2019 Annual Report Spotlight: A Long-Term Vision for Education

In the penultimate spotlight of our 2019 Annual Report: Build the Movement, we take a look at Capita, one of the EOP investees that employed creative solutions to help move towards a more equitable education system over the past year.

From a little office in what passes as a tall building in his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina, Joe Waters and his team are leading conversations and challenging leaders to help more children and families flourish locally, nationally and globally.

Waters, together with his co-founders Brandon Hinman and Grady Powell, founded the nonprofit ideas lab Capita in 2018 to explore how the great cultural and social transformations of our day are affecting young children, and to foster new ideas to ensure a future where children and their families flourish.

Work is changing rapidly, trust in institutions is weakening, social connections are becoming increasingly technologically mediated and the country’s demographics are shifting. These changes alone offer ample evidence that the future will be unlike the past. At the same time, few social-sector organizations are grappling with the implications of those changes or preparing for their communities’ future realities and emerging needs.

“We live in an age of acceleration, liquidity, and fragmentation. Our interest is not simply how children and families can flourish today, but figuring out ways to help the children who won’t be born for another decade and beyond flourish,” Waters says.

Capita’s framework for human flourishing creates powerful new influence to shape cultures and systems in which all children and their families thrive in the midst of great social transformations, economic insecurity, political uncertainty, and new technology. In Capita’s view, a life of flourishing allows individuals and communities to imagine and become what they wish to be with passion, purpose, and excellence. It can incorporate education, health, artistic and cultural assets, mental and spiritual well-being and the ability to contribute meaningfully as a citizen and member of society.

Capita is helping the philanthropic and public sectors mobilize for change that will benefit children and families. Systems meant to serve children and families were not built to respond to today’s dawning challenges and opportunities. Capita asks leaders, planners, educators and potential investors not only to consider incremental policy changes — such as adding preschool classes in a community or state — but also across a broader picture. What are the implications of rapid change for the future of children and young families in the U.S., especially the most vulnerable ones? How can access to quality early childhood education be part of more ambitious, cross-sector goals such as better physical and emotional health for families, job opportunities for parents, the availability of childcare and the contributions of art and architecture?

These are questions that everyone who works in the political, education, social and philanthropic communities should be asking to prepare for a future that will look very different from today. It’s why Voqal has invested in the Futures for Young Children and their Families forecast project. This pioneering work is a partnership of Capita and the nonprofit organization KnowledgeWorks — entities with the experience and systems-level understanding to identify the major trends impacting young children, and the implications of these trends on children’s well-being over the next decade and beyond. Taking a deliberate look at changes on the horizon — and at the opportunities and challenges they present — opens new prospects for innovation and action that are only apparent through a future-facing lens. This approach to planning empowers leaders to shape the future that young children will inherit and resist the notion that the future is out of their control.

Voqal believes this information is essential to reducing educational opportunity gaps. We are very pleased to support this effort and are especially excited by the potential impact of this work to ensure human flourishing into the future.

Interested in learning more about the great work of Voqal and its partners in 2018? You can read the full 2019 annual report here.