The Social Sector’s Dreams for a Better World

By Ellie Burke
Reading Time: 3 minutes

“Dreams can become a reality when we possess a vision that is characterized by the willingness to work hard, a desire for excellence, and a belief in our right and our responsibility to be equal members of society.”– Janet Jackson

As an organization that provides a social solution, it’s important to have BHAGs—“big hairy audacious goals”—and share them in order to make your wildest dreams known. After all, the first step to making a dream a reality is to voice it out loud to others who will hold you accountable.

It’s when we voice the BHAGs that they suddenly seem a little more real, a little more possible. Before you know it, you’ve identified small steps along the way and set a timeline to achieve the previously unachievable.

At the Collaborative, we asked leaders to share what they’d wish for the social sector if they could wake up tomorrow and have one thing realized. Below are just a few of the BHAGs we heard—we hope these inspire you to dream big, too.

To Provide Access to Essential Services

[My] dream would be that everyone who is isolated in rural areas in the world would have the access they need to the most essential services and resources that help them to prosper.

Alissa Smith
Manager of Individual Engagement, Bridges to Prosperity

To Educate Students

If I were to wake up tomorrow with one dream fulfilled, that would be to accomplish our mission of educating 250 million students.

Jaclene Roshan
Director of Transparency and Data Innovation at Pencils of Promise

To Receive Unrestricted Capital

I dream a lot and I think a lot of organizations aren’t allowed to dream. We are not allowed to think big. We’re not allowed to have Tesla moments or Google moments…. We’re trying to solve problems much more complex than these guys in Silicon Valley everyday, and we need to think big and dream big. Honestly, my dream would be that in the philanthropic world everyone gave unrestricted capital­—that they took chances and bets on people.

Jacob Lief
Founder and CEO at Ubuntu Education Fund

To Facilitate the Emergence of a New World

I’m interested in changing the world and facilitating the emergence of a new world…. We’re at the end of one era and at the beginning of a new era, and the difference is profound.

John L. Petersen
Chairman of the Board, Charles A. & Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation

My dream is a world where everyone has access to clean water.

Nat Paynter
Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, Safe Water

What would my biggest dream be for the social impact space? I am hoping that social impact, social innovation, goes from being the cool thing to do to the way the world operates. That we think about impact in everything that we do.

Sonal Shah
Executive Director, Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University

To Give People the Ability to Manage Their Own Healthcare

There should not be an age and gender requirement for breast cancer. Anybody at any age, male or female, no matter where you live, what your income status —you should have the right to know if you are living with that disease. So, [my dream] would be having that go away and ultimately people just having the ability to manage their own healthcare. That’s really what it’s about.

Robyn Bennett
President, COO, Barbells for Boobs

To Alleviate Poverty

I think certainly the first [dream] is poverty alleviation and really solving some of the most major challenges of the world. Hopefully in my social impact space, every person’s answer would be to really, really change deep poverty and create a much better world for everybody.

Stephanie Berzin
Co-Director, Boston College Center for Social Innovation

It’s that all of the wonderful resources and skills that create all of these irresistible technologies and make our lives so comfortable, all of that energy and capability was also applied to making life better for the poorest of poor. That would make me happy.

Tim Prestero
CEO, Design that Matters

To Be Driven Out of Business

At FEED our end goal is that we’ll go out of business. That FEED will drop an E and become FED and that every person in the world­—that over 800 million people who are food insecure today, would have enough food to not just survive but thrive.

Lindsey Swedick
Senior Manager of Marketing at FEED Projects

If I could wake up and one dream would be fulfilled…it would be that none of this was necessary. The focus of all of our work is to not have work and to drive ourselves out of business. To the extent that we don’t have to come up with all of these solutions, and new innovations to solve problems, because those problems have been solved and people are working together in an empathetic and collaborative world—I think that’s success.

Greg Van Kirk
Leadership Group Member, North America Empathy and Youth at Ashoka


Join us at the 2019 Collaborative to take part in the conversation with leaders from around the space.

Join Us at the 2019 Collaborative

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