2018 annual report

Welcome Welcome


Jonah Edelman

Jonah Edelman, Co-founder & CEO of Stand for Children

“You have to stand up for some things in this world.” ― Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Growing up with a mother who was a Civil Rights Movement leader and child advocate, I learned early on that progress requires prolonged, effective struggle.

Here at Stand for Children we are on that journey. We stand up and speak out every day for the right of children and young people to receive a high-quality education, to be safe from gun violence at school and in their communities, and, in the case of Dreamers, to remain in and contribute to this nation.

From this report, you’ll learn about significant steps forward we achieved for students in the past year in concert with our partners. We’re making a major difference in support of high school students’ success, increasing funding equity, increasing the number of high-quality schools in under-served communities, expanding teacher home visiting, and completing a successful first year of the Middle School Kindness Challenge, just to name a few areas of focus.

As you know, the heart of Stand for Children is parent leaders, and there is one parent leader’s story that stands highest in our hearts and minds. DeJuana McMitchell was a graduate of our Stand University for Parents (Stand UP) program and an active member of Stand for Children in Indianapolis. A mother of two, she wanted a better education for her children than Elder W. Diggs School 42 was providing. So, when the possibility arose for School 42 to be turned into an Innovation Network School with new leadership, despite pushback from many who feared the change, DeJuana took a stand, enlisting other parents and testifying in support before the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) School Board.

After months of struggle, strongly backed by Stand for Children Organizer Ashley Thomas (whose own children attend an IPS school that went from being F-rated to becoming an Innovation School that, three years later, and is now an A-rated school) DeJuana and her fellow parents prevailed. Elder W. Diggs school is now run by Ignite Achievement Academy and is on the path to success. It has energetic, diverse new leadership and a new sense of possibility.

Tragically, DeJuana McMitchell will never get to see her children’s school improve the way Ashley Thomas and so many other Indianapolis parents have. On August 11th, DeJuana was murdered, another victim of the senseless and preventable gun violence that is terrorizing our cities and traumatizing our children. DeJuana’s children, who had already lost their father to gun violence, are now without both parents. They will be raised by their aunt, a mother of two who works at School 42.

DeJuana’s story underscores both how much we can positively impact the quality of children’s education through prolonged, effective struggle, but also why we can’t confine our struggle strictly to education.

At the end of the day, we’re here to create a more just society, where race, zip code, or country of origin doesn’t define a child’s life prospects. Access to quality education from early childhood through post-secondary is fundamental to real opportunity, but more is required.

I am honored to be standing with our parent leaders and with you in this lifelong struggle to create a more just and humane society where children of all backgrounds have a true opportunity to reach their potential.


Jonah Edelman,
Co-founder and CEO of Stand for Children

Jonah Edelman

Jonah Edelman,
Co-founder & CEO of Stand for Children

Impact Impact

Our Impact

We fight for policies and investments made at every level of government, focusing on improving outcomes for under served students.


In today’s economy, a high school diploma is not enough. Students need to excel and gain access to college and career training. More than 1.2 million U.S. students drop out of school every year before reaching college. However, since 2010, the U.S. economy has added 11.6 million jobs, 99% of which have gone to workers with at least some college education. Stand is committed to supporting the Freshman Success Approach – being on track in ninth grade is the primary indicator for high school graduation – and improved access to career and technical education and college-level courses.

Training 1 Training 2 Training 3

Success Doesn’t Come Overnight

For many years, Stand has helped pass new policies that have the power to change education for the better, providing more funding for schools and students who need it most, raising standards, improving assessments, and bringing research-based solutions to the politicians entrusted with making decisions on how to run our public schools.

Passing new policies is not enough. For the past few years, Stand has engaged more and more deeply, learning how to ensure that these policies are funded and implemented with fidelity.

Our effort to implement the Freshman Success Approach is a shining example of our unique ability to not only pass high-quality policies but also to fund and implement them. In Oregon, the moment Measure 98 passed we were setting our sights on a successful implementation model while we prepared to fight for its funding. We launched the Center for High School Success (CHSS) to support school districts and succeeded in securing $170 million in funding for the biennium for Measure 98 – less than the $300 million Oregonians voted for, but $170 million more than schools would have had without our advocacy.

During the 2017-18 school year, CHSS brought the Freshman Success Approach to 17 schools and then trained 350 teachers from 50 schools at locally run Freshman Success Institutes over the summer.

In addition, CHSS has been working with districts on how to best utilize their career and technical education (CTE) funding from Measure 98, and our staff are preparing for the next funding cycle from the state. The goal this time? Full funding!

