Browsing by: Commentary

A degree of courage unknown

By: Benjamin Riley

Why do you have so many guns?

My heart broke the moment I was asked this question. It happened four years ago while I was on a fellowship in New Zealand, on a day where I’d driven to one of the more remote areas of an already very remote island in the South Pacific. The elementary school I was visiting, Te Kura o Hiruharama (Hiruharama School), serves Maori children living in poverty, and they weren’t used to visitors from faraway places such as America. So to kick things off, I asked them what they most wanted to know about my homeland.


Standing shoulder to shoulder in 2018

By: Benjamin Riley

The events of this past year have magnified differences in our culture, and produced conflict – but active efforts, including protest, can lead to reform. In many ways, this idea animates all of the activities we undertake at Deans for Impact. We believe in the power of helping existing and future educators practice better pedagogy with all students, so that over time, our work – and the work of so many others – will join together such that the stark racial segregation we witnessed during one school visit will seem an unconscionable aberration, rather than an accepted norm.


A new discourse to transform complex systems

By: Benjamin Riley

A new report, Scaling Solutions Toward Shifting Systems, captures a subtle but important “shift in the discourse” in the philanthropic community toward supporting more sustained, deeper-level transformations in society. Benjamin Riley argues this is a very good thing, as philanthropic organizations can play key roles in transforming complex systems when they remain committed to sustained change over time.


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