The first half of 2020 delivered no shortage of world-altering events. In the United States, the impact of COVID-19 on our society, economy, and democracy is still being realized and understood. In addition, the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other black Americans seem to be moving us closer to a tipping point in addressing systemic and institutionalized racism in our country. All of this is on top of the many long-standing and interconnected challenges in other sectors and systems that are having real impacts on the lives of citizens, the health of our communities, and the strength of our country. 

When a crisis comes on fast, like COVID-19, it puts the status quo in total upheaval. The previously impossible becomes possible. Recent crises have challenged us to think differently and change the frame of what’s possible about how we live as a society. We believe we have an opportunity to proactively and intentionally envision what we want our “future state” to look like, rather than be pushed into a “new normal.” We are left asking, where could our imagination lead us? 

Through a series of imagination sprints, PACE aims to create the space to bring meaning and creativity to specific problems across aspects of democracy and civil society. The end goal is to spark new ideas as we seek to understand, reflect, envision, and iterate on particular topics, and to share those ideas and the fruits of imagination with the broader civic philanthropy field.

PACE will host imagination sprints between July and December 2020 (each sprint is 10-12 hours spread over three weeks). Sprints aim to have a diverse group of funders (PACE members, civic philanthropy funders, etc), thinkers (academics, thought leaders, researchers, civic scientists, etc), and doers (practitioners, nonprofit leaders, grassroots organizers, etc) imagining together. Each imagination sprint will be limited to 12 slots, and there will be opportunities to discuss and add to the conversation for those who cannot commit to a sprint.

PACE is pleased to announced the imagination sprints for 2020:

July 20 – August 7: Imagining civic learning without disparities in access. Status: complete; report-out here.

September 14 – October 2: Imagining trusted relationships in a diverse and pluralistic society. Status: complete; reflection here.

October 8 – October 29: Imagining relationship infrastructure as central to crisis response. Status: complete; reflection here.

January 25 – February 12: Imagining the US as a country that comes together after divisive elections. Status: complete; reflection here.

PACE would like to thank the Rita Allen Foundation for their support of the 2020 Imagination Sprints and ensuring the participation of Civic Science Fellows in each of the sprints.