Press Releases & Announcements
College Futures Foundation Announces New Vision and Mission
OAKLAND, California—College Futures Foundation, a statewide strategic philanthropy focused on the power of postsecondary opportunity and upward mobility, has announced a new vision and mission statement to guide its work.
“We believe that securing the postsecondary success of students facing the most formidable barriers will ensure that all of us can — our communities, our economy, and our state,” said Eloy Ortiz Oakley, President & CEO of College Futures. “And we believe that the equitable education system of the future, one that enables every student to achieve their dreams and participate in an inclusive and robust economy, will be realized if we are focused, determined, and active in our leadership and partnership.”
Oakley, who previously served on College Futures’ board and as Chancellor of the California Community Colleges, a member of the University of California Board of Regents, and a senior higher education advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Education, stepped into the role of President & CEO at the Foundation in 2022.
According to Oakley and College Futures’ Board Chair Donna Lucas, the past few years have brought profound shifts in California’s education and workforce landscapes — including college enrollment declines alongside high demand for affordable, career-connected training, national conversations on student debt and mental health, and numerous other changes prompted or accelerated by COVID-19 and a nationwide racial reckoning.
“These changes have underscored the realities of how inequitably our systems center and serve diverse people. We know that the coming years will present equally significant challenges and opportunities, and that we must be well-prepared to meet these moments,” said Lucas. “With this in mind, and with Eloy joining College Futures at a powerful inflection point in the organization’s evolution, we decided to embark upon a strategic refresh process and chart a strong course for our efforts over the coming years.”
New Vision and Mission Statements
Over the past several months, College Futures Foundation has been engaged in the first phase of its strategic refresh process, creating a new vision and mission for the organization. The updated vision statement below provides a “north star” to guide the organization’s work, with an enduring commitment to equity, and opportunity through education, at its core.
Vision: We envision a California where postsecondary education advances racial, social, and economic equity, unlocking upward mobility now and for generations to come.
This statement reflects the Foundation’s perspective that postsecondary education is a vital force for advancing equity today and over time and generations, and that the benefits of postsecondary education—including its power to spur upward mobility—should be realized by California’s diverse learners.
The updated mission statement provides a refreshed take on the role of College Futures in fulfilling that vision:
Mission: Our mission is to increase postsecondary completion for learners who are underserved. We center learners and their aspirations and needs on the path to achieving their educational goals.
“We recognize the value of postsecondary attainment at many levels and in many forms to learners and the workforce, and our updated mission reflects an expansion of our postsecondary completion focus outside the Foundation’s previous focus on bachelor’s degrees to now include shorter-term credentials, which are in demand in the labor market and create opportunity for upward mobility for Californians,” said Oakley. “The mission also reflects our commitment to diverse learners who face outsized barriers to postsecondary success and are underserved by the state’s postsecondary system. It shows respect for the paths they are on and speaks to our desire to support them to achieve their unique educational goals.”
Aligning Process with Values
The strategic refresh process was designed to align with the Foundation’s values, especially those of curiosity and community, and the development of the new vision and mission was informed by perspectives from a range of stakeholders, including College Futures’ staff, Board of Directors, grantees, and key partners. Working together with Sova, a mission-oriented consultancy focused on postsecondary education and workforce development, Foundation staff requested input via interviews and a survey from grantees and partners earlier this year and received responses from over 90 people from across California’s postsecondary landscape.
“I wish to thank our partners for sharing their thoughts as we determine how our organization can better meet the needs of the state and its diverse communities,” said Lucas. “Our board and staff will be guided by the new vision and mission to align with organizations advancing equity and upward mobility for Californians. We look forward to collaborating with partners across and beyond the postsecondary ecosystem to create equitable outcomes for California learners.”
Moving into the second phase of the refresh process, College Futures Foundation staff will develop a strategy and articulate a set of clear priorities to bring the new vision and mission to life. These will guide and organize how the Foundation deploys its various resources and roles—thought partnership, voice, action, collaboration, convening, influence, and more, including via grants to partners—toward its vision of a more equitable California.
The new strategy and priorities will be announced in early 2024. In the meantime, the foundation’s leadership invites comments and questions.
Said Oakley, “We are in the process of becoming better champions, grateful to do so with the support and partnership of others dedicated to equity and upward mobility, and eager to act with the urgency and boldness that California’s diverse learners deserve.”
For media interested in interviews with College Futures Foundation leadership, please contact: Regan Douglass at 415.287.1822 | email@example.com.
College Futures Foundation envisions a California where postsecondary education advances racial, social, and economic equity, unlocking upward mobility now and for generations to come. Our mission is to increase postsecondary completion for learners who are underserved. We center learners and their aspirations and needs on the path to achieving their educational goals.
Established in 2005, College Futures Foundation uses a wide variety of human and financial resources and tools—including its average endowment of over $500 million and approximately $20 million in grants annually—to accomplish its mission.
College Futures Foundation: More graduates for a thriving California.
Visit us at www.collegefutures.org.