Future Foundation Atlanta

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I’m about to do something I’ve never done—something I’ve committed to doing for personal, professional, and philosophical reasons. Next month, after 16 nonstop years at the helm of the Future Foundation, I embark on a three-month sabbatical.

What am I going to do during this time away? Relax, Reflect, and Recharge. Recharge so I can work as hard as I have, and as smart as I can, for the Future Foundation.

Why am I doing it?

On the personal side, of the 16 years, I’ve spent at the Future Foundation, the last three have been the most intense. We launched an aggressive strategy, along with a research study designed to transform our organization, our schools, and our community. I’m gratified by the results. I am proud of the shared commitment our board of directors, partners, and the entire Future Foundation team have co-created in the spirit of executing a collaborative strategy. Yet, our goals are big and the race as a leader is a commitment I want to sustain. Also, after being so deeply entrenched in the organization, I need to step back so I can come back and see it in a new light, to assess how effective we’re being, what’s working, and what can be improved.

Professionally, my sabbatical is an innovative opportunity for another leader with experience in the worlds of business, government, nonprofit and education, to come in, review our strategy from a different point of view, work with our senior team to assess key areas such as succession readiness, and provide insights on updating our strategic plan. The Future Foundation will benefit from the perspective of a different leader for a short period of time while becoming more agile and sustainable.

Finally, on a philosophical level, I firmly believe that as leaders look toward solving big world problems, they need to be confident enough to step away, and come back rejuvenated, with a new vision to tackle those issues. As a grass-roots activist and a leader of color, I have felt the temptation to work nonstop, twice as hard and as long as others. But that is a recipe for burn out and not being your best.

I remain thankful for my incredible Board and Advisory Board members who have fully supported this sabbatical and in turn, my leadership at the Future Foundation. Planned opportunities to recharge are the human equivalent of turning off your laptop, then turning it back on—a reboot that enables an upgraded operating system. And I am ready for my upgrade!

Until I return on January 6, 2020, I am leaving the Future Foundation in good hands with our wonderful and dedicated staff members. Stay tuned for more information on our interim Chief Executive Officer and what we’ve learned during this process! I’m looking forward to my time off. But I’m even more excited to return to see this incredible organization with fresh eyes and guide it with new ideas.




I just returned from Israel where I ate, prayed, fell in love with 50 of the world’s most beautiful souls. I was there as part of Reality Israel, an initiative created by the Schusterman Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization whose mission is nothing less than to repair the world. The purpose of the trip is to bring changemakers to the always awe-inspiring, sometimes heartbreaking, country of Israel so that they can learn about the vibrant, complicated region, then take that knowledge, and apply it to other communities in order to make our world a better place.

I can’t speak for the other participants, but I can say that for me, the journey was nothing short of transformative and life-affirming. On the eight-day odyssey, I not only made friends and got to know myself better, I also deepened my understanding of the complexities in the region, learned about Israel’s history, and re-committed to the purpose God placed in my heart long ago: to help people. 

Before I embarked on the trip, I set my intention to listen to others and understand what I was seeing, hearing and feeling. What I heard has changed my life and my outlook. 

While herding goats, I heard that we need to take care of ourselves, to be well so that we can enthusiastically lead others. 

While building and sailing a raft, I heard, “don’t be so competitive—sometimes the winners don’t ‘take all.’” Instead of competing, try to listen and understand these new people entering your life. 

Crossing through the Israeli countryside and seeing the most sacred elements of nature God created, I heard my hosts and my fellow travelers, and I felt my heart reopening to the kind of innocent love I felt as a child. 

I listened to an Ethiopian vocalist sing, an activist talk about Palestinian Trap music, and my tablemates pray as I participated in my first Shabbat dinner, and I heard the importance of building community through different cultures. 

I also listened to the stories of the 50 global leaders on the trip, the tour guides, and organized speakers, including one of the last few Holocaust survivors. I heard stories of trauma, evil, oppression, and conflict, but also of forgiveness, privilege, love, compassion, empathy, understanding, resilience, and peace. 

As the daughter of an Imam growing up in a devout Muslim household, I heard the synergies between the three religions while having dinner with a Christian and a Jewish woman.

Finally, as I walked through the desert praying on our last night in Israel, I heard the words God whispered: “We are ONE.” 

Through all of these experiences, I heard that each of us holds multiple experiences which build into our personal truths. As human beings, I believe it is our personal responsibility to listen rather than to shut down other people’s experiences when they make us uncomfortable or don’t mirror our own lives. 

I wish everyone could participate in a trip like Reality Israel. But I have to come to realize that you don’t have to travel to the Holy Land to learn these truths. We just have to look for the holiness within ourselves and each other. 

Wherever we are, we can expand our consciousness by meeting people where they are and working to understand the experiences that created their personal truths. As we work to create that understanding, we must also push ourselves to examine how the truths we hold dear impact the systems that govern our lives. Personally, on the trip, I found myself asking, does it make sense to argue or discount the story of a Palestinian’s woman recount of oppression and murder? And I found I had my answer: It’s important to recognize my feelings, but also to recognize the facts and the truths of systems in which people are marginalized, as uncomfortable as that may make me.

We think we have come so far, and in many ways, we have. But this trip made me realize that in Israel, and in the world over, we are still evolving, and we still have equally far to go. People are still becoming the first woman to perform a task, the first person of a given race to receive an honor. All over the world, human beings are still suffering. And wherever we are, it is our duty to help alleviate their pain.

