Investing in the Future of Education

2019 CANnual Report



Dear friends,

2019 was a year of raising the bar. We added 2,300 new advocates through the launch of innovative local and national training programs and secured 22 major policy wins, the most in our organization’s history. We also expanded our network into Colorado with the addition of the innovative grassroots advocacy campaign Transform Education Now.

From the islands of Hawaii to the shores of New Jersey, our network of advocates helped us secure policy wins that moved us closer to the day when every student in America has access to an excellent school of their choice.

In 2019, we also made significant progress on all four of the big bets that have guided our network over the past five years: to add more people with diverse skills and backgrounds to this cause, to give greater opportunities to lead advocacy campaigns of all shapes and sizes, to set smarter and more transformational goals and to equip advocates with stronger tools to increase the odds of success.

Yet the work is far from over. We are now building upon the foundations we created in 2019 to tackle the enormous challenges facing students, families and teachers in 2020. Your partnership, advice and support will help us continue to advocate for the education systems our children deserve.

Marc Porter Magee
CEO and Founder
Pastor Michael Phillips
Board Chair



Achieved 22 policy wins
Achieved 26 leadership goals
Trained 2,300 new advocates
Added 1 new campaign Transform Education Now
605 meetings with lawmakers
14,692 emails from community members to legislators
122 media mentions
550 individual donations received

50CAN is, ultimately, about people. We are working to build an organization where talented advocates are able to do the best work of their lives in a culture that supports and sustains them.


As of December 2019
  • Atnre Alleyne
  • Amanda Aragon
  • Hayley Arlin
  • Chris Ameto
  • Alissa Bernstein
  • Carla Blanc
  • Derrell Bradford
  • Marcus Brandon
  • Ashley Brown
  • Charles Bufalino
  • Danielle Capalbo
  • Stephanie Chapman
  • Constance Clark
  • Su Cui
  • Victor Evans
  • Robert Fontenot
  • Elizabeth Frosch-Taylor
  • Subira Gordon
  • Aisha Heredia
  • Mina Hosseini
  • Hamish MacPhail
  • Marc Porter Magee
  • Nicholas Martinez
  • David Miyashiro
  • Patricia Morgan
  • Ryan Nelson
  • Lauren Nguyen
  • Jonathan Nikkila
  • Kelsey O’Brien
  • Michael O’Sullivan
  • Steven Quinn
  • Shelonda Richardson
  • Anne Salorio
  • Yannell Selman
  • Andi Shaw
  • Stephen Sidorak
  • Ariel Smith
  • Ned Stanley
  • Chris Tessone
  • Evy Valencia
  • Vallay Varro
  • Daniel Walker
  • Toni Williams

National Board

As of December 2019
  • Michael Phillips, Board Chair
    Senior Pastor, The Kingdom Life Church
  • Ann Borowiec
    Former CEO, JP Morgan Private Wealth Management
  • Campbell Brown
    Head of News Partnerships, Facebook
  • Katherine Haley
    Senior Director for K-12 Education Programs, The Philanthropy Roundtable
  • Deepa Javeri
    Founder and CEO, Propel
  • Marc Porter Magee
    CEO & Founder, 50CAN
  • Roland Martin
    Managing Editor & Host, Roland Martin #Unfiltered
  • Andrew Schwedel
    Partner, Bain & Company
  • Dacia Toll
    Co-CEO & President, Achievement First

State Advisory Boards

As of December 2019


  • Derrick Diggs, Board Chair
    Director of Business Development, Diggs Construction
  • Andy Boas
    Principal, Carl Marks Management, LLC; Director, Bridgeport Public Education Fund
  • John N. Irwin III
    Managing Director, Brookside International; Chairman, Achelis and Bodman Foundation; Executive Board Member and Chairman on Trustees, Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Shelly Kassen
    Selectman, Town of Westport; Board of Directors, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Erika Long
    Founder, Capere Group
  • Brian Olson
    Co-Founder, Viking Global Investors; Chairman, Civic Builder
  • Andrew Schwedel
    Partner, Bain & Company
  • Michael Sullivan
    Managing Director, Point72 Asset Management; Board Member, StudentsFirstNY
  • Deepa Javeri
    Founder and CEO, Propel