Across our network of state affiliates, we have begun to roll out the Freshman Success Approach and CTE guidance in several more sites. In Memphis, Tennessee and Indianapolis, Indiana Freshman Success pilots have led to district commitments to expand to all high schools. Stand is also supporting both districts in improving access to high quality CTE programs – in Indianapolis we helped the district and parent community navigate a difficult high school consolidation project that is now leading to the creation of career academies at many of the remaining schools. And, in Washington state, we are beginning a roll out of Freshman Success work made possible through a similar path as we are traveling in Oregon – state funding wins are enabling schools to work with Stand on educator training and then utilization of the Approach in numerous districts.

The work isn’t over yet – our Family Engagement and Organizing Team has designed and is delivering training workshops for parents of eighth and ninth grade students to prepare them for the critical first year of high school. We won’t stop until every student has the support they need to graduate from high school and succeed in college or career!


Although schools with more money tend to do better, just increasing a school’s budget doesn’t guarantee better outcomes. That’s why Stand supports increased funding for schools in states with low funding, increased equity in states with a high level of unfairness, and wise spending across the board.

Fund SB16 Out Students Our Future Support SB1

The Long-term Battle for Fair Funding

Schools in many states, such as Arizona, are woefully underfunded across the board; in other states, such as Illinois, there has been massive inequity in the amount of funding that goes to educate privileged students in wealthy suburbs and the amount that goes to educate disadvantaged students in urban and rural areas.

Last year, we shared with you two huge successes in Illinois: a modified evidence-based funding formula bill with an additional $350M in new funding for the current fiscal year and ending the punitive practice that required a large percentage of federally-funded teacher salaries to be paid into the Teachers Retirement System (this practice disproportionately affected low-income districts like Chicago Public Schools). This second win was one many years in the making – we first began addressing the issue back in 2015. This win took three long years of relentlessly educating lawmakers, engaging with parents and communities, writing and publicizing reports, and collaborating with partners.

This year, in Arizona, we began down the path of another long-term struggle for funding equity. The Invest in Education initiative targeted Arizona’s teacher crisis, which is driven by poor compensation. Arizona has one of the lowest four teacher salary rates in the country and has the highest rate of teachers leaving the classroom; a rate three times the average of the 29 states that provide this data. The Invest in Education Act directly targeted that problem while also helping restore funds cut from public schools during the recession. Realistic estimates put the additional revenue needed to provide for the needs of schools and students at $2 billion. Part of this is teacher salaries which have declined 12% since 2008 – more than all but three states in the nation. Arizona needs about $900 million just to bring teachers to a “living wage.”

In a major surprise, an Arizona State Supreme Court ruling knocked the Invest in Education initiative off the November ballot. And so, we move forward, now pursuing an aggressive marketing campaign to engage the public in demanding that the state invest in education as we look down the road toward the next opportunity to place this issue on the ballot. When the time comes next, our campaign will have created the groundswell of public support that should keep the issue in the spotlight.

That said, not all funding comes in large chunks. Sometimes we make incremental progress, as in Colorado with an additional million dollars put toward the state’s Early Literacy Grant program that supports districts working to improve the reading skills of early elementary students. Sometimes we lay groundwork, as we did in Illinois in support of the state teacher association’s push to increase the state’s minimum teacher salary. As we shared with our local supporters earlier this year, a raise in the minimum teacher salary is long overdue.

A lot can change in 38 years. Think thinner TVs, better gas mileage for cars, and phones we carry in our pockets. You know what hasn’t changed in 38 years? The minimum salary set in Illinois law for an Illinois teacher.

And, in Massachusetts, we are also seeking greater school funding equity. With a campaign organizing parents in 100 districts across the state, we are doing our part in a larger battle for at least $1 billion in increased school funding for school districts that serve under-resourced communities.


Kindness, like other skills, needs to be taught, fostered, and celebrated. Kind schools are more effective at helping students succeed, both in school and in life. At schools where educators intentionally teach practical life skills related to kindness, students feel a greater sense of safety, support, and acceptance.

Kindness Champions Kindness Champions Kindness Champions Kindness Champions

Kindness is Spreading

Stand’s Middle School Kindness Challenge (MSKC) launched at the start of the 2017-18 school year. By the end of year, 416 schools across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. had meaningfully participated and 261 achieved Champion status, fully completing every requirement of the program. The more than 3,250 educators who participated taught Kindness activities over 17,000 times.

