Reimagining Capitalism in 2021: A snapshot of our progress

By Alexis Krieg, Senior Manager, Strategic Communications

As the year draws to a close, we want to share a brief update on our efforts to reimagine capitalism and offer a window into our strategy going into 2022. Since we launched the program at the end of 2019 we have invested more than $25 million in 60+ organizations that are working to address the structural challenges at the heart of our economy. They each share our vision to shape a new, inclusive economy in which markets serve the interests of all people and society.

In 2021, we doubled the number of full-time staff working on Reimagining Capitalism, adding two new Principals and associates to our team. They work across our core focus areas, including New Economic Paradigm, which supports the development of new ideas to re-orient our economic system and Worker Power, which seeks to expand the power and voice of working people.

We also spent a significant portion of this year re-evaluating our strategies in these areas, drawing on internal learning and reflections, as well as an external evaluation by the Center for Evaluation Innovation on our initial strategy. As a result of these processes, we have refined our approach and reauthorized continued engagement in these areas. We plan to share what we learned and what that means for our work early in 2022, but in the meantime you can learn more by reading our respective Points of View: Our Call to Reimagine Capitalism in America and Our Vision for the Future of Workers and Work.

This year, we also added Corporations, Capital Markets, and the Common Good to our core areas of focus, announcing a $10 million commitment to support organizations focused on implementing new models and policies that will reshape the very rules that govern our markets.

These three focus areas form the basis of our strategy to Reimagine Capitalism. We are striving to transform our economy by reshaping the ideas, rules, and power that undergird the system. Ideas, which reflect our values, guide how we build our society. Rules determine distribution of wealth and power. Power then dictates which ideas and rules triumph. At Omidyar Network, we believe it is impossible to create a better form of capitalism without tackling each at the same time. In doing so, we aim to build an equitable and inclusive economy that empowers all people to achieve their fullest potential.

In 2020, we first outlined the five core pillars that we believe could best support this new economy in Our Call to Reimagine Capitalism. This year we expanded further on each of the pillars and their role in replacing old ideas, rewriting the rules, and reshaping power in a series of blog posts:

In addition, this series detailed the phenomenal work of many of our grantees, which we have also tried to capture in the infographic accompanying this post. (You can view our full list of our partners here.)

Over the course of the past year, we have also seen a more marked change in how our economic systems are discussed in the public sphere, evidenced in part by shifting news headlines and a surge of new policy debates. People everywhere — from Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama to economists in the White House — are questioning the way things have always been done and advocating for change.

That’s why, in addition to supporting critical legislation such as the American Rescue Plan, the Build Back Better Agenda, and the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, we have also added our voice to the chorus of those calling for principled reform to our tax code, and continued to support a wide variety of grassroots advocacy organizations through projects like a Communications Fellows Program and The Carry on the Fight Fund — a national funder collaborative that seeks to balance political and economic power by supporting local and state-based grassroots organizations with grant funding to sustain issue advocacy campaigns aimed at building worker power, increasing community control of economic resources, and reducing inequality.

Our team remains humbled by the work that has been already done, encouraged by the shifts we are seeing, and proud to be a part of the movement to reimagine capitalism. We wish you and yours a safe and restful holiday season, and look forward to continuing the work in 2022 and beyond.