What will it take to tackle the biggest challenges facing our country? How can we possibly make progress when things seem so divided?
We believe we can, if we Stand Together to help every person rise. And that’s what participants at the Stand Together Summit came here to do as they gather in Palm Springs, California this weekend.
You may be wondering: What is the Summit?
In 2003, Stand Together founder Charles Koch hosted a small group of business leaders and philanthropists to explore new ways to address the challenges facing the country.
Since then, these gatherings have grown to include hundreds of people from all walks of life – including social entrepreneurs, teachers, scholars, policy makers, leaders of community-based nonprofits, and more.
This is a diverse group with different backgrounds and perspectives, but we are united by a shared belief: Every person can succeed and contribute to the lives of others.
And we share a commitment: To offer an alternative approach for tackling our country’s challenges to the millions of Americans who feel alienated by the extremes on all sides.
If you listen to those on the extremes, it can seem like none of today’s big issues can be solved.
Consider the issue of immigration. The extremes are dominating the conversation. One side calls for drastic cuts to legal immigration, while the other calls for abolishing the laws and agencies that secure our border.
These positions don’t reflect the views of most Americans. 75% of Americans believe immigration is good and most support reasonable measures to secure the border. It’s not mutually exclusive.
So, where many see intractable, seemingly impossible problems, we see opportunity, and we’re here to help chart a better way. To do so, we focus on uniting people around areas of common ground and together develop effective solutions to the big problems facing the country.
This approach has already achieved progress on critical issues, including:
- Uniting a diverse coalition that has led to historic criminal justice reforms. Watch the video below to see how leaders found common ground to drive a historic reform:
- Partnering with 168 community-based organizations addressing poverty, reaching nearly one million people each year. Learn more about how social entrepreneurs are finding new ways to help people overcome homelessness here.
- Supporting efforts that empower tens of thousands of K-12 teachers in both public and private schools to help their students realize their potential. In the video below, see how students gain the skills and confidence to succeed with Youth Entrepreneurs®:
This better way continues to gain energy. For instance, this weekend’s Summit will be the largest we’ve ever had, and we’re working side-by-side with some of the most influential and passionate voices.
At the Summit, we’re exploring opportunities to bring people together to do even more, and it begins with asking bold questions:
- How can we ensure that every kid is able to pursue an individualized education that helps them realize their unique potential—while empowering teachers to best serve their students?
- How can we help every person experiencing poverty find a path of empowerment?
- How can we rethink foreign policy to keep America safe while ending endless wars that don’t serve our country’s interests?
- How can we fix our broken immigration system to welcome anyone who will contribute to our country and no one who will do us harm?
- How can we make good policy good politics and overcome the intense partisanship that often stands in the way of progress?
These are just a few of the questions that will be discussed this weekend. We hope you’ll check back as we share more about the specific initiatives that our philanthropic community will be launching this year, and we invite you to find ways to get involved.
While the challenges we face are great, our country’s ability to overcome them is far greater.