The California-based Social Publishers Foundation (SPF) has initiated the soft-launch of the foundation’s website. The website supports the foundation’s mission of encouraging and supporting practitioners in education, social services, community development and healthcare in the production and dissemination of practice-based knowledge. According to Board President Lonnie Rowell, “the foundation’s approach is based on an understanding that the poor morale among educators and social service providers is not just about money. With increasing pressures associated with calls for greater accountability, those working ‘in the trenches’ of education and social services often feel left out of the conversation about best practices. Too often, ‘local’ knowledge based on accumulated practice wisdom is shown little respect.” The foundation’s view is that a more inclusive approach to knowledge production is needed in the search for creative solutions to pressing social problems in local, national, and global contexts.
The foundation’s website combines crowdfunding for practitioner-initiated research projects with knowledge mobilization and dissemination for educators and human service and healthcare providers such as classroom teachers, counselors, social workers, health care providers, and community workers. The website includes applications for crowdfunding of practitioner research projects and for publishing already completed practitioner research. In addition, practitioners also may apply for crowdfunding of product development based on previously completed practitioner research.
All work published on the foundation’s website is owned by the authors and can be published in other outlets as well. Items published in other outlets also can be published on the SPF website, provided that authors have permission to do this. The long-range goal of the foundation is to support innovation in democratizing knowledge production and dissemination. As Board President Rowell puts it, “we want teachers, counselors, youth workers, and human service providers in general to be acknowledged for the work they do and the knowledge they produce week in and week out. In short, we intend to serve those who serve our children, youth and families.”