The Sustainable Progress and Equality Collective (SPEC) is an open learning organization that helps individuals and communities become catalysts for positive change. SPEC's mission is to empower people to become globally-minded change agents by helping them learn the essential skills required to build sustainable careers and make a positive impact in their communities.

We aim to uplift people from underrepresented backgrounds and communities by providing equitable opportunities through research, mentorship, training, work experience, service-learning, and events promoting professional growth, environmental sustainability, and social justice.

Core Values

SPEC's founders established the collective based on the core values of sustainability, progress, and equality. These values provide a recipe for building organizations that are radically transparent, sustainable, and equitable. The world is constantly changing and SPEC will continuously evolve to adapt, incorporating the voices and collective knowledge of its members. To learn more about SPEC's Core Values click the link below.

Our Work

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

Richard Buckminster Fuller

We are developing a model for building radically transparent, equitable, and sustainable organizations and communities. SPEC is just over two years old, but we've already accomplished a lot!

  • Provided credit-bearing internships or paid work experiences

  • Incubated and supported several community partnerships focused on addressing issues of inequity in the US and abroad

  • Hosted a series of panel discussions and deliberative conversations designed to provide safe and brave spaces to address critical issues

  • Launched the Journal of Engaged Research

  • Sponsored a virtual LGBTQIA+ art gallery

  • Developed the SPEC Learning platform and piloted a free micro-credential course

  • Contributed to open-source software and sustainability initiatives

Our Team

SPEC is run by a small and dedicated team of contributors and volunteers. We come from different social identities, backgrounds, and perspectives. SPEC's co-founders and steering committee work entirely on a volunteer basis, have no financial stake in the collective and do not receive compensation in any form. See our team page to learn more.

Our Collective

SPEC is organized as an open collective, a collaborative group that has a shared mission, which raises and spends funds transparently to achieve goals. SPEC is hosted on Open Collective, an online funding platform that provides groups with the tools for raising and sharing their finances in full transparency. The platform makes all contributions and expenses visible to the public. SPEC's budget and expenses can be found on its Open Collective page.

SPEC is fiscally sponsored by the Open Collective Foundation 501(c)(3) (OCF), which allows it to operate without legally incorporating, and accept tax deductible donations, and pay contributors. OCF's mission is to empower impact-focused groups working on increasing access to educational resources and training, creating a positive social impact, and fostering civic participation within cities and communities.

OCF is creating a legal, financial, and technical commons for a solidarity economy, economic activities that prioritize social profitability instead of purely financial profits. A distinguishing characteristic of solidarity economy entities is the participatory and democratic nature of their governance in decision-making processes. Active participation of all people involved in decision-making contributes to community empowerment. Learn more on our organization page.

Become a contributor!

SPEC is always looking for highly dedicated contributors who have an interest in and passion for sustainability, social justice, and community development. Help us build a world that works for everyone and protect the planet! If you are interested in becoming a researcher or contributor at SPEC please email us at

The more information about your research interests, areas expertise, and learning objectives the better. Please attach or link any helpful information about you including your resume or CV, cover letter, and portfolio. You can also review our onboarding documentation to familiarize yourself with SPEC processes and procedures.

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