I left Israel with a sense of duty and a sense of hope. Together, we have an opportunity to lead with grace, to create spaces where narratives that are different from our perspectives are shared and truly heard. We can strive to uplift those narratives along with our own and change the dynamics of systems that promote injustice and improve our world. 

Instead of focusing on making our own corner of the globe great “again,” we need to expand our understanding of what constitutes our world. We must listen to the voice that whispered in the desert, and understand that we are all neighbors. Then we will make our entire world not great again, but great at last.


RE: Notice of Intent to Submit an Application for the 2018-19 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant

In accordance with the application instructions from the Georgia Department of Education, Future Foundation submits a public notice to the community of Fulton County, its intent to submit an application for the 2018-19 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) After School Programs grant to serve students in the aforementioned areas.

The purpose of the 21st CCLC Program, as described in the federal statute, is to provide opportunities for communities to establish or expand activities that focus on:

Improved academic achievement
Enrichment services that reinforce and complement the academic program, and
Family literacy and related educational development services
Future Foundation is applying for the 2018-19 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant to support the following schools:

Paul D. West Middle School
McNair Middle School
Sandtown Middle School
Hapeville Charter Middle School
Hapeville Charter Career Academy
Tri-Cities High School
Banneker High School

We welcome input from parents and other stakeholders on the design and focus of our 21st CCLC program. Please contact Jerry Sterling at (404) 766-0510 or [email protected]

This fall TechBridge honored Future Foundation CEO Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim as the inaugural recipient of its Bill Bolling Nonprofit Leader Award. The award celebrates people who exercise original thinking and use the benefits of technology to address problems in our society.

“Qaadirah is recognized for her authenticity, innovation, and effectiveness as a servant leader,” said James Franklin, CEO of TechBridge. “Her collaborative approach as CEO of Future Foundation really unlocks purpose and ingenuity in those around her, resulting in higher performing fulfilled employees and more engaged volunteers.”

Having grown Future Foundation from a two-person team serving a dozen students, Abdur-Rahim has expanded the nonprofit’s work through the years to serve more than 11,000 students. She’s currently working with TechBridge and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, among others to empower youth beyond Atlanta to the rest of the state and the nation.

“I feel honored to have our efforts at the Future Foundation recognized by an award named for the fantastic work that Bill did for the Atlanta Community Food Bank and others,” said Abdur-Rahim. “It’s vital that we continue to help our youth recognize their potential and thrive in the face of challenges, so they can realize their dreams and create a brighter future for us all.”




For 14 consecutive years, 100% of Future Foundation program participants have graduated from high school and attended post-secondary institutions. On March 20, 2019, Future Foundation will celebrate Atlanta’s past, present, and future investments in education for resilient youth at its Keep It 100% luncheon.

Led by a host committee of Atlanta’s business and civic leaders, this signature fundraising event invites the metro Atlanta community to become 100% Circle Investors with the goal of raising $300,000 for Future Foundation’s remarkable youth.

At the previous year’s Luncheon, the Jean Childs Young Individual Leadership in Education Award was presented to Rodney Bullard, Executive Director of The Chick-fil-A Foundation, and the Ann Cramer Corporate Leadership in Education Award was presented to SunTrust Bank. Future Foundation chose these distinguished awardees for their significant investments in education for metro Atlanta’s most vulnerable youth.

Join us this year for Future Foundation’s Keep It 100% Luncheon, and join our 100% Circle Investors major gift society with a gift of $1,000 or more. Invest now and help us make underserved youth a philanthropic priority for Atlanta!

Keep It 100% Luncheon
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The Gathering Spot
384 Northyards Boulevard, NW, Atlanta, Georgia  30313

Donate Now!

  • Purpose
  • 2019 marks Future Foundation’s 18th anniversary and our fourth annual Keep It 100% Luncheon. The luncheon celebrates metro Atlanta’s rich history of philanthropy devoted to education and empowering resilient youth.

    The luncheon and the critical work of Future Foundation would not be possible without strong philanthropic support from individuals, corporations, and foundations like you. Our goal is to raise significant awareness and $300,000 for our mission to level the playing field for metro Atlanta youth through quality education, life skills, and health programs.

    Click here to download the Event Overview.

  • Leadership
    • Host Committee of metro Atlanta business and community leaders

  • Awards
  • Two awards will be presented during the 2019 Keep It 100% Luncheon.

    Ann Cramer Corporate Leadership in Education Award, named in honor of Ms. Cramer’s legacy of socially responsible corporate leadership in education and underserved communities of metro Atlanta.

    Jean Childs Young Individual Leadership in Education Award, named in memory of Jean Childs Young’s legacy of tireless advocacy for education, children, and civil rights.

  • Giving Levels and Investor Benefits
  • The Atlanta community is invited to join the 100% Circle Investor major gift society starting at $1,000 for individuals and small businesses, and $5,000 for corporate and foundation investors.

    Gifts of any size will make a remarkable difference. Click here to donate or contact [email protected] to learn more.

    Click here to download the full list of Investor Benefits.

  • Donor Pledge Form
  • Whether you are an individual, small business, corporation, or foundation, you may donate now or download and complete the Donor Form and email to [email protected].

    For more information about the Keep It 100% Luncheon, contact Future Foundation at (404) 766-0510 or [email protected].

  • 100% Circle Investors
  • Thank you to the current major gift donors who invest in Future Foundation’s innovative model!

    Major gifts at the following levels to be announced soon!





Donate Now!

To RSVP and for more information, contact us at 
[email protected].