  • Rod Ward, Board Chair
    President, Corporation Services Company
  • Chantalle Ashford
    Teacher, Indian River High School
  • Dr. Teri Quinn Gray
    President, Delaware State Board of Education
  • Darryl Scott
    Former Legislator, Delaware State House of Representatives
  • Luis Garcia
    Student, University of Delaware
  • Robert Wright
    Hazardous Materials Program Manager, Bayhealth Medical Center


  • Erin Hames
    President, ReformEd
  • Danielle LeSure
    Founder, EdConnect
  • Joselyn Baker
    Founder, Butler Baker Communications
  • Dwight Ho-Sang
    Principal, KIPP WAYS Academy
  • Robert Hennessy
    President, Hennessy Jaguar Land Rover Centers of Atlanta


  • Jeff Arce, Board Chair
    Senior Advisor, The MacNaughton Group
  • Jill Baldemor
    Executive Director, Teach for America, Hawai‘i
  • Nancy Barry
    Founding President, Ho‘ala Foundation for Education
  • Tea Giacomelli
    Managing Director, Strategent Search
  • Danny Goya
    Director of Development and Program Manager, Partners in Development Foundation
  • AJ Halagao
    Director of Marketing and Executive Vice President, Hawaiian Electric | HEI Charitable Foundation
  • Tiffany Huynh
    Senior Account Executive, Anthology Marketing Group
  • Elisa Yadao
    Senior Vice President and Chief Communications & Community Engagement Officer, HMSA | Blue Cross Blue Shield of Hawai‘i


  • Pamela Blizzard, Board Chair
    Managing Director, Research Triangle High
  • Nafeesha Irby
    Executive Director, TFA Piedmont Triad
  • Rick Lawson
    Executive Director, The Children’s Museum of Wilmington
  • Taylor Griffin
    Consultant, North Carolina
  • Tricia Cotham
    Former Legislator, North Carolina State House of Representatives


  • Ann Borowiec, Co-Board Chair
    Former CEO, JP Morgan Private Wealth Management
  • Tom Kean, Co-Board Chair
    Former Governor, State of New Jersey
  • Ray Chambers
    UN Special Envoy, Financing the Health MDGs and for Malaria
  • Mary Farrell
    Director, The Maeve Foundation, Inc.
  • Sarah Keh
    Vice President, Corporate Giving of Prudential Financial
  • Tom Healey, Emeritus Member
    Managing Partner, Healey Development
  • Dr. Michael Nettles
    Senior Vice President, Educational Testing Service
  • Larry Rogers
    Treasurer, Better Education for Kids
  • Walter Shipley, Emeritus Member
    Retired Chairman and CEO, Chase Manhattan Bank
  • Josh Weston, Emeritus Member
    Honorary Chairman, ADP, Inc.
  • Sam Cole
    President and COO, Phigital, Inc.
  • Christine Healey
    President, Healey Education Foundation
  • Susan Bass Levin
    President and CEO, The Cooper Foundation
  • Chris Cerf
    President, Montclair Education Partners
  • Dr. Anju Thomas
    Former Scientist and Lecturer, Various


  • Steven G. Tepper
    General Counsel, Selfhelp Community Services
  • Sam Roberts
    Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Society
  • Ron Jacobs
    Partner, Venable LLP
  • Ralia Polechronis
    Counsel, Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz

P.S. 305

  • Luisa Santos
    CEO, Lulu’s Ice Cream
  • Ryan Pontier
    Professor of Bilingual Education, Florida International University
  • Brandon Alfred
    Dean, Miami-Dade County Public Schools


  • Susan Rhodes, on behalf of Janet Ayers
    President, The Ayers Foundation
  • John Eason
    Principal, Diversified Trust
  • Sutton Mora Hayes
    EVP and COO, Community Foundation of Greater Memphis



In 2015, we committed to investing in four, interconnected big bets:

  • More people with diverse skills and backgrounds;
  • Given greater opportunities to lead advocacy campaigns of all shapes and sizes;
  • Aimed at smarter and more transformational goals; and
  • Equipped with stronger advocacy tools to increase the odds of success.

