The Contentment Foundation
Our wellbeing and resilience programs help schools prepare the next generation workforce to solve the world's greatest challenges.
Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.
Initiative's representative name
Dr. Daniel Cordaro
Initiative's representative date of birth
April 9, 1985
Initiative’s representative gender
Which eligible market are you based in?
Where are you making a difference?
USA, Singapore, Bhutan, New Zealand, Indonesia
Website or social media url(s)
When was your organisation founded?
Helping people adapt to technologies of the future
Reskilling and upskilling the workforce
Creating digital tools
Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)
Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?
1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed
High in the Himalayas of eastern Bhutan, my research team had made first contact with one of the last uncontacted tribes on planet earth. They had taught us the secrets of what is meant by 'true happiness', which radically transformed our team and led us on a path to inaugurate an entire field of research on the topic of contentment. After being hired as the Director of Wellbeing at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, I was contacted by a few schools who needed help. Their teachers and students were suffering from extreme anxiety, depression, and suicide. They asked us to help them solve the mental health crisis that was preventing them from educating the next generation of changemakers. We now help schools solve this worldwide.
2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?
The greatest threat to humanity right now is mental illness and psychological trauma, which has been on the rise for the past five decades. Issues like anxiety, depression, suicide, and isolation are being diagnosed in children as young as three years old. The next generation needs to develop the psychological resilience required to solve the world's grandest challenges. We help schools develop this generation with our evidence-based programs.
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
The Contentment Foundation provides schools and communities with the tools that they need to create psychologically healthy learning environments for everyone involved in the education ecosystem. Our digital platform and live trainings empower large educational systems to unlock creativity, cultivate greater focus, compassion, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, and collaboration - the skills that the workforce of the future will need to lead humanity. The Four Pillars of Wellbeing, our cornerstone program, is scientifically evidenced to improve school performance and safety metrics across the board. Additionally, we provide powerful analytics systems that allow entire nations to track, monitor, and successfully implement wellness interventions across the board.
Our digital platform is built for every stakeholder in the school ecosystem - teachers, students, staff, and families - everyone is involved. Our team of international education experts and partner schools have created one of the largest growing networks that believe school wellbeing matters, and are actively supporting one another to fundamentally transform the education system from the inside out.
4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?
We have developed a digital platform that delivers the critical patch update that the global education system has been needing for over 200 years. Imagine every school across the entire country equipped with a system that tracks, measures, and provides real-time advice to teachers regarding the mental wellbeing of the entire school system. Imagine the healthy staff of this school receiving short, custom training modules that teach the most cutting edge approaches to mental health that psychology has to offer. Imagine the students learning about empathy, cooperation, trust, and igniting creativity and leadership. Imagine a bully-free environment where conflict is resolved with compassion. Imagine the world that this generation would create.
5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?
The current 200-year-old school system is preparing students for jobs that will no longer exist in 50 years. With the rise of digital automation and AI, the future workforce has already begun to emphasize creativity, human wellness, emotional intelligence, and leadership. These skills will become the most highly prized traits required to stand out in the future job market.
The next generation of leaders will need the vision and focused drive required to work together on an international scale so that we can innovate solutions to massive global problems. The Contentment Foundation directly teaches these critical skills through digital technologies, live programming, and online teacher trainings that we are rolling out into schools worldwide.
We deliver training, curricula, and measurement systems to support the next generation of the workforce in learning these critical skills.
5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress
Our program focuses on four key areas of character development. 1) Focused attention. In a world where the human attention span has dropped to under 8 seconds, keeping on task and finding flow is going to be a massive asset to the future workforce. 2) Community. To solve the world's greatest challenges, we need to learn collaboration, trust, responsibility, and service. 3) Self awareness. The greatest leaders have the greatest self-awareness and understanding of how this relates to the outside world. 4) Emotional intelligence. Recognizing, regulating, and managing our - and other's - emotions.
6. Financial capability: how is your organization or project creating innovative solutions that arm people with ability to optimize their current and future financial health
We have conducted a number of studies on how our program impacts the spending and consumption habits of our learners. The Four Pillars of Wellbeing aims to cultivate sustainable wellbeing within, instead of needing the outside world to make us happy. This leads to a reduction in materialism, greed, and scarcity-driven consumption which, downstream, leads to non-optimal financial decisions. We envision a world where people understand that while extrinsic factors like money, prestige, validation, and fame can bring temporary boosts in wellbeing, there is a bigger picture to focus on. This bigger picture involves developing the inner character traits and mindsets that make a healthy and well human being. Those who focus on these mindsets tend to be less dependent on material gains and therefore much more self-sustained from a financial perspective. Healthy mindset leads to healthy finances.
6a. Please describe what aspect of financial capability your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress.
We focus on fostering mental health, wellness, and key psychological factors in developing a healthy relationship to finances. We have a rigorous analytics system that tracks and measures the progress of our program in every school that we work with. We look at 48 outcome measures that relate to school health, wellness, and safety. We have programming for educators, school staff, and family members at home so that all adults are brought into the practices as well. Our program for children has age-differentiated lesson plans from Pre-K through high school, so all schools can get involved.
7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?
There are dozens of mindfulness, wellbeing, and emotional intelligence programs on the market, but none combine skills into a comprehensive curriculum, provide whole-school training, and use rigorous analytics to track and measure performance over time. We also have the most scalable digital solution to bring this program worldwide. We deeply appreciate other organizations out there for blazing the trail, like mindfulschools.org, the RULER approach, SEE learning, MindUP, etc. All of these provided great first-generation tools for transforming schools.
8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
Since our work came out of stealth mode in January 2019, we have impacted the lives of over 15,000 students, ed staff, teachers, and family members in the USA, Singapore, Indonesia, and Bhutan. We have conducted numerous peer-reviewed, published studies on the impact of our work. Furthermore, we collect impact data on every person who uses our online platform, so we are in a position to collect one the largest global dataset on school wellbeing in history. Among many impact outcomes, our program reduces stress, bullying, and negative moods like depression. It increases job satisfaction and retention for teachers, and improves the emotional intelligence of children across all age groups. Our program also increases emotional resilience, which is our buffer against negative stimuli in our life. It also brings families closer together by increasing human-human connection time at home.
9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?
We anticipate that by the end of 2022, we will be a fully financially-sustained nonprofit foundation, and we are on track for that goal. We charge a small yearly membership fee from each school who uses our digital platform, training, and tools. Once we achieve around 500 member schools in our ecosystem, our team will be fully sustained, and we will no longer need to depend on the donation model. We also plan to keep our team relatively small as we scale by partnering with large education distribution/training companies. We already have partnerships in place with Communities in Schools (USA), Pearson Education (UK), and the Edmund Hillary Foundation (NZ). We also plan to work with government agencies to scale into state-run institutions.
For a full overview of our team, please visit https://www.contentment.org/about. Our team is comprised of 15 full time, 20 part time, and around 150 international volunteers representing 10+ countries. We also have 3 growth advisory board members who keep us resourced and 10 top-tier advisors from diverse industries and cultures. Most of our contributors are either Masters or Ph.D. educated, and/or they have renowned achievements in their industry. We intend to keep the team under 25 full time.
Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)
Disability (including: physical, intellectual, and/or mental disabilities)
If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?
In 2014, the NBER published the largest study ever on the psychological wellbeing of every city in the USA. My hometown was at the very bottom of the list. By the time I was 25, most of my family had either died or become completely incapacitated by mental illness, because there were no resources to support them. I also had a congenital heart problem that severely limited my physical capacity and made me the target of traumatic bullying growing up. These events inspired me to serve humanity.
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