EdAllies 2018 Annual Report

Ann Johnson
EdAllies Board Chair

Ann Johnson signature

Intro From Our Board Chair

As a lifelong educator, parent, and now grandparent, I know the greatness inherent in all children. I also know, when I look at Minnesota’s stagnant opportunity and achievement gaps, our systems have a long way to go to live up to what our children deserve. My belief in all students and my urgency for systemic change to ensure that they achieve their full, unlimited potential bring me to my work at EdAllies.

As you read this year's highlights, you’ll see that there’s a lot worth celebrating–despite changes and setbacks, including the governor’s decision to veto nearly all legislation that reached his desk in 2018. While this thwarted change at the Capitol, we engaged more deeply in implementation than ever before (placing our focus on how policy change rolls out on the ground and building on our momentum to overhaul the state’s broken teacher licensure system), invested in new pathways into the classroom, and made student achievement data more transparent and actionable. We pushed for greater nuance in high-profile conversations on key education issues, and for those conversations to centralize the voices of those our education systems should and must serve.

With so much focus on the work that comes after big policy change, years like 2018 remind me that we’re in this work for the long run. In fact, I am more confident now than ever in EdAllies' ability to stay true to our mission of putting underserved students first, removing barriers, and changing the conversation.

Finally, 2018 reinforced that we cannot do this work alone. We rely on partners like you to support us in achieving our vision: a Minnesota where systems finally support all children to thrive.

To our community, advocates, partners, and friends: Thank you for believing in – and advocating for – the limitless potential of every child.

Ann Johnson
EdAllies Board Chair

Ann Johnson signature

Our Vision

We envision a Minnesota where every student succeeds in a rigorous and engaging education.

Our Mission

EdAllies partners with schools, families, and communities to ensure that every young Minnesotan has access to a rigorous and engaging education. We advance policies that put underserved students first, remove barriers facing successful schools and programs, and foster an inclusive conversation about what’s possible for students.

2018 Highlights

At EdAllies, we do whatever it takes to remove barriers standing in the way of a rigorous and engaging education for every Minnesota student. To advance this vision in 2018, we focused on three streams of work: long-term policy advocacy, implementation, and communications. Below, we recap our overall efforts, and offer a closer look at one issue related to each of these fronts.

Student in classroom

Advocating for Systemic Change

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Boy with a hat in classroom

Seeing Policy Change Through

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Person speaking at a podium

Changing the Conversation

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Our Team & Supporters


  • Brandie Burris-Gallagher Policy Director
  • Saira Cervantes Montes Capitol Pathways Intern
  • Joshua Crosson Senior Policy Director
  • Bethany Israelson Operations Associate
  • Ariana Kiener Strategic Communications Director
  • Katherine Raths Policy and Research Intern
  • Andrea Roethke Managing Director of Strategy and Operations
  • Daniel Sellers Executive Director
  • Baustin Shaw Summer UpTurnships Intern


  • Ann Johnson, Chair
  • Maren Hulden, Treasurer
  • Dr. Keith Brooks
  • Lisa Marie Cannon-Ratliff
  • Mike Ciresi
  • Alex Cirillo
  • Karn Engelsgjerd
  • Holly Kragthorpe
  • Michael O’Connell
  • Tim Penny
  • Tad Piper
  • Lew Remele
  • Roberta Walburn
  • Ben Whitney

Our Partners

We take our name seriously, striving to be strong allies in the fight to ensure all Minnesota children get the education they need and deserve. This is why partnerships are at the beginning, middle, and end of everything we do. We look to our partners – families, school and district leaders, teachers, students, and other education stakeholders – to tell us what needs to change for Minnesota students. Together, we work to make change happen. And lastly, we ask them how we can continually improve how we partner in the future.

Our annual partner survey is just one way we measure our impact in the local education ecosystem and solicit feedback from our allies.

2018 Partnership Survey Results


local partners completed the survey, a 247% increase in participation over 2017.


agreed or strongly agreed that we are responsive and reliable.


of respondents identified as people of color or American Indian.


agreed or strongly agreed that EdAllies is a valuable partner.

Where We Did Well

Quotation marksI especially appreciate the nimbleness of EdAllies’ strategy – approaching obstacles that need to be tackled, regardless if it is legislative, administrative, etc.

Quotation marksI can rely on EdAllies to be at the forefront of policy solutions and pushing the conversation further toward equity.

Quotation marksIt is refreshing to have a partner that isn’t afraid of challenges, that calls balls and strikes, that is upfront and honest, and that doesn’t let the bummers that come with this work get them down.

Where We Can Improve

  • Engage more diverse stakeholders – particularly parents, youth, people of color, and indigenous people.
  • Offer more insight into the details of our work, along with opportunities for action.
  • Focus on our core values of honesty and courage, without letting them overshadow our values of humility and inventiveness.

Our Financial Supporters

Foundations and Corporations

  • 3Mgives
  • Advance Consulting LLC
  • The Douglass Brandenborg Family Foundation
  • Carlson Family Foundation
  • F.R. Bigelow Foundation
  • Frey Foundation
  • General Mills Foundation
  • GHR Foundation
  • Graves Foundation
  • The Joyce Foundation
  • McKnight Foundation
  • The Minneapolis Foundation
  • MN Comeback
  • Otto Bremer Trust
  • Ciresi Walburn Foundation for Children
  • WEM Foundation

Individuals and Family Funds

  • Albright Foundation
  • Julie and Doug Baker Jr. Foundation
  • Keith Brooks
  • The Brown Family Foundation
  • Morgan Brown
  • Ashley Burris
  • Darrel Burris
  • Brandie Burris-Gallagher
  • Heidi and Rick Campion
  • Jay and Page Cowles
  • Josh Crosson
  • Sarah Crumrine
  • Nyemadi Dunbar
  • Madaline Edison
  • Karn Engelsgjerd
  • Elizabeth and David Finch
  • Alex Gallagher
  • David and Stephanie Garry Garfunkel
  • Paul and Elizabeth Gunderson
  • Troy Haugen
  • Rachel Hemsey
  • Van and Heather Horgen
  • Maren Hulden
  • Bethany Israelson
  • Chris and Susan Israelson
  • Ann Johnson
  • Bernadeia Johnson
  • Brent Kent
  • Ariana Kiener
  • Patrick Klein
  • Holly Kragthorpe
  • Matt and Katie Barrett Kramer
  • Katherine McDonald
  • Dick and Joyce H. McFarland Family Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation
  • Andrew Minck
  • Shannon Mitchell
  • Cindy Moulton
  • Sean O’Brien
  • Michael O’Connell
  • Tim and Sandra Penny
  • Piper Family Fund II of The Minneapolis Foundation
  • Remele Family Fund
  • Andrea Roethke
  • Daniel and Stacy Sellers
  • Karen and Dick Sellers
  • Nathan Sellers and Kendahl Moser-Bleil
  • Soran Foundation
  • Smikis Foundation
  • Jill and Richard Stever-Zeitlin
  • Jennifer Stern
  • Nathan Strenge
  • Evan Stone
  • Bo Thao-Urabe
  • Beth Topoluk
  • Geeta Vora
  • Roberta Walburn
  • Rachel Welch
  • Ben and Mary Whitney

2018 Financials

What's Next?

We’re already hard at work on our 2019 goals, from advancing policies that support great teachers and school leaders, to bringing more nuance to local education conversations, to making it easier for families to understand – and access – their school options.

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