We hold ourselves and the work we do to high standards. At iF, we believe that the world’s most complex societal problems require creative and collaborative approaches to drive systems change at scale. As a Certified B Corp consultancy, we recognize the ripple effect that our actions have on our people, our clients, our communities, and our planet. We strive to adopt a mindset of abundance by creating shared value for our stakeholders in everything that we do. To hold ourselves accountable to our mission, we strive to make progress against the following goals and have developed a rubric to assess how we’re doing year-to-year:
People: Scale equity-centered approaches.
We commit to centering our projects and clients around antiracist beliefs, policies, and practices which drive more equitable outcomes.
Planet: Prioritize sustainable solutions.
We commit to choosing products, partners, and projects which reduce unnecessary waste and promote long-term, regenerative models.
Community: Create with, not for, community.
We commit to co-designing solutions with those who are directly impacted by the problem and who have the greatest need for change.
Centered: Approaches were central to the project's trajectory and outcomes woven in throughout the entire project lifecycle.
Considered: Was considered at times throughout the project, but was not central to the project outcomes.
Agnostic: Was not a central part of the project trajectory and/or outcomes.
Our story is unfinished. We have much to learn and so many new challenges to tackle. This impact report is an open reflection of our shared commitments and progress over the past year, as well as the gaps and goals we’re working towards. Through this effort, we hope to look back with pride at what we have accomplished, rather than regret at what we failed to do.
Challenge: Despite decades of reform and advocacy, students of color, low-income students, and students with historically marginalized identities continue to be underserved by the American public school system. For over a decade, Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS) has partnered with school leaders and staff to enhance access to advanced courses—such as AP and IB classes—addressing root causes that contribute to widespread inequity. With the availability of generative AI platforms like ChatGPT, a growing discourse on AI's implications and potential applications in education has emerged. EOS recognized the need to explore and understand if and how AI can be employed as a tool to foster and scale equity in K-12 schools.
Approach: EOS collaborated with iF to comprehend the current state of AI and its utilization in education, evaluating potential use cases that could aid EOS in expanding its impact. We conducted research, engaged experts in education, technology, and philanthropy, and worked with the EOS team to assess the current state of AI in education while generating ideas for potential AI use cases. Additionally, we partnered with EOS to develop a rubric to evaluate potential AI uses against ethics, EOS values and priorities, and current education and market conditions.
Impact at Scale: Our collaboration with EOS laid a foundation for the organization as it explores future pathways to incorporate AI as a tool for scaling equity. Our work ensures that equity and key ethical considerations, such as environmental impact, are considered proactively. The impact anticipated is not only to be exciting but also meaningful and measurable, influencing students' lives and encapsulating the essence of EOS's commitment to equity.
Challenge: CommonLit, a teacher-serving educational organization, faced an urgent need: to expand educational support in underserved areas. They needed a plan to intentionally scale their efforts, starting with a successful Randomized Control Trial (RCT), to unlock long-term success of national district recruitment and adoption.
Approach: CommonLit teamed up with iF to embark on a transformative journey. The collaborative effort aimed to provide a comprehensive district recruitment guide, a detailed timeline, and a project management plan tailored to CommonLit's mission. The innovative twist involved leveraging emerging technology, specifically an Airtable interface, to create a dynamic, state-to-state comparison dashboard. This interface included crucial data points, such as student demographics, access to technology, LGBTQ+ and culturally inclusive curricula requirements, all presented in a filterable dashboard for maximum insight.
“These resources gave us the strong guidance and tools we needed to kickstart a major recruitment effort. It enabled our small team to scale our efforts and make strategic decisions on how to approach recruitment, opening the way for us to launch a game-changing research study for our organization in the coming school year.”
Impact at Scale: The result of this collaboration proved to be a game-changer for CommonLit. The recruitment guide, plan, and interface empowered them to conduct a successful RCT and recruitment, setting the stage for nationwide scaling of their curriculum product. This work resulted in the creation of two valuable public goods: a recruitment plan focused on best practices for district recruitment, and a public version of the Airtable dashboard.
