The Spark Conversation Series
The Motley Fool Foundation, in partnership with Ashoka, presents the Spark Conversation Series, which showcases social innovators – people the foundation refers to as “Foolish Rule Breakers” – and the creative ways they’re working to help Americans transition from financially striving to financially thriving. Spark Conversations focus on real-life solutions developed by social innovators who are making changes now that will impact those living paycheck to paycheck for generations to come.
“The idea behind the Spark Conversation Series is to better understand what’s actually working to promote Financial Freedom,” says David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool and chair of The Motley Fool Foundation board of directors. “What’s moving the needle that deserves more of our attention? But we also identify where there are gaps and where the opportunities lie to move from sparks to much bigger impacts.”
In episode five of the Spark Conversation Series, which was recently launched, Gardner and Ashoka US Director of Strategy and Partnerships Michael Zakaras talk with social entrepreneur Alex Bernadotte, founder of Beyond 12, about the work she’s doing through her organization.
Beyond 12 gets to the heart of social mobility and financial opportunity by creating a powerful feedback loop between K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions. Bernadotte and her team influence the national conversation about educational equity and student success by working with more than 2,000 students on 180 college campuses throughout the United States.
“It is possible to look at a child in this country and predict with alarming accuracy where that child will end up in terms of their educational and economic outcomes based solely on their race, their ZIP code, and their parents’ level of education,” says Bernadotte. “These are the gaps that fuel me as a social entrepreneur and are certainly the gaps that fuel our work and our desire to play a role in creating a society where race and income no longer predict post-secondary success and upward mobility.”
Previous episodes of the Spark Conversation Series feature social entrepreneurs from across the United States and from multiple industries and include Stacey Epperson, founder of Next Step Network; Brandon Dennison, founder and CEO of Coalfield Development; Alison Lingane, co-founder of Project Equity; José Quiñonez, CEO of Mission Asset Fund; and Priti Krishtel, co-founder and co-executive director of I-MAK.