When Kanya Balakrishna and her Co-Founder Andrew Mangino spoke to high school students a few years ago, there was a pattern in answers they heard: school no longer felt relevant to young people. So, in 2011, Balakrishna and Mangino set about making classrooms around the country more exciting and engaging by launching The Future Project. By working with students, teachers, and administrators, The Future Project’s so-called “Dream Directors” rethink and reimagine a school’s culture, turning it into a more inspiring place for all. For her work in unlocking the passion and purpose of young people nationwide, Balakrishna was selected as a 2015 GLG Social Impact Fellow. Balakrishna sits down with GLG to discuss The Future Project and how GLG is helping her organization expand its sense of what’s possible.
Kanya Balakrishna is the Co-Founder and President of The Future Project, a initiative that recruits, trains, and dispatches transformational leaders into high schools across the country to unleash students’ potential. These leaders partner with teachers and community members to reimagine schools from the inside out. Since 2011, The Future Project has launched in more than 50 schools across seven major American cities, served more than 30,000 students, and raised $22 million in seed funding from prominent businesses, leaders, and philanthropists. Balakrishna previously taught and coached students in Memphis, Tennessee and New Haven, Connecticut. She is a graduate of Yale University, where she studied anthropology and served as Managing Editor of the Yale Daily News. Balakrishna has been recognized by the DRK Foundation, MAKERS, Glamour, and Generation Progress.