April 26, 2022 – Future of Work

CKF at ASU+GSV: Exploring the purpose and potential of each individual learner


Most Americans do not have access to an education that equips them to meet their potential. For the fourth year in a row, the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) supported and participated in the ASU+GSV Summit to help solve that problem. This annual event brings together entrepreneurs and innovators to discuss how to create a future where all people have equal access to opportunity.  

CKF Executive Director Ryan Stowers led a discussion with Zearn CEO Shalinee Sharma, Just Trust Associate Program Lead Aly Tamboura, Walton Family Foundation K-12 Education Program Director Romy Drucker, and University of Maryland Global Campus President Gregory Fowler. The panel went beyond discussion of the next wave of education technology solutions and focused on how to unlock the unique  potential of each individual learner.

Learning can empower people, Stowers said, regardless of “where they have been, what they’ve experienced, or where they’re coming from.” Unfortunately, “[T]he status quo has created all kinds of barriers” that are holding back people. While entrepreneurs are driving more individualized solutions, the panelists said that to achieve true transformation, innovators, business leaders, and educators need to build a new, dynamic ecosystem that respects the dignity of all learners, fosters a diversity of approaches, and is open to the free flow of ideas and innovation. This collaboration will drive better outcomes to ensure all learners can pursue opportunities that will benefit themselves and others.

“Change feels very possible in this moment,” concluded Drucker. “The questions that we need to ask ourselves as entrepreneurs, as funders, as other community partners bringing resources to the table, is how we can all work together differently, in more diverse coalitions to unlock some of that potential for students.” 

To explore how innovators can work together differently, CKF also hosted three morning sessions designed to help emerging entrepreneurs pursue partnerships that could help scale and bring their ideas to life. Each session featured CKF and Stand Together community partners from the SkillUp CoalitionReach University, and Common Group.

Are you an entrepreneur interested in collaborating to transform postsecondary education? Learn more about our partnership opportunities.