2020-2021 Annual Report
A Message from Our CEO
Dear World Savvy Community,
The past year has tested our community in so many ways, requiring resilience and creativity, empathy and grace. With all of the tragic ways the pandemic has continued to impact our collective experiences, it has also underscored the deep and urgent need for global competence—collaboration, critical thinking, empathy, creativity, working across difference, and so much more. It has shown us that our humanity—and ability to thrive—is interconnected at every level.
Despite, and in many ways in response to, these challenges, it was a year of growth and renewal for World Savvy—thanks to you. With your support, we’ve doubled down on reimagining an education system that centers youth agency, empowers diverse young leaders to become impactful changemakers, and re-imagines K-12 teaching and learning to build the competencies for engaged citizenship and problem solving—locally and globally—empowering youth to take charge and create the world we all want to see.
As you’ll see throughout this report, the World Savvy team continued to innovate and grow our impact. We significantly expanded the depth and breadth of programming and resources, bringing 100% of our programming online by the 2020-2021 school year, and developed new programmatic offerings that expanded our reach to date to nearly 7,000 educators and more than 800,000 students across 45 states and 32 countries.
The team also transformed our whole school partnership model to provide robust support for online cohorts of educators and leaders within our partner schools. This has enabled us to work in virtual, hybrid, and in-person environments as necessary while delivering the same high quality of services—ensuring our partner schools and districts are able to deeply integrate global competence at every level of K-12 teaching, learning, and culture. We are building a world where all students have more of what they deserve, and see themselves as agents of change in a global community. It’s a world that values every student’s background, passions, talents, and interests—and centers those in their learning.
The growth of World Savvy’s virtual programming capabilities that breaks down geographic barriers, increased breadth, depth, and quality of our programming, and generous investments in organizational capacity and excellence over the past year have positioned us well to achieve our ambitious Vision 2035: to engage a network of 10,000 K-12 schools in diverse geographies across the US, reaching an estimated 5 million students. This will ensure that we reach a critical mass in this work by 2035 that changes discourse across the country about what constitutes a quality education—that helps all kids thrive and become engaged citizens and changemakers in their communities.
All of this was only possible because of the people who power this movement. Our growing staff, network of amazing partners, school leaders, educators and students, and our donors and supporters. Your individual commitments to this work make all of this possible, and is the key to World Savvy’s continued growth and impact in the coming years.
Today, despite all of the challenges and even heartache of the past year, I am looking ahead with hope and excitement. The big challenges of our time—climate strife, health crises, reckoning with injustice and inequity—have started important conversations around what is necessary to meet this moment. They have spurred creativity, generosity, and increased collaboration toward solving big problems. And they have highlighted the importance of encouraging and supporting youth as engaged citizens and changemakers in their communities.
Thank you for being a part of this movement. Together, we are creating the world we want to see.
“The past year has been one of the most disruptive and challenging in our history. As we confront multiple pandemics in every corner of the world, from health crises, to racial inequity, to climate change, and more, we know that World Savvy’s work is urgently needed to meet this moment.”
– Dana Mortenson, Co-founder and CEO of World Savvy
World Savvy educates and engages youth to learn, work, and thrive as responsible global citizens.
World Savvy envisions a K-12 education system that prepares all students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions for success and active engagement in the global community.
World Savvy’s Vision 2035
BY 2035, WORLD SAVVY’S GOAL IS TO ENGAGE A NETWORK OF 10,000 K12 SCHOOLS IN DIVERSE GEOGRAPHIES ACROSS THE US, REACHING AN ESTIMATED 5 MILLION STUDENTS.
We will leverage the learning and impact in this network of schools to change the discourse nationally on what constitutes a ‘quality’ education. We are creating a future-ready K12 system that deeply and equitably prepares young people for life as engaged citizens, thriving professionals, and global problem solvers.
KEY AREAS OF FOCUS ON THE PATH TO 10K SCHOOLS
To continue our learning and leadership in the field of global competence in education, it is vital to deepen partnerships across the globe.
Post Secondary Collaboration
We will build out the network of higher education partners embedding this into practice, and position them to champion reform in teacher preparation.
Expanding our geographic and programmatic impact will require engaging partners from across sectors: nonprofit, research and corporate partners.
