Matter is currently engaged with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as the Lead Design Partner for the New Options for Youth Initiative, a multi-year initiative focused on architecting innovative non-school pathways for out-of-school youth to meaningful careers. New Options is a flagship initiative under Kellogg Foundation's newly stated mission and represents what Matter believes is a massive change in approach for philanthropy. Additional statements from Kellogg senior leadership add credence to this viewpoint.
As the rate for high school incompletion approaches and passes 50%, a threshold is crossed for system normality. In an increasing number of communities, being out of school is no longer an exception, it is the rule. While numerous government and philanthropic programs continue efforts to shore up the broken school and school-equivalency systems, New Options operates from the premise that completely new systems are required to connect rising adults to meaningful career pathways.
Collaborative Approach to System Design
New Options is a unique collaborative effort involving multiple community and business organizations and participatory design with youth stakeholders, all working together to create prototypes of systems that show promise of viability and sustainability, representing compelling value to both youth and business stakeholders.
Matter is in year two of cooperation with Youth Radio, AIM Institute,Year Up, Las Artes, Living Classrooms, and Eagle Rock School along with collaborators from Harvard Business School, The Institute of Design, and others. The first viable prototypes are beginning to emerge with sufficient fidelity to attract articulated agreements from business and community organizations who see the critical necessity of such a system and who are ready, willing, and able to participate in the iterative system design process.