In 2001, Shareef Abdur-Rahim started the Future Foundation to help level the playing field for students in Atlanta’s underserved schools. After winning athletic scholarships to the University of California, Berkeley, Shareef, and his sister, Future Foundation CEO Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim, realized that their high school education had left them unprepared for higher learning.
The organization began as an afterschool program for 15 students and has grown into a network serving over 500 middle and high school students in the South Fulton community through afterschool classes, family support workshops, and corporate mentorships. It’s also a highly successful, easily quantifiable, and replicable model that has the potential to disrupt poverty the world over.
The statistics speak for themselves: 100 percent of the Future Foundation students graduate from high school—compared to 80.6% of their school peers—and most go on to higher education.
Functioning as our students’ Second Family, the Future Foundation supports them not only academically, but in any way necessary. Our carefully collected data, coordinated network, and innovative thinking make us nimble enough to respond to any crisis in our students’ lives—during the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, we shifted from in-person after school programs to providing laptops, counseling, and 5100 meals to our students and their families in order to keep them healthy, engaged, learning, and growing to their full potential.
and In the Black
As our students succeed against the odds, so does the Foundation itself. Only 14 percent of the nonprofits in this country ever raise more than $1 million in revenue. But the Future Foundation has maintained revenue of over $2 million for ten years, despite racist inequalities in philanthropic investment. That example of success despite adversity “is really, honestly, the story of our students,” says Future Foundation CEO James Tyson. “They’re under-invested in. But they’re so resilient, and if their intellect is tapped into, who knows if they could solve the cure for cancer or poverty?”
The Future Foundation is here to find out. Our ultimate goal is not just to help our students, but, through them, to improve our community, and our world. At the Future Foundation, we aim not just to beat the odds in Atlanta, but to change them for the better, all over the world.