changing the systems that support innovation, so that more people are included in, and benefit from, rapidly growing and innovating sectors. 

Inquiry Area

Sustainable Financing of Lifelong Skilling 

Knowledge and skills continuously redefine barriers and demands within the labor market. People shift roles from learner to worker, and back again, throughout their lives – often wearing both hats at once. However, the burden often falls on individuals to pursue skills development, which can exclude those who don’t have the resources, time, or capacity to seek out the skills they need. We believe there are roles for individuals, companies, government, and philanthropy in financing and scaling effective programs. We’re interested in models that can scale on their own, while offering equitable payment arrangements to all stakeholders. 

Inquiry Area

Social Connections that Empower

Social infrastructure, which we define as the relationships and communities that shape the way people connect with each other, reflects an often unspoken reality: social connections lead to opportunities. While many people have strong social networks, they might not include the types of mentorships, advisors, peers, or capital that can open doors for great ideas and upward mobility. This lack of social capital particularly impacts economic mobility for those with low incomes, first generation families, and people of color. Today’s systems are not designed to broker new connections beyond our inherited networks. We believe that integrating relationship building with skills building will yield more meaningful participation in the innovation economy, and contribute to long-term economic prosperity. 

Highlighted Grantees

Black River Innovation Campus

The Black River Innovation Campus is a non-profit designed to eliminate the barriers of entry for digital and technology entrepreneurs and web-enabled businesses.

Pursuit

Pursuit creates transformation where its needed. Through their long-term intensive program, they train adults with the most need and potential to get their first tech jobs, advance in their careers, and become the next generation of leaders in tech.

New Growth Innovation Network

New Growth Innovation Network (NGIN) is a non-profit organization, focused on closing structural opportunity gaps to ensure that economically disenfranchised people of color, women, and neglected geographies are a core part of regional economic growth and prosperity.

Workforce Insights

Research
The Changing Nature of Work

In the spring of 2019, Siegel Family Endowment provided support to MIT Work of the Future and the Aspen Institute…

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From Our Grantees
Today’s Strategies, Tomorrow’s Workforce: Technological Change in the Workplace

SFE is taking on big questions about the future of work through our funding partnership with Future Workforce Now (FWN), a program…

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From Our Grantees
Grantee Profile: Peer 2 Peer University

The world of open learning has nearly limitless potential for breaking down barriers to entry and making the world’s knowledge…

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