Welcome to Emerson Collective.
We work in pursuit of a world where every individual has access to opportunity, health, and well-being.
We bring together entrepreneurs and academics, artists, community leaders and more to build solutions that spur measurable, lasting change. We work collectively to make the greatest difference possible.
five questions with:
Laurene Powell Jobs
Learn more about EC from our founder
2 min read
Why did you choose the name Emerson Collective?
Both words are very meaningful to me. I’m deeply inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s writings on our ability to transcend limitations that are placed on us by society. I love the word collective because it acknowledges that we are all at our best when we learn from–and work with–team members who share a sense of purpose and possibility. Like steel sharpens steel, we make each other better. With the name Emerson Collective, we recognize that humanity is bound together, and that we can create new possibilities by drawing on one another’s gifts and talents.
How did College Track inform Emerson Collective?
Working with the students, families and staff of College Track enriched my understanding of our country and the many systems within it. At its best, the public education system is an engine for social and economic mobility. But we all know it doesn’t always work that way. Education is not an isolated or siloed domain. It connects to a broader set of systems that touch people’s lives, including immigration, health, environment and economic opportunities. The understanding of just how interconnected these issues are was fundamental to the creation of Emerson Collective.
Why are multidisciplinary solutions important to addressing society’s challenges?
It’s very difficult to make sustainable and sustained change. None of the issues we are trying to address have easy solutions and making progress requires a variety of approaches. We work with domain experts with a breadth of experiences, insights, and relationships, and we use a range of tools, like philanthropy, investing, convening, and storytelling to build broad coalitions. As challenges evolve, we are nimble in our response and find that a cross functional approach often yields unexpected results.
Emerson Collective is structured as an LLC, rather than a non-profit, like traditional philanthropic foundations. Why is that structure important to the way EC works?
Dr. Martin Luther King said that philanthropy is a very useful and good tool, but it can’t ignore the conditions that created it. I believe that philanthropy is a very powerful tool for good, but it’s not the only powerful tool. Mission driven investing is a tool for good. Art and activism and storytelling are tools for good. The LLC structure allows us the flexibility to creatively use the best attributes of all these models to address emerging needs and opportunities.
What is your biggest hope for what Emerson Collective can achieve?
I would like Emerson Collective to be a place where great leaders come to do difficult things. Through our efforts, we hope to shape a world where people are not bound by the circumstances of their birth. Instead, they have the ability and agency to design their own paths – aligned with their highest and best purpose. We work to create equitable opportunities, and my hope is that we leave the world a little improved because we have existed.
Read more in the Letter From Our Founder.
Leaders from across the Collective share inspiration and new ideas during our one-day annual event.
Our annual Demo Day gives us optimism, energy and strength. This year, we hear from heroes in communities around the world, leaders who see challenges and are eager to test solutions.
They are fearless in defense of their ideals, seeking to end gun violence, safeguard the right to vote, protect Native lands and help the most vulnerable among us. They embrace art as a way to illuminate injustice. They seek to heal suffering and protect the planet.
We center our work on education, immigration reform, the environment, and health, with the understanding that the challenges we face as a society are deeply interconnected. Explore our Issue Areas.
We are looking for colleagues with the drive to improve the world and the audacity to innovate. View Careers.
Emerson Collective Fellowship
Our fellowships lift extraordinary people with bold ideas. Meet the latest cohort of EC Fellows.
3 min read
Today, our democratic systems face extraordinary threats: Voter suppression. Political polarization. Cultural divides that grow deeper each day.
At Emerson Collective, we believe that renewing the promise of American democracy is core to making our country and our communities more equitable and just. Only in a functioning democracy can we make progress on the climate crisis, build a fairer immigration system, strengthen our schools, and address the structural inequalities that perpetuate unjust systems.
That’s why, this year, we have selected a cohort of Emerson Collective Fellows who are working to strengthen our democratic systems, protect the right to vote, and foster civic engagement. This Democracy Cohort is a cross-disciplinary group of leaders—a journalist, visual artist, organizer, sociological criminologist, history teacher, election officials, and others—each committed to renewing the promise we all share to improve the American experiment.
Visionary individuals from across disciplines pursuing bold new projects.
Participatory Budgeting Advocate
Using the powerful tool of participatory budgeting to invite more people to transform the democratic process.
Training the next generation of journalists to report on and for people of color and immigrants.
Helping people, no matter their skills or background, find concrete, meaningful ways to contribute to civil society.
THE EMERSON COLLECTIVE FELLOWSHIP
The Emerson Collective Fellowship aims to encourage people of exceptional talent to advance bold new projects in Emerson Collective’s priority areas: education, immigration, social justice, the environment, media, and health. The fellowship gives individuals autonomy to advance their current work, pursue exciting new chapters with unknown destinations, and make lasting breakthroughs.
Voices from across the Collective share important perspectives and insights on our key issues.
Every month, join one of our incredible Fellows in conversation about the work they’re doing.
This month features a conversation with Emerson Collective Fellows Brianna Lennon and Eric Fey, who are working to help advocate for change in the election landscape.
As elections officials in Missouri, they don’t just run great elections—they are also dedicated to helping people understand what election administrators actually do. To create a platform for exchange, Fey and Lennon launched the excellent and informative podcast High Turnout Wide Margins, which is focused on professional development and connection within the election official community. The second season premiered in April.