In 2019, these “big bets” were met with clear results. Here are stories of each from our campaigns:

More People

In 2019, for the first time in our organization’s history, 100 percent of our campaigns ran programs to recruit, train and support the next generation of advocates. The result was the largest increase in the number of advocates in the field we’ve seen thus far.


In Georgia alone, the team trained over 1,000 parent advocates—often meeting in small groups at the local Pizza Hut to discuss education priorities and tactics—and they played a key role both shaping GeorgiaCAN’s agenda and in driving wins at the statehouse, including increased facility funding for charter schools across the state.


HawaiiKidsCAN has long believed that students are best positioned to know how the education system must change because they’re living in it every day. That’s why they created We Are Voices of Excellence (WAVE), a student leadership program that trains students—representing multiple islands and traditional public, charter, private and home schools—on the basics of advocacy and connects them with the state board of education and legislators.


Recognizing the need to expand the number of national messengers to shape the public conversation, we launched the 50CAN National Voices fellowship in 2019, bringing together 10 diverse individuals to build their skills in media, communications and policy. This first cohort of fellows has since appeared on television, radio and in newspapers across the country helping center on national conversation on the needs of students and families.

Greater Opportunities

In 2019, we added to the strength of the network by incorporating a new campaign and by recognizing the talents of several committed advocates by bringing them into positions of leadership.

A new partner in Colorado

Transform Education Now (TEN), based in the Denver Metro area, joined the 50CAN network in the spring of 2019. Founded on a belief that informed parent leaders will demand urgent change in their schools and for their students, TEN led conversations in multiple school districts and with the State Board of Education demanding strong accountability systems and interventions for struggling schools. Through their parent advocacy work, in 2019 they supported three new school applications and a state intervention in a chronically underperforming school district.

New leaders

We welcomed two new leaders into the position of executive director in 2019. In both Tennessee and Miami, we found our next great campaign leader from within.

In Tennessee, Victor Evans stepped into the role of executive director after serving as deputy director. Victor led the work on education savings accounts that culminated in a win, giving low-income students who attended chronically underperforming schools the ability to access a private school of their choice. That win was coupled with the creation of an independent, statewide authorizer for charter schools.

In Miami, Mina Hosseini stepped into the executive director role after having served as the lead education organizer. In her first year as executive director, Mina expanded her staff, secured new national funding and kicked off a campaign plan to expand social-emotional learning through parent-led research meetings.

Smarter Goals

In 2019, our campaigns committed to raising the bar on the policy goals they set for their cities and states. Not only did we secure 22 victories in statehouses across the country, more than any prior year in 50CAN’s history, but these wins mattered more because of their impact on students and families. A few highlights:

A win for children with dyslexia in Georgia

In the southeast, Georgia once stood alone as the only state in the region to have neither a dyslexia identification program nor educator training on dyslexia. In 2019 GeorgiaCAN worked hand-in-hand with the Decoding Dyslexia coalition. Through their efforts, they passed a bill that had been stymied for years. Georgia law now requires universal screening for all kindergartners and a legal requirement for schools to implement techniques to help dyslexic students, meaning that a significant number of children who would have otherwise never been diagnosed will instead have access to necessary services they’ll need to fulfill their potential.

Broadening choice for families in New Mexico

In New Mexico, an effort to limit parents’ ability to select a school for their children by imposing a moratorium on new charter schools looked like it was a certain victory—until NewMexicoKidsCAN and their partners stepped forward. Organizing a massive grassroots effort of charter school parents, the team was able to get the bill pulled before it came up for a floor vote, paving the way for new high-quality charter schools to open across the state.

Greater funding for charter schools in Tennessee

In Tennessee, high-quality charter schools were hamstrung not by a moratorium but by funding, with charters receiving only a fraction of facilities funding compared to other public schools. By doubling charter facility funding from $6 million to $12 million, TennesseeCAN ensured that the more than 30,000 children attending charters in the states would get their fair share of educational resources.