All these numbers matter, because in America’s schools, the lives of millions of students are negatively affected by a lack of basic kindness. Along with many disturbing trends in teen suicide, cyber bullying, chronic school absenteeism, and school discipline, at least 25% of middle schoolers report that they are bullied each year.

“I think that teachers learned that encouraging students to be kind had such a positive impact on the entire school community. Noticing all the kind things students were doing for each other created a strong sense of love and caring among our students.” – teacher quote

As we offer the no-cost Kindness Challenge to schools for a second year, we are inspired daily by the stories we hear. We chose ten finalist schools during each cycle of the program and from those, selected one Kindness Champion School for the fall and spring cycles of the program. These schools were recognized for the extent of thier participation and for creating incredibly unique and inspiring Kindness Rituals (as their capstone activity) that left lasting impacts on their school and forever changed their climate.

At Bowman Middle School in North Carolina, students and staff decided to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital as a way to learn hands-on about being kind to others. The project became deeply personal for the school when, later in the school year, one of their own students was admitted to St. Jude with a life-threatening illness.

At Crystal Lake Middle School in Broward County, Florida, the goal was to foster closer relationships between students and adults, so they created a series of school-wide competitions that highlight kind actions for all to see. They didn’t stop there. At their annual Community Connection event, 300 donated backpacks were handed out along with more than eight pallets of food donated by Feeding South Florida.

At the cycle one Kindness Champion School, Milkovich Middle School in Ohio, the students created a “Kindness Shop” where any student in need could find basic necessities, free of charge, in an environment of trust and respect. The school went on to run the entire Challenge again for cycle two and has ensured that kindness has a continuing impact on their school and community.

And, at the cycle two Kindness Champion School, Harshman Middle School in Indiana, a group of 15 female students led the charge, holding a 30-day social media challenge to post only positive messages and the hashtag #killemwithkindness before holding a full-school “Kindness Knockout” event where community organizations were invited to join teachers and students for a meal and various kindness activities.


For children growing up in high poverty communities, great schools can be a ticket to educational success and upward mobility and mediocre schools a pipeline to continued poverty and, too often, entanglement in the criminal justice system. That’s why, in districts across the country, Stand works with parents who are deeply committed to their children’s education to improve chronically low performing public schools.

Parent Volunteers Kids Helping Out Parent Volunteers

Parents Fight for the Great Schools Their Kids Deserve

Improving chronically poor performing public schools is incredibly challenging but, as our experience over the past five years in Indianapolis shows, with strong parent support and the right school and district leadership, it is possible.

In 2012, over 66% of the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) district students attended failing schools rated “D” or “F” by the state and only 65% were graduating high school on time.

Now, the graduation rate has increased to 83% and the percentage of students attending low performing schools is down fourteen points to 52% (which is still far too high).

This remarkable journey, which is far from over, began with Stand playing a primary role in electing a school board challenger in 2012 whose victory led the previous superintendent to resign and an effective new superintendent, Dr. Lewis Ferebee, being hired.

Improvements in IPS progressed as a result of five key factors:

  • Dr. Ferebee’s and the school board’s willingness to confront the district’s school quality crisis;
  • Passage of a new state law that gave Dr. Ferebee great autonomy to turn around failing schools
  • Recruitment by the Mind Trust of several outstanding, diverse school leaders as fellows who were provided a year to develop detailed plans for turning around failing schools;
  • Stand organizers, one of whom organized fellow parents as a volunteer to push the district to transform her child’s school, organizing parents at F and D rated schools to demand the district transform their children’s failing schools;
  • Stand playing a key role in helping maintain a strong school board majority committed to improving school quality.

The multiple factors leading to Indianapolis’ steady school improvement are difficult to replicate, which is why so many districts struggle to address chronically poor school quality.

That said, we are attempting with partners to put the lessons to use four states and over 850 miles away in East Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where more than half of the students attend “D” or “F” ranked schools, and only 66.7% graduate high school on time. Parents are energized and the school board has shifted, and now the challenge is for the new Board to recruit a leader of Dr. Lewis Ferebee’s ability and character, and to find and develop outstanding, diverse school leaders to turnaround persistently failing schools. It is a long road ahead but, to provide a chance at a better life for thousands of East Baton Rouge students who are growing up in poverty, there is no other choice.


Through the Home Visit Project, we train and empower teachers to conduct relationship-building home visits with their students’ families. Although it is not Stand’s traditional model, it is a tremendously impactful, evidence-based strategy that has produced results: attendance is up, discipline referrals are down, students are more engaged, teachers report higher job satisfaction, and families feel more connected to their schools.

