After a period of careful consideration and deep reflection by our board and staff, we have made the difficult decision that it is time for California Tomorrow to close its doors, effective at the end of this year.
There has been tremendous growth in the education reform and educational equity field over the past two-and-a-half decades, and we take great pride in blazing a trail for and providing support to the many exceptional organizations and practitioners who will continue the work California Tomorrow catalyzed.
Over the past several years we have seen shifts in funders’ priorities in the education field, and the continuing economic difficulties have impacted many funders’ assets causing them to pull back considerably on their grantmaking. Ultimately we concluded that it was simply not possible for California Tomorrow to secure the funding we need to continue with our core programs and the new work we hoped to be able to launch this year.
As we conclude our work, we wanted to make sure you’re aware of several important contributions California Tomorrow is making to the field this fall and over the last year (all of which are available on our website: www.californiatomorrow.org):
We also wanted to let you know about an additional toolkit that we have just released:
- an Equity-Driven Systems Change (ESC) Toolkit, designed for the Community College field but adaptable to the PreK-20 spectrum. This change management Toolkit provides strategies and support to implement many of the concepts shared in the Educational Equity Framework.
We strongly believe that each of these contributions will continue our work of shaping the field and moving the dialogue and practice around equity and social justice in education forward.
We also wanted to assure you that the people many of you have come to depend on for consultation and thought partnership will remain available as resources to the field:
- Jhumpa Bhattacharya and Jimena Quiroga will carry on their work around robust approaches to supporting English Learners in Afterschool, equity and diversity, and student voice and leadership development, as independent consultants via the ThrivePoint Group. (They have also produced a accompanying Toolkit to support English Learner success in the Afterschool field.)
- Singhashri (Kica) Gazmuri will also be starting a consulting practice to support the Afterschool, Community College, and K-12 fields through equity-driven change management, strategic planning, training, and field-building.
- Anne Price authored the two community college publications noted above and is a vital resource to the Community College field with her expertise on issues of equity, access, and inclusion.
- Sheryl Petty will continue her work supporting the field to implement and translate the Equity Framework to various educational contexts. Her work will focus on sparking the formation of more alliances, networks, and bridge-building across typically disparate audiences in the education field. As part of this work, she is facilitating the development of the Transformational Educational Systems Alliance, which held their first meeting this month. Core leaders for the work have been convened to conceptualize how to move a transformative agenda in each of their respective spheres.
California Tomorrow has produced many important resources over the past two and a half decades, and we wanted to assure you that those resources will continue to be available to the field. Our website will be transformed into an archive of our work with materials there available free of charge. In addition, we are identifying organizations to house our archive of print resources. Information on where to find hard copies of our products will available on the website.
Reflections on the Field
Over the last year of planning, we have drawn several critical conclusions about what’s needed in the field going forward, namely that: the field is in great need of more collaborative efforts that help link the best of equity-driven change agents and organizations across practitioners, policy advocates, organizers, educator preparation programs and professional development, technical assistance providers, researchers, and funders.
These worlds are too often fragmented in their analyses, approaches to change, and constituencies (among other areas). And yet if we are to become a cohesive, unified field of progressive change agents, we have to undo the forces that continue to have us vie for resources, positioning, and visibility. We must learn how to more deeply link arms and understand the unique perspectives and challenges of intentionally moving a transformative agenda from public discourse, to policy development, to practice/on-the-ground implementation.
This new frontier of functioning, deeper understanding, and mutual advocacy is critical for the survival of organizations and constituencies committed to social justice and building joyful, healthy, reflective, socially and economically prosperous, diverse communities. We must learn how to better leverage and support one another. This way of functioning more so in deep alliances, collaboratives, and movement-building structures may also be a new frontier for the funding world, in that the goals, objectives, avenues of action, and measures of success for such work may be less familiar, but also more catalytic towards radically improving our collective well-being.
To the Future…
While this has been an incredibly difficult decision to come to, we are confident that it is timely given the needs in the field, the funding landscape, and our capacity. And as we look forward to new horizons, we are proud of the work that we have accomplished on behalf of students, educators, and communities across the state and across the nation.
Everyone at California Tomorrow wishes to thank all the people who have made our work possible—our funders, former staff and board members, colleagues, community builders, educators, and students who so enriched our personal and professional lives. We are incredibly grateful for your passion for the work and for your inspiration in helping our communities, the state, and the country understand more deeply what it means to build a thriving, diverse, and just society.
With gratitude and inspiration for the future,
California Tomorrow Board of Directors
Sheryl Petty, Executive Director
Susan Sandler, Board Chair
Sheri Dunn Berry