Reimagine Education: Transforming Research into Collective Action


Much more needs to be done to make our schools better for each and every child.
We have been asking students, parents, community members, school leaders, and researchers what is working — and what isn’t working — in our schools. This collective input has led to Reimagine Education – a body of essential work that provides a roadmap to help transform our K-12 education system to benefit all students. Read our recently released report about education equity in a time of COVID-19 and see how we are mobilizing to support our students and families.

Input Process

Reimagine Education Input Process

Reimagining our education system

The Minneapolis Foundation’s Reimagine initiative represents a shift in our education strategy that focuses on bringing together students, parents, administrators, teachers, and school board members to develop a common agenda for disrupting inequities in school systems. Learning collectives are central to our new approach to education.
We retained a team of University of Minnesota researchers led by Dr. Michael Rodriguez to outline the research basis for a proposed set of strategies that emerged from our community and superintendents in 2017. We distributed this report widely, and you can read it below. When COVID-19 forced schools to move to virtual platforms, we again retained the U of M team to develop a second report on how distance learning impacts education equity.
Education is a key area where we make strategic investments to dismantle the barriers that hold inequities in place. Reimagine, and its robust input process, have impacted this work and will influence our forthcoming Education grantmaking.
While the primary funding strategy of Reimagine is to reallocate existing public education funds, the work has attracted funding from the Greater Twin Cities United Way and Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation for our larger community convenings. We anticipate additional philanthropic partners as the work evolves.
Along with using learning collectives to build deep cross-sector relationships around this body of work, The Minneapolis Foundation’s staff is also actively encouraging local school districts to leverage key learnings from the 2019 Reimagine report to help implement equity-focused plans to improve student achievement and support young people’s wellbeing and social emotional development.  
Our staff has presented Reimagine findings to education and civic leaders. A recent school board conference included discussions about how school administrators and school boards can work together to incorporate elements of Reimagine into their equity plans and efforts to close the state’s persistent achievement and opportunity gaps.

Research & Reports


The Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota and School Transformation Collaborative engaged ACT Research to conduct the Parent Family Distance Learning Survey from mid-May to June 2020. The survey highlights diverse families’ experiences in shifting to distance learning as a result of COVID-19. Read the Executive Summary, Survey Results, and Appendix. You can learn more about this work by watching our Virtual Town Hall.


As the impacts of a global pandemic change so many parts of our lives, people across the globe search desperately for some shred of what could be seen as “normal.” It is not surprising, then, that this report – produced by the University of Minnesota’s College of Education & Human Development – on how we consider education inequities in this time begins with the simple, obvious statement: “We should not expect each day to be normal in the age of COVID-19.”​




We know the facts. Minnesota is among the worst in the nation for racial disparities. We read reports that prove the challenge is real. Now, we have commissioned research informed by the perspectives of those most proximate to the issues to help drive solutions.​

A study conducted by the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota provides evidence-based solutions that have the potential to be transformational for our community. Read, learn, and join us in transforming our K-12 education to help every child reach their fullest potential.​



See the work in action​

Student Voices

In September 2019, 1500 students from across the Twin Cities came together for The Student Conference – a student-designed, student-led forum where teens could voice their perspectives on education. These voices helped shape the Reimagine Education event.

Learn more by reading the Studence Conference Final Report. You can also see conference videos here.

Education Equity in the Age of COVID:19

Dr. Michael Rodriguez and R.T. Rybak recently discussed a new report – produced by the University of Minnesota’s College of Education & Human Development – that tackles education equity in the age of COVID-19.

Watch the full video above or watch specific topics.

Reimagine Education Event

Watch videos and see photos from our December 5, 2019 Reimagine Education event.


Learn what education leaders think about the key levers identified through Reimagine Education, including how they see it transforming from a report into action.



When Dr. Michael Rodriguez, founding co-director of the Educational Equity Resource Center at the University of Minnesota, delivered a keynote address about Reimagine Minnesota, we captured his presentation through a visual notetaker.