Family and Teacher Family and Teacher

Building Teacher Family Partnerships

In three years, the Home Visit Project, implemented by Stand Texas, has grown from an experiment in parent engagement to a relationships-first movement. What began as a pilot with 46 educators at 10 schools has spread across Dallas Independent School District, Fort Worth Independent School District, and beyond, not because of a district mandate for teachers to visits parents at home, but because teacher after teacher has said to their colleagues, “Do this. It will change your perspective and it will change your practice.” During the 2017-18 school year, 700 teachers and staff from 72 Dallas/Ft. Worth public schools voluntarily completed more than 5,400 relationship-building home visits and the project is only getting stronger.

Our vision is that more schools and districts will see meaningful, relationship-building home visits as their best first step in connecting schools with the families they serve, that they will continue to honor the spirit and guiding principles of the project, and that they will direct financial resources toward training teachers and staff to conduct these visits and compensating them for spending their personal time doing so.

Because of the Home Visit Project, teachers, staff, families, and communities are developing genuine relationships with kids at the center. Teachers and school leaders agree – the relationships created through home visits are opening lines of communication and transforming schools and communities into families.


Elections can make the difference between steps forward in helping students succeed in school and life and steps backward for students who desperately need a better education than they’re getting. That’s why Stand recruits, endorses, and helps elect candidates who will make decisions that provide a better education to the students who need it most.

Spreading Brochures Collecting Signatures Door to Door Engaging with Lawmakers Supporting Community

Champions Worthy of the Students They Serve

Stand targeted 73 races and eight ballot questions this calendar year and won 80% of them – electing 59 education champions to office and passing six ballot questions. Here are some of the highlights.

Arizona: Stand Arizona targeted seven State Senate and House races. All three Senate incumbents won re-election. Of the four House races, one candidate won, three candidates lost. We were also successful in helping defeat Prop 305 which would have expanded the state’s education savings account (ESA) program.

Colorado: We endorsed candidates in six legislative races and gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis, all of whom won their elections. We look forward to supporting Governor-elect Polis and our legislative partners’ push for full-day kindergarten and targeted funds to lift Colorado’s low high school graduation rate. Stand also supported the incredibly close win of the Prosperity Denver Initiative, which will raise the sales tax to allocate $14 million per year to a Denver College Affordability Fund serving thousands of students in need using a pay-for-success model. Our canvassers and parents knocked on over 16,500 doors to support the initiative.

Dallas, Texas: Stand supported the Dallas Vote 4 Kids campaign, which passed a substantial local property tax increase that will generate $126 million every year to increase pay for teachers, expand early childhood education, provide more schools of choice, advance racial equity, and offer innovative pathways to college and careers.

Illinois: To bolster our efforts in Illinois for equitable funding and policies and investments that increase graduation rates and graduates’ preparation for college and career, Stand endorsed 26 legislative candidates and targeted 18. Fourteen of the targeted 18 won their races.

Indianapolis, Indiana: With Stand’s strong support, two crucial referenda passed overwhelmingly that will channel more than $270 million in urgently needed operating and facilities funds to Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) over five years. More than 90% of the operating money will go to teacher salary increases to help IPS become more competitive with surrounding districts. The capital funds will go to improve school building safety and security. Stand contributed $100,000 directly to the referenda committee and provided roughly $165,000 in “in-kind” support — primarily paid canvassing, mailers and digital advertising — between September 1 and election day. In the school board races, we helped recruit and elect Evan Hawkins in District 3 but our other two endorsed candidates were defeated, resulting in a 4-3 pro-progress Board majority.

Louisiana: Stand Louisiana was successful in electing all four of our targeted candidates in the East Baton Rouge School District, including Tramelle Howard, a dynamic educator and graduate of Stand’s Education Leadership Institute who won his first term on the school board and is the youngest African-American male elected to the board. These wins create a Board majority that will lead to significant improvements for East Baton Rouge Students. Meanwhile, in Jefferson Parish, Stand also won six School Board Races, protecting a narrow progress-focused majority and supporting the strong, newly- installed Superintendent.

Oregon: Stand Oregon ran a robust endorsement process, weighing in on 43 state legislative races and the gubernatorial race in support of candidates committed to full funding for Measure 98 (see High School Success section). 42 of the 43 candidates we backed won, including Governor Kate Brown (who won with 49% of the vote), Reps. Paul Evans from Salem (won with 53.4% of the vote), Anna Williams from Hood River (won with 51.4% of the vote), and Cheri Helt from Bend (won with 58.5% of the vote), and Sen. Chuck Thomsen from Hood River (who won by a fraction of a percentage point). With a Democratic supermajority in both chambers, the Oregon legislature is well-positioned to pass a revenue reform package next legislative session that ensures full Measure 98 funding, adequate overall school funding, and, potentially, additional targeted education investments while also, we hope, reining in surging pension costs.

