Andrew Mangino on building the next generation of dreamers
In early May, Ashoka teamed up with the team at Wondros to bring together a handful of amazing thinkers and doers from both the social impact and creative worlds, to examine what it takes to advance an idea in place of a program, and to identify the ingredients of modern-day movement-building. What follows is a transcript from a talk given by Andrew Mangino, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Future Project.
We started The Future Project about two and a half years ago. I was in Washington, DC as a speechwriter. Like a lot of young people in my generation, there was a lot of excitement after the presidential election—seen in things like the “Yes We Can” video created here—and many of us went to DC. I went to be a speechwriter to Joe Biden. And by the way, if you’re thinking about storytelling, Joe Biden is the best storyteller you’ll ever encounter.
I was in DC and felt this incredible sense of possibility, like so many people. But I started talking to my friends, and we all felt a certain lack of fulfillment. There was all this amazing energy, but we were wondering what’s the common purpose: what’s the call to action that’s going to drive our generation to change the world, not just win an election? Many people had been fired up by the election not because of any particular policy, but because there was this new sense of possibility in America.
The point came up earlier about the interplay between things happening by accident versus planned change, and it’s one that we’ve been wrestling since Day 1. I was mentoring a student in a DC school at the time. Judging by the statistics, it was one of the most struggling schools in America, just a few blocks from where I was living in DC. There was a complete disconnect between that school and the community and the energy that I, and so many people I knew, felt.