Research + Evaluation + Field Building
We will invest resources in deepening our research and evaluation to contribute to field building, to shift the discourse on what constitutes a quality education in the US.
GROWTH IN WORLD SAVVY SCHOOL PARTNERSHIPS
In FY22, we are launching the Vision 2035 Fund to fund the infrastructure and support for significant growth over the next decade – powering a movement across sectors and stakeholders to re-imagine education for a diverse and interconnected world. This is a five year campaign engaging our diverse community in building the future of this work.
With strategic investments in staff growth and increased earned income year-over-year, World Savvy conservatively anticipates building a thriving network of 10,000 school partners by FY33. This will ensure that we reach a critical mass in this work by 2035 that changes discourse across the country about what constitutes a quality education—that helps all kids thrive and become engaged citizens and changemakers in their communities.
“During these past 5 years, World Savvy has helped me guide my students through a variety of student led projects…the result has been student empowerment. This has happened through their discovery that their own lives are expressions of the very concept, values, behaviors and skills found in the Global Competence Matrix.”
– Daniel Aamot, World Savvy Educator, Minneapolis, MN
The world is changing, and educators need the freedom and the resources to help our systems of learning change along with it. We can only rise to meet our biggest challenges if our students learn to think through complex problems, and design solutions from a global perspective. It is crucial that students learn the skills needed to thrive in a connected globe. Problem-solving, comfort with ambiguity, collaboration, empathy, critical thinking — all are essential tools in today’s global knowledge economy. And a big part of educational equity is ensuring all students have access to those tools.
Through our partnerships with districts and schools, and through our work with talented, dedicated educators and school leaders, World Savvy integrates global competence into student learning.
World Savvy is building a world where all students have more of what they deserve, and see themselves as agents of change in a global community. It’s a world that values every student’s background, passions, talents, and interests — and centers those in their learning.
“The importance of a globally competent person covers your social-emotional side. It’s being trauma sensitive. It’s being ready for the changing world that we live in. It’s being able to connect and build relationships with anyone that you meet. And it’s really about building empathy which the world needs more right now.”
– Cindy Derrane, Assistant Principal, Norwood High School, Norwood, MA
What We Do
In increasingly diverse, interconnected, and complex communities, students need global competence to be prepared for learning, work, and life. World Savvy is building the capacity of the next generation to adapt and thrive in a world of change.
We accomplish this critical work through partnerships with:
Our Commitment to Equity
At World Savvy, we believe there is a direct connection between prioritizing global competence and centering equity. This work helps schools more equitably serve all students, and create environments that honor and elevate their identities and perspectives as assets in learning. And this approach goes beyond the classroom: It helps students of all identities prepare themselves to succeed in the modern global economy and as active community members. Education should reflect and grapple with the reality of students’ lived experiences, connect them to issues and topics they care about, and prepare them to do something about those ideas — while in school, after graduation, and throughout their lives.
Advancing this mission every day, year after year, requires work. Individual and collective work to build empathy, cross-cultural communication and collaboration skills, appreciation and respect for multiple perspectives and differences, and critical thinking that demands that we interrogate long standing assumptions and entrenched beliefs; both in ourselves, and reflected by and enshrined in the systems all around us. To confront how systemic injustice and white supremacy have shaped institutions, blocked progress and often warped our understanding of the most consequential issues impacting our communities and our country.
Toward that end, we are committed to constant reflection, learning, and work to ensure that, as we grow, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice are central to how we do this important work. We are committed to:
- Engaging in honest and dynamic discourse on diversity, equity, inclusion and justice;
- Rigorously examining our practices, learning to recognize how our organization perpetuates inequitable norms, and establishing decision-making and operational expectations that firmly act in opposition to inequity;
- Identifying and supporting partners in the communities where we work, and where systemic racism has had extraordinarily adverse impacts, and centering their voices in our decision making;
- Cultivating an inclusive working environment in which every employee feels comfortable expressing their full identity and are supported by leadership.
