Non-profit

Leadership for Educational Equity

Website:

educationalequity.org/

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

20-8848357

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $29,626,462
Expenses: $28,511,085
Assets: $4,630,887

Executive Director:

Michael Buman

Formation:

2007

Type:

Training and Activism Nonprofit

Leadership for Education Equity (LEE) is a lobbying and advocacy group which trains and organizes Teach for America (TFA) teachers and alumni to promote increased government spending on schools in low-income neighborhoods and to provide additional education support for ethnic minorities. It also engages in lobbying, political campaign support, and political financing.

In 2007, LEE spun-off from TFA, a teacher training and placement organization which tends to support left-of-center education reforms. Though LEE claims to be non-partisan, its leadership and policy goals tend to be left-of-center.

LEE has a research branch, the Leadership for Education Equity Foundation (LEEF).

Methods

Teach for America recruits recent college graduates to work as teachers for two-year terms, usually in underperforming schools. Since its foundation in 1990, TFA has accumulated 62,000 alumni. [1] Though the organization began with a non-partisan pro-education platform, it has steadily moved toward the ideological left and become more focused on activism. [2]

TFA established the Political Leadership Initiative to convert its alumni into political leaders and activists through training seminars and fellowships with government officials. In 2007, the Initiative broke off into Leadership for Educational Equity, an independent 501(c)(4) lobbying organization, to continue its operations and engage in lobbying and political advocacy. [3] LEE provides strategic advice and advocacy funding for its members who run for office mostly for school board seats. [4]

In 2017, LEE donated between $1,000 and $41,844 to 21 candidates. Its largest donation was to Jamila Singleton Munson’s unsuccessful campaign for school board in Portland. [5] Munson was a former charter school principal. [6]

TFA and LEE have worked together to expand TFA’s membership and reach considerably. In 2012, Lee’s goal was to have “250 of its members in elected office, 300 in policy or advocacy leadership roles, and 1,000 in ‘active’ pipelines for public leadership” by 2015. [7] In 2013, Politico called TFA a “ris[ing] political powerhouse.” [8]

As of 2020, LEE has over 30,000 members. [9]

Leadership

Most of Leadership for Educational Equity’s leadership consists of current and former Teach for America leaders. [10]

Emma Bloomberg, the oldest daughter of billionaire former New York City Mayor and unsuccessful 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, is a board member of LEE and LEEF. [11] In the 2016 election cycle, LEE was a major donor to the Leaders in Education Fund PAC, with $85,000 donated. At the same time, Michael Bloomberg donated $220,000. [12] The following election cycle, LEE gave $6,000 and Bloomberg gave $5,000 to the related Leaders in Education PAC. [13]

Controversy

Leadership for Educational Equity has been criticized for its lack of transparency. The organization didn’t share financial information until the IRS publicly posted LEE’s publicly disclosable nonprofit tax returns. [14]  Much of LEE’s operations and opportunities for members are hidden from non-members. LEE will not even reveal these operations to journalists who request access. For instance, LEE offers connections to policy analysis and activist jobs at think tanks and other nonprofits, though only LEE members can view and apply for these positions. [15][16] LEE does not publicly report on its number of supported political candidates.

References

  1. “The Alumni Network.” Teach for America. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://www.teachforamerica.org/life-as-an-alum/the-tfa-alumni-network. ^
  2. Ahmari, Sohrab. “How Teach for America Lost its Way.” Commentary Magazine. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/amari-sohrab/teach-america-lost-way/. ^
  3. Miner, Barbara. “Looking Past the Spin: Teach for America.” Rethinking Schools. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://www.rethinkingschools.org/articles/looking-past-the-spin-teach-for-america. ^
  4. Cersonsky, James. “Teach for America’s Deep Bench.” The American Prospect. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://prospect.org/education/teach-america-s-deep-bench/. ^
  5. “Leadership for Education Equity Form 990.” ProPublica. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/208848357/01_2019_prefixes_20-27%2F208848357_201712_990O_2019012816039281. ^
  6. Monahan, Rachel. “Former Charter School Principal Running for Portland School Board.” Willamette Week. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://www.wweek.com/news/schools/2017/02/16/former-charter-school-principal-running-for-portland-school-board/. ^
  7. Cersonsky, James. “Teach for America’s Deep Bench.” The American Prospect. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://prospect.org/education/teach-america-s-deep-bench/. ^
  8. Simon, Stephanie. “TFA rises as political powerhouse.” Politico. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/teach-for-america-rises-as-political-powerhouse-098586. ^
  9. “Growing the Movement.” Leadership for Education Equity. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://educationalequity.org/growing-movement. ^
  10. “Board.” Leadership for Education Equity. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://educationalequity.org/board. ^
  11. “Board.” Leadership for Education Equity. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://educationalequity.org/board. ^
  12. “Leaders in Education Fund.” Open Secrets. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/527s/527cmtedetail_donors.php?ein=472564987&cycle=2016. ^
  13. “Leaders in Education PAC.” Open Secrets. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgave2.php?cmte=C00571091&cycle=2018. ^
  14. Miner, Barbara. “Looking Past the Spin: Teach for America.” Rethinking Schools. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://www.rethinkingschools.org/articles/looking-past-the-spin-teach-for-america. ^
  15. Cersonsky, James. “Teach for America’s Deep Bench.” The American Prospect. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://prospect.org/education/teach-america-s-deep-bench/. ^
  16. “Sign in.” Leadership for Education Equity. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://educationalequity.org/user/login?destination=node/863. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 2018

  • 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
    2017 Dec Form 990 $29,626,462 $28,511,085 $4,630,887 $3,443,098 N $29,491,097 $135,365 $0 $829,225 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Leadership for Educational Equity

    1805 7TH ST NW 6TH FL
    WASHINGTON, DC 20001-3186