Welcome to Emerson Collective.

We work in pursuit of a world where every individual has access to opportunity, health, and well-being.

We bring together entrepreneurs and academics, artists, community leaders and more to build solutions that spur measurable, lasting change. We work collectively to make the greatest difference possible.

Learn more About Us and our Issue Areas, read a Letter from Our Founder, and see How We Work.

Demo Day

Text: Demo Day 2022

Hear from extraordinary artists, leaders, and entrepreneurs who are working at the intersection of climate, social justice, education, immigration, and health at our annual event.

Each year, Demo Day serves as a source of inspiration, reminding us that human ingenuity, idealism, and resolve can forge new possibilities for individuals, communities, and our nation. Our 2022 speakers are dedicated to finding solutions from voting rights and health equity to education and environmental justice.

This year, these leaders are united by a common thread—our changing climate. As they reimagine and reshape the world through advocacy, art, and action, their work contributes to our shared climate future.

Our Demo Day visual theme is inspired by the work of Corita Kent, a groundbreaking artist, educator, and activist.

Speakers and Performances

Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford


Dario Calmese

Dario Calmese

The Institute of Black Imagination

Shirley M. Collado, Ph.D.

Shirley M. Collado, Ph.D.

College Track

Julia Collins

Julia Collins

Planet FWD

Caitlin Dickerson

Caitlin Dickerson

The Atlantic

Marc Elias

Marc Elias

Democracy Docket Legal Fund


Abstract graphic with text: DEMO DAY
Demo Day 2020 Graphic
Text: DEMO DAY '19
Abstract Graphic with Text: Demo Day '18

Dial Fellowship: Cohort 5

Here at Emerson Collective, we believe that individuals have extraordinary potential to build breakthrough solutions to our most pressing problems. And we also know that truly lasting change requires turning those breakthroughs into movements — a possibility unlocked when those individuals master the art of storytelling and use it to spark excitement, appeal to people’s sense of justice, and galvanize the public imagination.

That’s why we designed the Emerson Collective Dial Fellowship — a program that provides remarkable leaders with new tools to build their movements. And we’re thrilled to introduce our fifth cohort of Dial Fellows.

Among these remarkable leaders you’ll find two women transforming women’s health care, a nonprofit leader who has spent a decade investing in refugee entrepreneurs in Africa, and an artist building an impact-based model for the nation’s cultural institutions. Fellows are transforming documentary filmmaking and urban transportation; they’re training youth leaders in the fight against gun violence and helping educators use data to make sure our students are ready for the future; and so much more. A bold optimism runs through all of their work: when it comes to building a world where every individual has access to opportunity, health, and well-being, we are almost there.

Cohort 5

Meet the new Dial Fellows, remarkable cross-disciplinary leaders addressing old problems in bold, new ways.

Howard Bell

Education Technology Entrepreneur

Howard Bell is helping the largest school districts in the U.S. use their data to address academic inequities, better allocate resources, and prepare every student to succeed.

Kara Egan

Women’s Health Entrepreneur

Kara Egan is redesigning health care for women—starting with at-home cervical cancer screenings.

Carrie Joy Grimes

Financial Security Advocate

Carrie Joy Grimes helps working and middle-class Americans raise their incomes and lower their costs, bringing financial security and hope that a good life is possible for people and their communities.

Marshall Hatch Jr.

Community Faith Leader

Marshall Hatch Jr. leads a ministry on the West Side of Chicago that inspires young people to learn from their past to lead the city forward.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Cultural Strategist

Marc Bamuthi Joseph is a spoken-word artist, writer, and arts administrator who is generating a radically inclusive culture in the arts.

Solomé Lemma

Grassroots Champion

Solomé Lemma supports grassroots groups and movements emanating from the Global South that are working for food, climate, and economic justice.


At Emerson Collective, we look continuously for breakthroughs that can create new avenues of opportunity for individuals, families, and communities. But we also know that breakthroughs are only the beginning. If they are to spark lasting change, new stories must be told that capture the public’s imagination and lay a foundation for progress.