While we recognize and affirm that this work is not and can never be a list to check off, we affirm the importance of accountability and transparency in this work. This is why we share that, over the past year, World Savvy has done the following to advance our commitment to center Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice in our work:
- Diversifying staff and consultants
- Staff diversity increased from 33% to 43% BIPOC
- All new operations consultants identified as BIPOC, women, and/or immigrants
- Board diversity increased by 10% and we are on track to meet our 50% BIPOC goal in FY22
- Engaged our Board in the Intercultural Development Index (IDI)
- Led multiple book studies around equity, including one for the Board of Directors, and expanded our Program Team’s individual and collective learning around DEIJ
- Significantly increased budget allocations for DEIJ work
- Engaged our whole team in a 21 Days of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Challenge from The Winters Group
- Prepared for the launch of a DEIJ Task Force comprised of staff to guide work for the organization in FY22 + FY23
- Built infrastructure to track DEIJ efforts internally and at the board level, enriched staff data collection around inclusion and engagement
In 2022, we will be sharing our DEIJ statement and tools to transparently track our progress against these goals, via our website. We welcome and anticipate feedback from our community as we continue to deepen our own learning and develop accountability mechanisms, and appreciate every opportunity to learn and grow.
“The youths, especially, learned a lot. The youths from Rochester actually are working on their own projects that they are going to extend or build it, and also the youths in Faribault are so excited and gaining so many skills from the leadership program.”
– Sharif Hared, Executive Director of the Somali Community Resettlement Services, Minneapolis, MN
When the 2020-21 school year began, we had no idea what to expect. We had just come out of one of the most unprecedented years ever, with disruptions and challenges in education and the wider world we hadn’t imagined. Thanks to the incredible support of donors and funders over the previous summer, we entered the new school year fully equipped to conduct all World Savvy programming virtually, and to support educators and students whatever the new school year brought. The demand was incredible, and we were so grateful to be in a place to meet it.
The last year has been one of many challenges, yet also one of many successes. The shift to virtual during the pandemic spurred change in our programs in a way that broke down geographic barriers like virtual workshops and micro-credentials, and our World Savvy Program Team worked to be supportive and responsive to our school partners and educators as the demands they faced shifted. Throughout the school year, we not only saw an increase of interest in school partnerships but we also kicked off new school partnerships like Norwood Public Schools in MA and Jefferson Global Studies and Humanities Magnet Partnership in MN, and started partnerships with national education organizations like Education First and EXPLR Media. Our team turned challenges into opportunities in the midst of disruption in our education system, and we are excited about the growth in the coming years to create a future-ready K-12 system that deeply and equitably prepares young people for life as engaged citizens, thriving professionals, and global problem solvers.
Featured School Partners
World Savvy partners with educators to prepare students to tackle real-world, complex challenges. As a result, World Savvy students become thoughtful, collaborative changemakers who know more, care more, and do more to create positive change in their communities and the world.
Norwood Public Schools Partnership
Last July, we kicked off a cohort based learning model with educators from Norwood Public Schools in Norwood, MA. As a result of the partnership, 95% of educators indicated that they developed an understanding of Global Competence and its importance in their classroom, school and society. A second learning cohort kicks off work this July as work continues to expand across the district.
Jefferson Global Studies and Humanities Magnet Partnership
Over the course of the spring and fully launching this June, we began a three year partnership with Jefferson Global Studies and Humanities Magnet School in Minneapolis, MN to support their transition to a global studies focus under the district’s Comprehensive District Design. A June workshop with the whole school introduced Global Competence in more detail and launched a middle school cohort to begin more deeply embedding World Savvy’s approach into their upcoming units. Work with elementary educators is slated to begin in the upcoming school year.
Our Impact on Educators
“We’re seeing how the Sustainable Development Goals from the UN combined with the case studies that are developed by World Savvy worked together to inspire not only our students but our staff to do this. It’s really nice to see these conversations growing about social justice, human rights, climate change, and they’re coming from different sections of the school…We’re really starting to see it grow across our curriculum.”
– Margo Fraczek, Principal at Coakley Middle School, Norwood, MA
World Savvy is entering a phase of incredible organizational growth, and this means that we are investing in this growth both on a National and Regional level. We are currently in the process of identifying individuals to step into two critical roles for the region – the Engagement Director – West and the Regional Executive Director – Western Region. The latter is the individual who will be stepping into my role as I transition out of the Bay Area Executive Director role, and into a National Strategic Projects role at World Savvy over the next four months. In the meantime, I will be focused on leading the Bay Area region and supporting the hiring and onboarding of the Engagement Director and the Regional Executive Director to ensure we are positioned well for an incredibly successful year in the Bay and the Western Region.
