Our Work

We aim to tackle the crisis of value in postsecondary education by adopting a deeply learner-centered approach tailored to meet current challenges and opportunities. We need to educate, train, and reskill workers for tomorrow’s job landscape, keeping equity at the heart of all our actions.

We envision a future where education fosters racial, social, and economic equity, unlocking upward mobility for generations.

Our new priority goal: to ensure that, by 2035, at least 70% of underserved California learners will complete a postsecondary degree or credential that increases opportunity for economic mobility.

Our focus areas:

Advancing Learner-Centered Innovations: We will foster creative and effective educational experiences through learner-centered policies and practices. By supporting innovative and equity-informed approaches, we aim to empower learners and dismantle barriers with a focus on: cost/affordability, access, time to degree, learner supports, credit portability, and flexible learning environments.

Aligning Postsecondary Education for Economic Mobility: We will advance deeper understanding and a new narrative regarding the future of postsecondary education as a driver of economic mobility. Through research and convening, we will drive an actionable conversation about how to deliver value, improve access, and create meaningful opportunities for learners.

Reimagining Education for the Future of Work: We will ensure that education aligns with our ever-evolving economy. By reimagining and redesigning policies, narratives, and financing mechanisms to support lifelong upskilling and reskilling and increasing equitable opportunity, we can equip learners with the know-how needed for successful careers in changing job markets.

Our roles: As a funder and strategic thought partner with a point of view on postsecondary opportunity, we intend to play two key roles in the years to come: focusing the field by elevating ideas, innovations, and changemakers inside and outside public higher education; and brokering relationships between thought and innovation leaders, decision-makers, and expert practitioners with purviews in policy, practice, and funding.



Past Work

Our former strategy focused on increasing equitable postsecondary completion in service of upward mobility and a better life for every California learner—especially those who are underserved. Our work focused on interrelated areas that, together, can catalyze the transformation needed to ensure our education system equitably serves California’s diverse students now and into the future. Our bodies of work under this former strategy included Student-Centric Practices, Leadership, Finance & Affordability, and Policy.

In addition to these bodies of work, College Futures funded efforts to help build momentum for change in mindset, policy, and practice about higher education through our media grantmaking.

From 2015–2020, through our Community Philanthropy Initiative, we partnered with community foundations across California to improve the economic future of their communities by growing the number of strategic, needs-based scholarships and related student services so that community foundations could more effectively address their communities’ college attainment gaps.