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Criterion Institute Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: Broaden what matters in our economic decisions by expanding who has power and influence in the work of reinventing the economy through research, training, and institutional engagement.

Programs: Criterion seeks partnerships with institutions where there is alignment of goals, where learning is mutual, and where each organization advances its mission. This way of relating disrupts traditional power dynamics and patterns of control. Even in engagement with organizations much larger than criterion, we own and exercise our own power. In turn we seek to embolden large institutions to use their power to engage systems of finance in order to create social change.

our training events are inviting, participatory, practical and engaging. We tend to teach not from a case study which shows what has been done, but by explicating the components of the systems so that participants can build something new. Learning processes are intentionally designed to assist those with limited background in the subject to feel comfortable, participate fully, and to contribute their wisdom and perspectives. Increasingly, the tools of our training programs are being adapted to be more accessible to those who are most marginalized from established financial circles. That could include adaptations in language, reading level, or cultural style.

criterion research thrives in a culture of curiosity and innovation. Our approach to research expands possibilities beyond what the established authorities have determined. It begins with listening to what is going on out in the world, connecting diverse people and ideas, and engaging in conversations on the edge to discover something new. It crosses traditional disciplines. It privileges the voices of outsiders, believing they are the source of new perspectives and insights. It welcomes people into a place of comfort and gives them permission to contribute, even outside of their area of expertise. Distinctive methods of curation allow for diverse ideas to be captured and connected in creative ways. This approach upends traditional sources of authority and promotes innovation.

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