In 2018, Imaginable Futures (then Omidyar Network)—a venture of The Omidyar Group—partnered with Entangled Solutions (now Guild Education) to better understand this important, growing community of postsecondary learners. This research included 26 one-on-one interviews with Risers, along with researchers, leaders of community-based organizations, thought leaders, and education entrepreneurs serving Risers.
The collaboration produced a report, Parent Learners Insights for Innovation, which drew on research and interviews from the field. Risers’ postsecondary success—defined as first- time enrollment, re-enrollment, and completion; economic mobility; and well-being—yields major returns for their families. The report also established that an emerging field of innovative organizations, including nonprofits, for-profits, and academic institutions, was already building solutions that could promote postsecondary success for Risers. Most of all, it sparked a new initiative: an innovation competition that would seek out and foster the most promising and impactful solutions to accelerate Risers’ success.
In early 2020, Imaginable Futures and Lumina Foundation, collaborated with Entangled Solutions to launch the Rise Prize to raise awareness about Risers and to accelerate postsecondary completion, economic mobility, and well-being for student parents. The first competition of its kind to focus on spurring innovation and scaling current solutions that address the specific needs of Risers in postsecondary programs, the Rise Prize provided exposure to funders and partners, strengthened solutions through mentoring support, and awarded monetary prizes totaling $1.55 million. The Rise Prize team worked closely with 10 leading partners on the prize design, promotion, and elevating awareness about Risers. To learn more, read the full report below.