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2019: A Year of Highlights

2019: A Year of Highlights
December 24, 2019

What a year! As we wrap up 2019 and enter a new year – and decade! – in 2020, we wanted to take a look back on some of the moments that reminded us how grateful we are to be doing this work to make education relevant, inclusive, and engaging for all youth – making them better communicators, collaborators, and changemakers. Because of you – our amazing supporters – we reached some incredible milestones in 2019! Join us as we celebrate some highlights and prepare for another inspiring year of empowering student changemakers in 2020!

Here are our top 9 moments from 2019:

The Bay Area World Savvy Festival became the largest festival we’ve ever held! We had over 600 students present their Knowledge-to-Action (K2A) projects at Mills College in Oakland, with student designs ranging from an informational virtual reality game to discourage smoking, charms made from recycled plastics to bring awareness to the plight of climate refugees, and a mobile laundry service to help those experiencing homelessness in San Francisco. See what one of our school partners in the Bay Area has to say about working with World Savvy!

We successfully wrapped up our first rural hub partnership in East Tennessee! With generous support from the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, The Chapman Family Foundation, and other local fundholders, we concluded three years of work with K-12 schools, higher education, and other community stakeholders in East Tennessee, and held a Pop-Up Design Challenge and Reflection Summit to celebrate. Watch local news coverage of the design challenge here!

Our First Pitchfest! Nothing motivates us more than seeing World Savvy student projects come to life! Three student teams from the Twin Cities got to pitch their K2A projects to a live audience at our World of Good event in Minneapolis this May – and all were given grants to help make their K2A projects a reality! Check out their projects here.

CEO and Co-Founder, Dana Mortenson, was featured in a New York Times article! This May, Dana traveled with award-winner New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman to Willmar, MN for a tour focused on the growing and flourishing immigrant population there, and how communities can come together to become more inclusive and supportive of newcomers. You can read the article here.

We launched our second rural hub partnership in Southeast MN! This June, we officially launched our hub partnership, United Community for Inclusive Education, with a Youth Leadership Summit! With support from the Bush Foundation and in collaboration with Somali Community Resettlement Services, we’re working with youth and educators in Faribault and Rochester to create supportive and inclusive communities and schools for Somali youth.

Susan Costello Tennyson joined the World Savvy team as our new Chief Program Officer! With over 20 years of experience in education and administration, Susan joined the team in September. We’re excited to have her lead the Program Team during this exciting time of growth! Learn more about Susan here.

Our luncheon with Tom Friedman! This October, World Savvy hosted a luncheon featuring the New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, who led a powerful conversation with fellow advocates and leaders about the importance of engaging, relevant, and inclusive education to our global future.

We hosted Teaching with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Bay Area and Twin Cities! Led by our regional program teams (using World Savvy case studies), this all-day, hands-on workshop provides educators a framework for their students to better understand global issues and to engage as problem solvers. Find out when the next workshop will be!

Michael Patton featured a chapter called “World Savvy Principle” in his new book, Blue Marble Evaluation: Premises and Principles! Launching last month, Patton based the chapter on 17 years of World Savvy’s work in global education applying developmental evaluation (founded and conceived of by Dr. Patton) to the field. It is an honor to be recognized by a preeminent scholar and thought leader in the evaluation field. Check out the book here.


Thank you for your continuous support. We are excited to share the great things we have prepared for 2020 and we hope that you stay updated!

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