With the start of a new financial year for Mission 44, in recent weeks I have been thinking not only about the year ahead, but reflecting on the progress we have made over the last 12 months. To say it’s been a whirlwind is an understatement! Being a first-time CEO of a new grantmaker, with a global superstar as its founder, has been exhilarating, at times exhausting, but always an immense privilege. I’m lucky to be working with a diverse, talented team to grow the breadth and depth of our work.
This time last year, we had one grantee. Now, we’re lucky enough to support 23 brilliant organisations based across the country, who are breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for young people from underserved communities to truly thrive. Spending time with our partners and getting to see the impact of their work first-hand is one of the best parts of my job. Visiting Tunmarsh School, a pupil referral unit in East London, with Sir Lewis last September to see the impact teachers on The Difference’s leadership programme are having on excluded students was a particular highlight.
Our growth was certainly brought home for me at our ‘Reimagining the Future’ event in March, where we brought together Sir Lewis with our wonderful community of grantees, supporters and young people to both reflect on our journey so far and explore our collective aspirations for the future. Our development since our launch in July 2021 is set against an increasingly challenging context for the young people we were set up to serve. Teachers are reporting growing numbers of hungry, cold and tired pupils. Achievement gaps have widened. Reported mental ill-health amongst young people continues to rise.
So what’s ahead over the next 12 months? To truly drive systemic change, our partners, young people and funders have consistently encouraged us to be bold and disruptive in our approach to grantmaking, communications and advocacy. As a result, this year we will see us lean further into our value of ‘Bravery’, including:
engaging in participatory grantmaking with our newly recruited Youth Advisory Board, empowering its members to shape and take decisions across our strategy
launching an innovation fund to support new models that reimagine the purpose and delivery of education
launching two new fellowships, one within education and one within youth activism, to invest in emerging leaders from diverse backgrounds who can drive systemic change
significantly scaling our campaign and storytelling, particularly in relation to preventing school exclusions and inspiring young people to explore opportunities in STEM and motorsport
Look out for more information on our strategy, and info on our wonderful Youth Advisory Board, in the coming months.
CEO, Mission 44