If there is one thing that is clear after this year it is that World Savvy’s work is more urgent than ever, and partnerships like yours are exactly what World Savvy needs to ensure that collectively, we are making sustainable shifts in education. The end goal being that all graduates are positioned to tackle global challenges, and do so with the skills, behaviors, and attitudes of a change agent. Someone who thinks critically, works collaboratively, and leads empathetically. If everyone approached their life this way, imagine what we could do together?
Thank you for being with us every step of the way. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this incredible World Savvy community.
Eliza Skinner O’Meara
“It’s definitely the most comprehensive professional development experience I’ve had that deals with world problems and 21st century skills, and really what a lot of our students are most concerned about. I think a lot of times what we’re teaching them are skills that get them into college and not necessarily skills for how they’re going to be able to solve problems in a more complex future.”
– Sue Campbell, World Savvy Educator at Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
I’m proud of what our program staff accomplished over the last year in partnership with educators under challenging circumstances. Shifting to remote learning and back again has uncovered unimaginable challenges and because our Whole School Partnerships are designed to be executed arm in arm with school leaders and educators, we’ve supported them in reimagining education through a more equitable lens.
Educator and student engagement show us how World Savvy’s programming is working – our programs make teaching and learning real, experiential, and relevant for a changing world. As a result, students acquire the kind of knowledge, skills, and dispositions that not only prepare them for college, career, and life in a global society, but help them identify as global citizens who are motivated to contribute as engaged citizens for our world. Our educators consistently report that the students who they struggle to engage in traditional academics are the very students who excel when engaged in our global competence projects and learning. As one World Savvy educator said, “It was so exciting to see the students work so hard and to create something they were proud of.” Because of the hard work of our program team and the effectiveness of our program, we are heading into the coming school year with our largest ever portfolio of work in the Midwest Region!
World Savvy has conscientious growth plans in place: adding staff in the Midwest Region, focusing on strategic partnerships, and so much more. World Savvy will rise to meet whatever lies ahead. As we look out at the issues before us as a global community — from the climate crisis to racial equity to global health to poverty and economic insecurity — World Savvy’s work is more urgent than ever before. Your partnership in sustainable shifts in education towards actually preparing graduates to thrive as problem solvers and change agents ready to not only tackle these global challenges, but contribute to more peaceful, inclusive and sustainable communities at home is exactly what we need, right now.
I’m so glad you’re on this journey with us!
“We’re now more than ever committed to prepare our students for success in STEM. World Savvy has helped Heritage Academy advance its work and build cultural, global competence by working with us to explore our professional learning capacity, which will make it easier to get our students to be STEM literate.”
– Michael Luseni, Principal at Heritage Academy, Minneapolis, MN
Thanks to generous donors and partnership work, World Savvy continues to be on solid financial footing, enabling us to invest in growth and capacity-building toward our Vision 2035.
Statement of Financial Position
|Total Accounts & Pledges Receivable||$5,278,541|
|Total Other Current Assets||$29,002|
TOTAL ASSETS: $6,503,583
LIABILITIES & NET ASSETS
|Total Accounts Payable & Accrued Expense||$67,175|
|Total Accounts & Pledges Receivable||$175,100|
|Line of Credit||$250,000|
TOTAL NET ASSETS
TOTAL LIABILITIES & ASSETS: $6,503,583
Statement of Activity
*FY21 revenue includes capacity building gifts toward World Savvy’s Vision 2035 Campaign. Many of these gifts are pledges booked in FY21 that will provide support in coming years.
Allocation of Expenses FY21
*Higher than average administrative expenses in FY21 was a result of capacity building activities toward organizational and program growth. With significant program expansion already realized in early FY22, we anticipate ratios of spending on programs versus administrative expenses will return to normal moving forward.
5-Year Net Assets
*amount in United States Dollar
World Savvy thrives based on the efforts of our talented staff, who are passionate about education and believe in the critical importance of developing global citizenship, knowledge and skills.
World Savvy is guided by various Boards who help to shape the vision, programming, and impact of our work. These Boards are comprised of a diverse group of individuals with expertise and experience across sectors who share a common belief about the urgency of World Savvy’s mission and work.