In 2001, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, along with his wife, Delicia, and sister Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim, started the Future Foundation to help level the playing field for students in Atlanta’s underserved communities. The organization began as an afterschool program for 15 students in some of Atlanta’s most underfunded communities and has grown into a paradigm-shifting network serving over 500 middle- and high-school students in the South Fulton community through after-school classes, family support workshops, and corporate mentorships. Future Foundation is proud of its highly successful, easily quantifiable, and replicable model that has the potential to disrupt poverty the world over.
The Future Foundation employs its Second Family model, a program developed, tested, and refined over six years of research and pilot studies, to provide each student with a network of supportive adults outside their own home who can offer academic, social-emotional, and career-planning support.
The statistics speak for themselves: 95 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.
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.
The Future Foundation is disrupting the cycle of poverty, one student at a time. 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.