Photo by Joshua Abner
Freedom Dreams Lab

Freedom Dreams Lab

I thought entrepreneurship was supposed to be this freedom dream…and it was the opposite. I’m chasing people who don’t get me…for money.

Nicole Campbell 

The Freedom Dreams Lab is a fellowship that supports Black and Latinx leaders’ brilliance by leveraging Transcend’s network, resources, and capacity to help make their visions a reality.

The Freedom Dreams Lab Experience

During the year-long fellowship, education leaders of color (individuals and teams) have the opportunity to refine and pilot learning experiences designed to unlock the full potential of students of color. Fellows draw on Transcend’s expertise, methods, and network to design learning models in opposition to models of schools that sorts, separates, and ranks students in ways that reproduce the opportunity gaps of our broader society. The resulting learning models exist at the leading edge of innovation and have the potential to transform learning for students of color across the country.

This fellowship offers three kinds of experiences to accelerate and actualize ideas from Leaders of Color for learning environments: 

  • Co-conspiracy – Each Fellow has a “co-conspirator,” someone to serve as a collaborative coach, connect leaders to expertise and resources, and add capacity to help leaders address their evolving needs throughout their design journey.
  • Community – Fellows gather to have conversations that only they could have: Ex. How do we navigate the challenges that come with fundraising, program design, and being Black, or Latinx, or women of color in this country at this time?
  • Capacity – Fellows connect with members of the Transcend network to gain access to real-time support such as fundraising advice, business development acumen, and knowledge of measurement and impact, in order to deepen their capacity to build effective and sustainable learning environments.

Fellow Spotlight

Nicole Campbell founded Ownership is the Future to “build the capacity of young Black people to develop towards collectively owning wealth, generating businesses and social enterprises – as investment in themselves and their respective futures.” We supported Nicole by helping build out a network of mentors, funders, and advisors for the program.

Listen to Nicole’s Brief, but Spectacular View of Ownership

Toni Barton founded Spelligent Education to “create a national network of inclusive schools that redefine what is possible in public education by increasing outcomes and improving life trajectories for all students across the spectrum of ability.” We partnered with Toni to refine her model and supported her through the logistics of scaling (including charter applications, strategic planning, fundraising, etc.).

Listen to Toni’s Brief, but Spectacular View of Disrupting the Status Quo in Special Education

Melissa Pintor Carnagey Founded Sex Positive Families so that “all children can live informed, empowered and safer lives with the education and resources that help families raise sexually healthy children using a shame-free, comprehensive and pleasure-positive approach.” We’ve supported Melissa in refining her online platform that provides interactive, gender-inclusive puberty and sex education courses for families.

Listen to Melissa’s Brief, but Spectacular View on the Power of Sex Education in Families


Selection Criteria

  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color with a Freedom Dream
  • Have some experience implementing their vision & ready to pilot an an aspect of a liberatory learning environment
  • Proximate to the community 
  • Approach disrupts systems and dynamics of oppression 
  • Self directed and looking for a “running partner” to offer coaching / piloting support

Note: we intentionally do not ask about degrees, professional orgs or financial capital. We believe those criteria often implicitly exclude those who may have the most transformational, powerful Freedom Dreams. 


You can nominate yourself or a friend to the 2024 cohort.

Transcend is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates nationally.