Better Tools

In 2019, we launched two efforts to democratize knowledge of advocacy so that it could empower advocacy working across the country on behalf of students, both inside and outside of our network.

The 50CAN Guide to Political Advocacy

“Political engagement is critical if you want to advance your policy agenda,” 50CAN Senior Vice President Joanthan Nikkila writes in The 50CAN Guide to Political Advocacy, a book we published in 2019 to equip our campaigns with a new set of tactics to better advance their goals. The book is a step-by-step guide through the political process, from recruiting candidates to fundraising to understanding election law.

AdvocacyLabs: The Science of Advocacy

In collaboration with FutureED at Georgetown University, 2019 saw the launch of AdvocacyLabs, an initiative that brings together academic research on advocacy and exclusive data from education advocacy campaigns to provide insights into the most effective ways to improve outcomes for students. Among the thought-provoking findings: a little opposition is a good thing and the hardest changes to secure are the modest ones.



$100,000 +

Barr Foundation
Baton Rouge Area Foundation
Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bouncer Foundation
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
Charles Koch Foundation
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Daniels Fund
Harold K.L. Castle Foundation
Longwood Foundation
Memphis Education Fund
The Prudential Foundation
RedefinED Atlanta
The Walton Family Foundation


Andrew Schwedel
Andy Boas
Arthur M. Blank Foundation
JJJ Charitable Foundation
Rose Community Foundation
Olson Family Fund
New Profit Foundation
The Rock Foundation (Arthur Rock)
Tony Davis


Allegany Franciscan Ministries
Ann Borowiec
BE Foundation
The Boston Foundation
Chichester DuPont Foundation
Delaware Community Foundation (Rod Ward)
Gary DeBode
Educational Testing Services
The Eileen and Leslie Quick Charitable Fund
Fairfield County’s Community Foundation
Mary R. Farrell
F.M. Kirby Foundation
Garrett A. Turner Foundation Fund
Hawaii Community Foundation
Katherine Haley
Thomas Healey
Dev Ittycheria
Rose Ellen Greene
Javeri Fund
Joe C. Davis Foundation
Koaniani Fund of the Hawai’i Community Foundation
Lone Pine Foundation, Inc
James and Mary Perry
The Margaret & Daniel Loeb-Third Point Foundation
John William Pope Foundation
New Venture Fund
Nonami Foundation
The Vince & Linda McMahon Family Foundation
Turrell Fund
Erika Long
Manatee Community Foundation
MCJ Amelior Foundation
The Miami Foundation
Pacific Resource Partnership
Process Equipment & Service Co., Inc.
Robins Foundation
Sandia National Labs
Sartain Lanier Family Foundation, Inc.
Shelly and Michael Kassen Philanthropic Fund
Speedwell Foundation
Michael Tooke
Wallace Stettinius
William E. Simon Foundation
Finn Wentworth

* in-kind contribution


Andrew Ashforth
Jeff Arce
Ken Bartels
Kristin Chapman
Delores Clark
Derrick Diggs
Donnell-Kay Foundation
Timothy Foxen*
Georgia Charter Schools Association
The Gi Go Fund, Inc
Hawaii Community Foundation
Hawaiian Telcom, Inc.
International Business Machines Corporation
JobPath Partners LLC
Alex Johnston
Joseph Lujan
The Kirby Family Fund
Arthur Linares
MacNaughton Group
Miami Homes For All, Inc.
The McCall Kulak Family Foundation
Laurisa Schutt
Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation
Science & Technology Park Development Corporation
Wells Fargo Foundation
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
Alex O. Romero
Laurisa Schutt
Hanna Skandera
Smoky Torgerson
We Raise New Jersey Coalition
Brett Williams
The Witmer Family Fund


2019 balance sheet

Total assets
Total liabilities

Total net assets



Ensuring that every student in America has access to an excellent school is essential work that is only possible by the countless contributions of advocates and supporters across the country. Thank you for all that you have done—and will do in the future—to join us in building the education system of the future.

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