Challenge: Covid-19 underscored digital infrastructure disparities; digitized nations efficiently provided funds and services to their citizens, while others struggled. To address global digitization needs, BMGF previously invested in open-source digital public goods like Mojaloop and MOSIP. Recognizing limited awareness of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI), the Intentional Futures team was enlisted to unify understanding and explore leveraging DPI for societal benefits, such as remote learning, telehealth services, and rendering relief funds.
“[This work] has proven invaluable in facilitating productive conversations with our stakeholders and partner organizations, enabling us to collaboratively work towards improving the lives of people in Low and Middle-Income Countries”
Approach: We researched global digital solutions, focusing on India, Estonia and Singapore as benchmarks. We interviewed experts from Brazil, Germany, Nigeria, France, India, and the United States for a holistic perspective, avoiding bias towards developed nations in addressing the needs of developing ones. We engaged in iterative brainstorming sessions with BMGF stakeholders from various departments, enhancing our understanding of the topic through multiple rounds of collaboration.
Impact at Scale: As a project with a global impact, the effects of DPI build-outs will be realized in the coming years.
Challenge: Each year, 650,000 individuals exit the criminal justice system. One of the key indicators for a successful re-entry is employment, but finding employment can be challenging — many employers aren’t willing to overlook prior missteps. MOD Pizza believes you’re defined not by your past, but by what you do next. So much so that over 25% of their workforce are formerly incarcerated employees. MOD leveraged their purpose-driven culture to become one of the fastest growing restaurant brands in the US. However, success brought challenges, including how to effectively scale their culture in the midst of rapid growth. iF was asked to help them design a blueprint to activate their core values and embed them into the daily store experience to improve employee engagement and retention.
Approach: We partnered with MOD’s People Team to help them understand what systems were in place to nourish their culture and what opportunities existed to improve it. We guided the team in mapping exercises that helped them engage in authentic dialogue about which practices were creating fulfillment and which were creating harm. We also enlisted team members to create for themselves daily team rituals, routines, storytelling and symbols that would build shared meaning with the core values. By centering team members as the creators, we built a blueprint to activate core values that would respect the unique culture of each store and unify them around a set of shared beliefs and behaviors.
“This was like something I’ve never experienced before. It was so structured and visual, and allowed us to go deep and have authentic conversations about real strengths and opportunities.”
Impact at Scale: Team members possessed actions they could implement immediately, as well as plans to integrate the lessons learned into their 2024 people strategy, which included:
Challenge: The climate crisis threatens all of us, and the climate finance ecosystem is rapidly emerging to meet the need of the global challenges associated with the climate crisis. Citizens have historically been distanced from climate decisions despite the impact they have on daily lives. If communities are one again left out of climate action and finance decisions, the climate finance ecosystem could continue to lack transparency, accountability, participation, and equity.
“The iF team made our vision for the future of our work come to life in a dynamic way that stood out in a crowded landscape of new initiatives and garnered momentum for the GPSA successor, a new World Bank facility for civil society and social innovation.”
Approach: We partnered with the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA), World Bank to launch the Green Accountability Initiative to help citizens engage in and monitor climate action and finance in their communities. This initiative was an early pioneer for the concept of green accountability. We shaped the launch to introduce and garner momentum around this new term. We tailored the look and feel of the initiative to the target audiences and helped craft key asks for individuals, partners, and donors. Through the initiative launch, we were also able to lay the groundwork for the GPSA to rebrand in the upcoming months by incorporating elements that would become evergreen to their updated vision.
Impact at Scale: The green accountability platform offers a network of learning and innovation in an effort to foster climate finance accountability. Through the pilot sub-granting model, the initiative is providing flexible, accelerated, and targeted civil society organization financing in selected countries. This innovative funding model is the first step toward promoting transparency, accountability, and participation in the climate sector.
Challenge: gDiapers, a pioneering startup known for producing the only diaper designed to meet national composting standards, partnered with us in 2022. We profiled them in our 2022 Impact Report and are happy to report back on their efforts once again. Their vision garnered immense support and momentum from prominent development funders, including the World Bank. However, in 2023, they faced a significant hurdle in securing transformational funding despite this widespread and global support. This challenge prompted the need for a unique fundraising strategy to propel their startup and its innovative compostable diaper solution forward.