That’s why we built a fellowship program that provides remarkable leaders with new communications tools and resources to tell the stories of their breakthroughs, captivate new audiences, shape important public conversations, and ultimately, extend the reach and impact of their work.

While Dial Fellows are pursuing a wide-range of topics, they each share a common vision of a more just world, where opportunity is more equally distributed.

Climate Migration

Climate-driven migration is a global issue that’s accelerating.

Rising temperatures and climate disasters are forcing a record number of people across the world to migrate. Over 200 million individuals are expected to be displaced by 2050 due to climate crises. At Emerson Collective, we believe the imperative for action is clear—it is time for an integrated response to these deeply interconnected and urgent challenges.

Learn more about Climate Migration below.

Five questions with:
Laurene Powell Jobs

Learn more about EC from our founder
and president

3 min read

Laurene Powell Jobs portrait


Why did you choose the name Emerson Collective?


Both words are very meaningful to me. I’m deeply inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s writings on our ability to transcend limitations that are placed on us by society. I love the word collective because it acknowledges that we are all at our best when we learn from–and work with–team members who share a sense of purpose and possibility. Like steel sharpens steel, we make each other better. With the name Emerson Collective, we recognize that humanity is bound together, and that we can create new possibilities by drawing on one another’s gifts and talents.


How did College Track inform Emerson Collective?


Working with the students, families and staff of College Track enriched my understanding of our country and the many systems within it. At its best, the public education system is an engine for social and economic mobility. But we all know it doesn’t always work that way. Education is not an isolated or siloed domain. It connects to a broader set of systems that touch people’s lives, including immigration, health, environment and economic opportunities. The understanding of just how interconnected these issues are was fundamental to the creation of Emerson Collective.


Why are multidisciplinary solutions important to addressing society’s challenges?


It’s very difficult to make sustainable and sustained change. None of the issues we are trying to address have easy solutions and making progress requires a variety of approaches. We work with domain experts with a breadth of experiences, insights, and relationships, and we use a range of tools, like philanthropy, investing, convening, and storytelling to build broad coalitions. As challenges evolve, we are nimble in our response and find that a cross functional approach often yields unexpected results.


Emerson Collective is structured as an LLC, rather than a non-profit, like traditional philanthropic foundations. Why is that structure important to the way EC works?


Dr. Martin Luther King said that philanthropy is a very useful and good tool, but it can’t ignore the conditions that created it. I believe that philanthropy is a very powerful tool for good, but it’s not the only powerful tool. Mission driven investing is a tool for good. Art and activism and storytelling are tools for good. The LLC structure allows us the flexibility to creatively use the best attributes of all these models to address emerging needs and opportunities.


What is your biggest hope for what Emerson Collective can achieve?


I would like Emerson Collective to be a place where great leaders come to do difficult things. Through our efforts, we hope to shape a world where people are not bound by the circumstances of their birth. Instead, they have the ability and agency to design their own paths – aligned with their highest and best purpose. We work to create equitable opportunities, and my hope is that we leave the world a little improved because we have existed.

Read more in the Letter From Our Founder.


We center our work on education, immigration reform, the environment, and health, with the understanding that the challenges we face as a society are deeply interconnected. Explore our Issue Areas.

We believe that a combination of philanthropy and venture capital can support the greatest leaps of innovation.

We are looking for colleagues with the drive to improve the world and the audacity to innovate. View Careers.

Voices from across the Collective share important perspectives and insights on our key issues.

Fellows Friday

JUN 2023

Every month, join our incredible Fellows in conversation about the work they’re doing.

Dial Fellow Michael Murphy, co-founder of MASS Design Group, sits with Jennifer Arceneaux, the senior director of Emerson Collective’s Culture Council, to discuss how architecture plays a vital role in society by creating spaces that heal and inspire. Through projects like the Butaro District Hospital and the African Leadership University campus, he emphasizes the importance of beauty, dignity, and spatial awakening in challenging existing norms and advocating for transformative design.