Shelby County, Tennessee: In the three key County Commission races we targeted, including the County Mayor’s race, our endorsed candidates won, creating a majority on the Commission that will support additional revenue for education. In the most closely contested commission race, which Michael Whaley won by less than 300 votes out of 10,000 cast, we sent six pieces of mail and did five weeks of static digital ads focused on the large percentage of undecided voters.

Washington: We helped four of our six targeted candidates prevail, unseating two incumbent Senators and one Representative, and won 12 of 15 endorsed races. The results leave us better positioned to accomplish important legislative goals for students, which included requiring and funding districts to implement an evidence-based early warning and intervention system to keep ninth graders on track, requiring and supporting districts to adopt an Academic Acceleration policy that results in students being automatically qualified for advanced classes based on merit, and increasing the presence of guidance counselors and college and career counselors in Washington high schools.

Finance Finance


C3 Expenses
by state

C3 Financials
Charity Navigator Four Star Guidestar Valued Partner

Stand for Children Leadership Center maintains a four-star rating for sound fiscal management from Charity Navigator, the nation’s premier independent evaluator of charitable organizations.

C3 Board of Directors

C3 Financials

Stand for Children Leadership Center is a 501(c)(3) public charity focused on education advocacy. The organization ended FY2018 in a strong financial position and continued to maintain six months of operating reserves.

These financial results are unaudited. The FY2018 audited financial statements will be available in January 2019.

C3 Expenses
by state

C3 Financials
C3 Financials
Charity Navigator Four Star Charity GuideStar Valued Partner

Stand for Children Leadership Center maintains a four-star rating for sound fiscal management from Charity Navigator, the nation’s premier independent evaluator of charitable organizations.

C3 Board of Directors

Stand for Children Leadership Center is a 501(c)(3) public charity focused on education advocacy. The organization ended FY2018 in a strong financial position and continued to maintain six months of operating reserves.

These financial results are unaudited. The FY2018 audited financial statements will be available in January 2019.

C4 Expenses
by state

C4 Financials
C4 Financials

Stand for Children, Inc. is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization which also includes state-level 527 organizations. The organization strategically leverages resources on a year-to-year basis to engage in lobbying and electoral work where opportunities arise.

C4 Board of Directors

These financial results are unaudited. The FY2018 audited financial statements will be available in January 2019.

C4 Expenses
by state

C4 Financials
C4 Financials

Stand for Children, Inc. is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization which also includes state-level 527 organizations. The organization strategically leverages resources on a year-to-year basis to engage in lobbying and electoral work where opportunities arise.

C4 Board of Directors

These financial results are unaudited. The FY2018 audited financial statements will be available in January 2019.

Past Annual Reports

2013 2014 2015–2016 2017
Funders and Partners Funders and Partners

Funders and Partners

Our Donors

We are grateful to have an extraordinary group of supporters who believe in our work. As we share our impact in this report, we would like to thank the following donors who contributed $100,000 or more during our 2018 fiscal year and our primary program partners. We would also like to thank the many donors and organizational partners who are too numerous to list but whose contributions support all aspects of our work and success. Without their support, none of our achievements for students would be possible!

Stand for Children Leadership Center

Anonymous (3) Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Ballmer Philanthropy Group Barr Foundation Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bloomberg Philanthropies Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation Collins Foundation Crown Family Philanthropies Dallas Foundation Einhorn Family Charitable Trust George and Fay Young Foundation, Inc. Hasbro Children’s Fund Hastings Education Fund, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation Helios Education Foundation James Crown James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation Memphis Education Fund Meyer Memorial Trust Moriah Fund Stanford University The Joyce Foundation The Mind Trust Walton Family Foundation

Stand for Children, Inc.

Anonymous Ballmer Philanthropy Group Reed Hastings Laura and John Arnold The Michael R. Bloomberg Revocable Trust Tom and Susan Dunn Walton Education Coalition


American Association of School Administrators American Federation of Teachers AVID Democrats for Education Reform Educators 4 Excellence Facing History and Ourselves Greater Good Science Center Harvard Making Caring Common Initiative InspirED National Academy Foundation National Education Association Network for College Success New Leaders Partners for Innovation in Education Network Teach For America Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence