Foresight Study to Look at Philanthropic “Future”

Tuesday, April 05, 2022
2:00 - 3:50pm

Grantmakers of Oregon and SW Washington and Portland State University Studies have entered into a first-time partnership to explore the future in an innovative way. Students taking a futures studies/foresight class with PSU Presidential Futures Fellow, Dr. Laura Nissen, will work with a small cohort of GOSW members to consider what the future might look like in an area of funding that they are most interested in. For example, it might be the future of education, equity, justice, climate or any number of topics.

Using “foresight” as a specific and disciplined set of tools and exercises – students will do a 10-week deep dive in those issues to explore what they can learn about “what the futures” of these topics might be like. GOSW members will work with their student partners, led by Dr. Nissen, in the upcoming spring term conducting a forecast on the interest area.

Dr. Nissen will organize two student teams to interview, conduct research and present their findings to the participating foundations. For a member to participate, they will commit to:   

  • Participate in a pre-class futures 101 workshop with Dr. Nissen (Details TBA)
  • Schedule a two hour meeting for information gathering by the students
  • Meet with the students (Tuesday, April 5, 2-3:50 pm)
  • Hear the forecast presentations by the students (Tuesday, May 30, 2-3:50 pm)

Former Dean and Professor Laura Burney Nissen is with the Portland State University School of Social Work. With a commitment to innovative and equity-centered systems change, Laura has worked with futures practice and lenses throughout her career. She is a foresight practitioner and a Research Fellow with the Institute for the Future. She has been PI on a two-year grant to convene first of its kind national Social Work Health Futures Lab from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Her commitment is to challenge social work and social workers to think beyond the traps of “short-termism” and participate in co-creating the world we want. She lives in the Columbia River Gorge with her husband Don and puppy, Birdie. For additional information about her work, please visit: www.socialworkfutures.com, follow on Twitter @lauranissen


There are a very limited number of foundations that can participate due to the size of the class and extensive research by the students. If interested in participating, please contact Mark McCrary at mmccrary@gosw.org.