Today we’re excited to announce a merger with StudentsFirst to establish a stronger nationwide network of state education advocacy campaigns. Our partnership will build upon the locally led campaigns and leadership development efforts that have accomplished so much for kids over the past five years, paving the way to support even more local leaders in the years ahead.
This merger is the next phase of an evolution to open up the world of education advocacy and provide opportunities for diverse, passionate individuals to bring a high-quality education to all kids in their community. The combined network brings together local education advocates from across the country, supported by a national team of policy, communications and advocacy experts. We believe kids across the country will benefit from this merged organization’s focus on advocacy campaigns that are locally grown, locally led and locally sustained.
The national organization will go by the name 50CAN, with local StudentsFirst chapters continuing to use their brands. I will be serving as CEO, alongside Vallay Varro as president and Sandy Vargas as our board chair. Jim Blew, who has served as president of StudentsFirst for the past year, will serve as a senior advisor to the organization. He will focus on integrating StudentsFirst’s political and electoral skill set into the 50CAN network and building a locally led effort in his home state of California. Michelle Rhee, the founder of StudentsFirst and a leading voice in education advocacy, will be working with Vallay, Jim and myself to provide strategic guidance grounded in her lifelong career in public education.
We’ll share more details of the merger in the coming weeks, including additions to our board of directors and details about our strategic vision for the road ahead. The official press release from 50CAN and StudentsFirst can be found here.
Thank you for all your help over the past five years and continued support as we take the next step forward in our journey to bring a high-quality education to all children, regardless of their address.