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 five imagination sprints (each sprint is 10-12 hours spread over three weeks) between July and December 2020. 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 plans to launch this program in July 2020. A preliminary overview of the program can be viewed here. If you would like to be kept in the loop as the program develops, please email us at or by clicking here.