Looking at where we are today and into the future we worry about the kind of life all of us and especially those on the margins can expect to have. This is not a feeling unique to us at the Foundation or to fellow BC-ers. People around the world are experiencing what is being reported as the highest levels of anxiety in history.

Most of the time it can be difficult to pinpoint the source of anxiety. We simply have a strong sense of its presence but it takes a while to uncover why. We are no different, it took us some time to be able to articulate what’s underneath into our Manifesto. We look around and see, an increasingly dynamic and complex world we live in and in stark opposite stand the somewhat latent and rigid systems we operate in. The gap between capacity (systems) and realities (people’s lives) result in tension and build anxiety. We worry, that as this gap widens and tension ramps up, the boiling pressure could lead to irreversible consequences.

Systems should be there to serve and support people, not the other way around. What we just described urges us to action. However, we cannot operate simply on feelings we need facts and data. In our day to day work, we focus on developing a deeper understanding of the whole person and population groups we hope our funding activities will benefit. We try to listen to their needs, wants, challenges. Our work also requires us to look closely at the three sectors and systems that have huge implications on people’s well-being: social services, health care, and education.

The questions we are asking are these:

Q1: Are these legacy systems as they exist today designed to best serve their end users?

Q2: If the answer to Q1 is no; are there alternative models to point to and explore?

We think the answer to Q1 is a firm no, and the answer to Q2 is yes and these models are still emerging.

As a private family foundation, we are not tied to any political or fundraising cycle and we see that as an opportunity to zoom out and ask some of these bigger questions. Because, if we persist on keeping our head down in day to day reactive work we can only see the trees and not the forest. That narrow vision can lead down a dangerous and wandering path and limit our effectiveness as a foundation, and our capacity to function as a society. Thinking big is the only way to pave the road to change.

With this post today, we kick off ALT FUTURE NOW, a new blog series of monthly posts where we intend to share details on how our work is meant to: surface, inform, encourage and propel the ground up transformational change.

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