Ameritrade Founder and CEO Joe Ricketts traveled to Tanzania for a holiday, and met safari guide Shange Wilson. He learned that Wilson was building a nursery and primary school and decided to visit it. Inspired, he donated $1,400 to Wilson to complete the school’s construction. Later, Mr. Ricketts began to consider other ways to help Wilson’s school and other schools in Tanzania.
In 2005, Opportunity Education Foundation was established with Joe Ricketts serving as CEO. Its mission was “to make quality education accessible to children in developing nations so they can improve their standards of living and work towards a brighter future.” Opportunity Education’s first program, the Primary School Program, immediately began accomplishing this mission by providing schools, teachers, and students with financial support, educational materials, and resources. The organization quickly expanded, eventually supporting over a million students across 11 countries, and began connecting over 1,000 schools globally through the Sister School Program.
Seeing the profound impact of this work, Mr. Ricketts began to explore what more could be done to break the cycle of poverty, prepare young people better for a radically different job market of the future, and explore the potential of new, portable technology. Working with a team of learning scientists, teachers, and software professionals, an active, skills-focused approach to learning rooted in the latest learning research began to take shape. Today, dozens of schools globally use Quest Forward Learning to prepare students to create value for themselves, their communities, and the world.
Joe Ricketts visits a school in Tanzania.