Published On: October 20, 2020
Home>School Funding>FirstRoot’s Plan to Put $1bn into Schools

$1K – 1M – $1B

What’s that? It’s FirstRoot’s BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Thank you, @Jim Collins).

We want to put $1K into 1M schools globally and watch what happens when students can control $1B in capital to make their schools — and our world — a better place.

Our BHAG motivates some nifty behaviors and an even cooler corporate culture.

Benefits of the BHAG

We HAVE to be global, because there are only 130,000 K-12 schools in the United States.

We HAVE to be great engineers, because we need all the awesome stuff you expect from modern, global, SaaS companies. (Scaling a solution to this will require more than that just buying hosting services at Amazon.)

We HAVE to be inclusive, because we want all students to participate. For my technical friends, this means we embrace a whole range of critical Non-Functional Requirements (NFRs), ranging from accessibility and Internationalization (I18N) to serious logging.

We HAVE to be fully compliant with applicable laws and regulations. This is an alphabet soup of guidelines, ranging from FERPA and COPPA in the U.S., GDPR in the EU, and what we’re certain will be other laws that emerge over time. Culturally, our goal isn’t to comply with the ‘letter of the law.’ Instead, we aspire to support the ‘spirit of the law.’ For example, the spirit of GDPR is respecting the individual and giving them control over their data. And the spirit of COPPA is to protect our children and create a safe environment. Fortunately, all of this is easier than it might seem, because unlike social media companies that have business models designed to reject individual control and child safety, ours is designed to create financially-independent adults, capable of transforming their communities.

Most importantly, our BHAG keeps us humble: I doubt that we can realize our BHAG without lots of help from people who share our values and are looking forward to seeing what happens when #participatorybudgeting drives $1B in capital. I have no idea what that will be. But I want to find out.

PS. Just in case our BHAG isn’t BHAGGY enough, change $1K to $10K, $100K, or even $1M. Because that’s what we’re going to do when we hit our first BHAG.

So, you in?