Approach: To tackle the funding challenge, gDiapers adopted a creative approach which iF had suggested earlier. They harnessed their own network and the thriving circular economy landscape to fuel massive philanthropic support. This approach led them to embark on a unique fundraising journey, stepping forward with their nonprofit to acquire the necessary funds. The ultimate goal was to be well-prepared for a critical date in 2024, demonstrating the efficacy of the gDiapers brand through a significant project in Samoa.
Impact at Scale: As we eagerly await the unfolding impact, gDiapers has already embarked on a transformative journey. By tapping into the philanthropic efforts of hundreds of supporters from around the world, gDiapers has already initiated their groundbreaking project in Samoa to be prepared for their vital future date. The project in Samoa serves as a tangible manifestation of their commitment to creating a positive and sustainable impact on a global scale.
Challenge: In the digital finance realm, LMICs face barriers to access to digital financial services broadly and equitably in ways that are affordable, safe, and can be flexibly deployed and utilized by local ecosystems.
Approach: Leveraging Mojaloop, an open-source Instant and Inclusive Payment Solution (IIPS), we helped create the conditions for support of digital finance solutions and productive conversations with LMIC decision-makers. This helped stakeholders consider the right information to make the most responsible choices for their people and local companies. Mojaloop, with reduced ownership costs, acts as a global catalyst, reshaping communities and shielding LMICs from predatory vendor practices.
“Instant and inclusive payment solutions are key to financial inclusion of billions of people, empowering them to live productive lives.”
Impact at Scale: Our collaboration on the internal strategy, external stakeholder engagement, and tool creation resulted in support for three additional deployments by the end of 2024, sustaining much needed global momentum. Together, we assured that Mojaloop has the resources to meet countries where they are and provide an offering that is financially sustainable for governments and useful to its people. As equity and community are at the forefront of financial inclusion, these were essential to our approach. Meanwhile, while our belief is that open-source IIPS are more ecologically minded, this ideal was not core to our approach.
Challenge: There are more than 10M active nonprofits around the world today and many are facing widespread talent and funding shortages. Nonprofits across all geographies and mission types need digital transformation in order to drive impact at scale, however most do not have the time, skills, and resources to put towards it.
“iF brought cross-sector expertise and a creative approach to help us better understand our customer. It sparked meaningful dialogue and helped us align investments to the real world needs that nonprofits everywhere are facing.”
Approach: We partnered with Microsoft’s Tech for Social Impact (TSI) team to conduct research exploring how AI can help nonprofits around the world. We engaged 136 nonprofit organizations to map common pain points and jobs for AI across key personas. We also built a taxonomy and rubric to prioritize AI solutions with the greatest potential value for nonprofits.
Impact at Scale: This work illuminated how AI can enable nonprofits to better serve their mission and have a greater impact in the communities they serve.
Challenge: Lakeside School engaged iF to lead their 3-5 year strategic planning process. The leadership team knew that this couldn’t be a top down process, it needed to be a highly intentional and participatory approach. We brought together students, faculty and staff, and parents and guardians to dream about the future of Lakeside together. Lakeside’s values are centered around inclusion and belonging, and in gathering community feedback, the school also asked us to consider how it might deepen its commitment to student mental health, consider emerging technologies, and double down on the best parts of what make them who they are.
“There is power in a school community coming together to dream. When students, faculty and staff, and parents and guardians dream, imagine, and collaborate to envision a bright future for Lakeside, we foster a shared purpose.”
Approach: We have completed two of three phases thus far, both focused on heavy community research and synthesis. In our first phase, we conducted surveys, focus groups, and interviews with students, parents/guardians, employees, and board members to develop a comprehensive understanding of Lakeside today. In phase 2, we facilitated a series of “dreaming sessions” with the same set of internal stakeholders to define the vision for the future of Lakeside.
Impact at Scale: Thus far, Lakeside community members have been excited to be a part of such an exciting—and challenging—process.
We scored all the projects we did in 2023 to see how well we’re stacking up against our impact goals. The following pie charts are a reflection of progress made as well as remaining gaps in our efforts to be more equity/sustainability/community-centered through our work.