America Achieves

Tax ID:


Budget (2019):

Revenue: $12,103,050
Expenses: $10,113,475
Assets: $7,449,230



New York City, New York




Common Core Standards Advocacy Grantmaking

Executive Chair:

Christopher M. Chadwick

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America Achieves is an education-policy advocacy group supporting implementation of the Common Core educational standards that is funded by major left-of-center foundation funders. In July 2021, America Achieves partnered with left-of-center think tank New America to issue an open letter to members of Congress to add $100 billion in funding for jobs training programs under the title of “workforce development” in the hopes that this would foster greater economic equity among women and minority groups. 1

Among other sources, America Achieves receives funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kern Family Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Open Society Foundations, the Heckscher Foundation for Children, the William and Flora Hewitt Foundation, and the Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. 2 3

Common Core

The Common Core standards are a set of metrics in mathematics and English for K-12 students. First implemented in Kentucky in 2010, the standards ignited controversy almost immediately, with the English standards being criticized for devaluing great literature, for not teaching style or genre, for teaching material inappropriate to grade level, and for placing an unrealistic number of learning objectives on students and teachers. 4 The math standards have been criticized for using overly complex procedures to solve simple problems. 5

The Common Core standards have also been criticized for their emphasis on standardized testing, with students walking out in protest in New Yor, and 60-70% of students refusing to participate in some schools. 6 In April 2021, the Washington Post reported that a federal study found that the effect of the Common Core was a net negative. 7

America Achieves Fellowships

In October 2014, America Achieves announced the America Achieves Fellowship for Teachers and Principals (AAFTP). Initially targeting schools in Colorado, Michigan, and New York, the fellowships allocated $1.7 million over two years to recruit educators who would advocate locally and nationally for the implementation of Common Core. America Achieves co-founder Peter Kannam lamented that public concerns about the Common Core were the result of “political agendas, vitriol, misinformation, and misunderstanding.” This project was funded by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. 8

In February 2015, AAFTP fellow Meghan Freeman wrote in The Atlantic to address criticism that Common Core slights great works of literature. Freeman wrote: “They don’t all need to be experts at analyzing literature. Every kid in my room is going to read articles on the Internet and use a social studies textbook.” 9

In a similar vein, AAFTP fellow Cathy Kotlarek dismissed claims about Common Core math techniques being too unwieldy for children, instead blaming the problem on poorly designed textbooks. 10


Quest for Success

In 2018 America Achieves launched a career exploration tool called Quest for Success, which was originally incubated in Louisiana in 50 classrooms. Developed in conjunction with the National Civil Rights Museum and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Quest for Success was later revised after its initial test-run and then disseminated globally at no cost to students or teachers in 2019. 11


In September 2021, America Achieves held the Accelerator Series for Build Back Better Applicants and Good Jobs Challenge Applicants, a suite of webinars to assist those applying for grants related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative was carried out in partnership with workforce development firm Equity Cities and investment think-tank Center on Rural Innovation (CORI). 12


Christopher M. Chadwick, executive chair of America Achieves, is the former president and CEO of Boeing Defense Space and Security division, as well as the former president of Boeing Military Aircraft. 14

Mike Johnston, board member at America Achieves, formerly served in the Colorado Senate as a Democrat. He is the CEO of Gary Community Investments and its subsidiary, the left-of-center grantmaking organization Piton Foundation. 15

Gil Dickoff, board member of America Achieves, is the senior vice president and treasurer of educational publisher Scholastic Corporation. He is also former treasurer and lead trustee of philanthropy for the industrial engineering company Crane. 16


  1. “America Achieves New America Sign On Letter.” New America. July 8, 2021. Accessed November 29, 2021.
  2. “Our Funders.” America Achieves. Accessed November 29, 2021.
  3. Ballotpedia. “America Achieves.” Ballotpedia Website. Undated. Accessed November 29, 2021.
  4. Strauss, Valerie. “The Seven Deadly Sins of Common Core by an English Teacher.” Washington Post. August 16, 2021. Accessed November 29, 2021.
  5.  Why Parents Struggle with Common Core Math: ‘The Diagrams are Absolutely Insane.’” San Jose Mercury News. June 17, 2018. Accessed November 29, 2021.
  6. [1] Cassidy, Christina A. “Thousands of Students Opt Out of Common Core Tests in Protest.” PBS. April 18, 2015. Accessed November 29, 2021.
  7. Strauss, Valerie. “Why the Common Core Standards Failed and What it Means for School Reform.” Washington Post. April 5, 2021. Accessed November 29, 2021.
  8. “America Achieves Launches Fellowships…” America Achieves. October 13, 2014. Accessed November 29, 2021
  9. Freeman, Meghan. “The Common Core Has Not Killed Literature.” The Atlantic. February 3, 2015. Accessed November 29, 2021.
  10. Kotlarek, Cathy. “There is No Common Core Math, Only Good and Bad Teaching Materials.” Michigan Live. April 7, 2019. Accessed November 29, 2021.
  11. “America Achieves Releases a Free Career Exploration Course.” America Achieves. September 10, 2019. Accessed November 29, 2021.
  12. “Accelerator Webinar Series.” America Achieves Website. Undated. Accessed November 29, 2021.
  13. America Achieves. “Christopher (Chris) M. Chadwick.” America Achieves. Accessed November 29, 2021.[/note]

    Jon Schnur was the founding CEO of America Achieves. In addition to sitting on the board of American Achieves, Schnur works as an outside education advisor to the Bloomberg Philanthropies. Schnur is the former co-chair of education policy under President Barack Obama, associate director for educational policy under President Bill Clinton and was Vice President Al Gore’s senior policy advisor on education. 13 “Jon Schnur.” America Achieves. Accessed November 29, 2021.

  14. “Mike Johnston.” America Achieves. Undated. Accessed November 29, 2021.
  15. “Gil Dickoff.” America Achieves. Accessed November 29, 2021.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: August - July
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 2010

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Aug Form 990 $12,103,050 $10,113,475 $7,449,230 $2,048,011 N $11,811,648 $255,589 $806 $1,103,148 PDF
    2018 Aug Form 990 $5,969,684 $9,507,784 $4,029,261 $617,617 N $5,836,634 $94,085 $0 $1,410,056 PDF
    2017 Aug Form 990 $10,809,055 $9,319,607 $7,690,513 $740,769 N $10,765,674 $9,570 $826 $1,235,990 PDF
    2016 Aug Form 990 $13,681,944 $18,219,333 $5,826,936 $1,079,739 N $13,498,813 $177,399 $2,796 $1,224,704 PDF
    2015 Aug Form 990 $10,013,898 $18,937,100 $10,348,980 $922,217 N $9,978,357 $20,800 $14,741 $1,119,503 PDF
    2014 Aug Form 990 $20,131,515 $14,072,208 $19,245,308 $280,518 N $20,120,140 $3,000 $8,375 $1,059,014 PDF
    2013 Aug Form 990 $22,912,696 $14,163,524 $13,345,968 $440,485 N $22,843,597 $56,069 $13,030 $895,052 PDF
    2012 Aug Form 990 $13,526,303 $9,281,143 $4,779,615 $647,294 N $13,377,927 $143,957 $4,419 $807,185 PDF
    2011 Aug Form 990 $3,950,793 $4,041,232 $804,612 $895,051 N $3,950,775 $0 $18 $78,956 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)