The idea for the foundation was formed when the concept of social entrepreneurship projects was implemented at Ideal Schools in Ashburn, Virginia (currently Loudoun School for the Gifted). The primary goal was to improve K12 educational outcomes by promoting innovative academic programs that are not traditionally available in primary or secondary schools, but which academic research suggests could improve student motivation and learning.
By teaching a course on 'entrepreneurship' to take an idea to fruition, young adults were encouraged to develop and run projects to support a social cause. Examples of past student-led projects are D5misuc.org, a project to facilitate teenage musicians create and showcase their work, and theblurb.org, a zagat-like service for teenagers.
The Foundation was originally created to encourage schools to provide academic programs that are innovative with three major components:
a) the programs will define a social problem that it is looking to solve if not bring awareness to
b) the programs will operate using entrepreneurial principles
c) the programs will define metrics to measure student and social outcomes.
The Merge Foundation has formed a board and a team of trusted advisers to implement programs across schools to encourage young adults to follow their passions and make their mark in the real world.