2015 annual report EdBuild

Launching edbuild


  • Define mission
  • Set ambitious goals
  • Recruit top talent
  • Raise revenue
  • Establish brand


Friends -

Over the course of my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best minds in education, finance, and economic development. But I’ve long believed that discussions related to expanding opportunity for our youth and improving education in low-income communities have been missing an important focus: the way states fund education simply does not promote justice, equity or opportunity. This is most evident in how state funding hinders our ability to close the achievement gap.

Consider this:

• Our funding system is regressive: Less than one-third of all states in the country have funding systems that allocate more resources for students and communities in need. Worse, 23 states actually provide less resources to lower-income communities. In these states, this leaves more than 13.3 million students in high poverty classrooms and at a clear disadvantage compared to their peers.

• Our funding system is arbitrary: Take Canton and Toledo, two largely urban districts in Ohio. These two districts serve the same general demographic of students, yet the state's complex and convoluted funding formula provides $5,000 more per student enrolled in Toledo public schools than it does for students living in the similarly situated community of Canton.

• Our funding system is outdated: In Georgia, more than 20% of funding provided by the state is associated with the characteristics of the teachers in the classroom rather than the needs of their students.

• Our funding system incentivizes the creation of needless borders that not only perpetuate segregation, but also ensures students who need the most resources won't get them. There are 32 school districts within a five-mile radius of Camden, New Jersey, many serving less than 3,000 students. Whereas Camden’s student poverty rate is more than 40%, their neighboring districts average less than 13% student poverty, and generate more than 20 times Camden’s local property taxes to fund their schools.

I firmly believe that we are consigning a growing number of children to a lower caste in a society that actively works against them. This begins with the way we fund our schools, particularly those that serve our students most in need of opportunity.

When we launched EdBuild, nearly everyone we spoke with cautioned that the issue of state funding systems for schools is politically rife and nebulous: this is not a central focus for foundations; the political challenges are too great to affect change. In short, though important, the issue was too dangerous to take on, and too complicated to untangle.

Despite these challenges, we have overcome the odds. In our first year, EdBuild has had success beyond my wildest dreams. In large part it’s because of those who have believed in my leadership, our talented staff, and a broader joint vision of a world in which all students have an equal start to life.

This issue is compelling, it’s front and center of everything that we do, and we’ve amassed an amazing group of antagonists ready to take this issue to the next level.

Here’s to another year of defying the odds.

Rebecca Sibilia, Founder & CEO

mission: bring common sense and fairness to the way we fund schools


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for students based on their needs and delivers additional funds for struggling communities.


fairly and equitably, regardless of their zip codes or the public school model they attend


through school district boundaries based on geography and municipal borders rather than property value.

goal: an ambitious 5 year journey

by 2020

4 states will have successfully passed funding formula reform, and will have moved to a weighted student funding system that prioritizes student need.

2 million low income students will receive more education funding than they do today.

All states will have the tools needed to replicate successful weighted student funding formulas.

The segregating nature of our state funding systems will become an issue of national prominence.

Education finance reform will be seen as a key equalizer in educational outcomes for children.

our first year: check



EdBuild is actively supporting funding reform efforts in two states.

Our work in these states will benefit 1.3 million FRL students.


EdBuild began developing our national voice through the release of three major data products.

Our work was featured in 8 national media outlets, including The Washington Post, Vox, The Atlantic’s CityLab, The Huffington Post, Mother Jones and many regional news outlets.

We estimate that between our national coverage and website analytics, over one million people have viewed our data products.

how we did it: operational excellence


In our first fiscal year, EdBuild generated $1.9 million in accrued revenue. In calendar year 2015, EdBuild generated $2.4 million.

EdBuild officially constituted our first governing board, consisting of seven experts in non profit governance, education reform, state and municipal finance, and communications.

EdBuild doubled our staff and hired skilled experts from multiple fields to engage in our effort to transform school funding.

"In just one year, the media EdBuild's generated has not only shined a new bright light on the inequities of our funding system, but become the trusted source on school finance issues with the national press corps."

- Hari Sevugan, DNC National Press Secretary, 2009-2011

“We view EdBuild’s work, particularly on the issues around funding education, as critical to the performance of our education system. EdBuild provides useful and in-depth analysis of complex data, serving as a primary resource for anyone seeking improvements in education financing or those tackling major systems and policy changes. We are proud to be an early supporter of EdBuild and look forward to seeing their work progress and evolve in the years to come.”

–D. Ben Benoit, Executive Director, The PCLB Foundation

“In a short period of time, EdBuild has emerged as one of the most promising education policy organizations in the field. They are filling a unique niche in the sector, offering research-based policy solutions tailored to the specific and unique characteristics of individual states and cities. I have no doubt we’ll continue to see a number of important contributions from EdBuild in the coming years.”

-Beth Bray, Program Officer, The Walton Family Foundation


Thank you to our partners and funders:

New Schools Venture Fund, The Walton Family Foundation, The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation, The Helmsley Charitable Trust, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, The CityBridge Foundation, and the Center for American Progress.

A heartfelt thanks to our board of directors:

Derrell Bradford, Angelia Dickens, Michael Hassid, Joshua McGee, Joshua Kern, Henry Mosley, and Hari Sevugan

And to:

Matt Richmond, Manuel Buenrostro, Colin Buerger, Anthony Caico, Chris Gian, Sean Gill, Charity Hallman, Eric Lerum, Ethan Lin, Mike Phillips, Angela Rodriguez, and the many others who helped us launch this organization

And a special thanks to everyone who dedicated time and advice to the organization over the past year, including, but certainly not limited to:

Reena Abraham, Jen Alexander, Jim Blew, Ulrich Boser, Katherine Bradley, Campbell Brown, Mary Ellen Butke, Matt Chingos, Bob Costrell, Brenden Cullen, Ethan Gray, Adam Hewit, Alex Johnston, Gregory McGinity, Andy Rotherham, Katie Roy.

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