The 50CAN
Education Reform

2020 CANnual Report



Empowering communities to enact real change to ensure all kids have access to a high-quality education, regardless of their address.

Letter from the Editors-in-Chief

Michael Phillips
Chair of the Board
Marc Porter Magee
CEO and Founder

In 2020, our education system experienced a crisis like none other in its long history. Schools were shuttered. Students and teachers transitioned from brick and mortar classrooms to virtual ones, with hundreds of thousands of children being lost entirely from the system and many more, particularly in low-income communities, slipping further behind academically.

Yet, the story of 2020 is not only one of challenges but also of all the ways that communities rose to meet them together. At 50CAN, we’re proud of our local advocates who stepped forward to lead through this crisis. They worked with cities to develop food delivery and pick-up systems. They brought WiFi to rural communities. They organized parents to secure breakthrough policies like direct educational aid to families, built public support for learning pods and ensured that it was possible for every student to continue their learning online.

The culmination of these efforts: 2,815 advocates organized across our network and 34 policy wins in 2020, both records in the 10-year history of our network. To reach these goals we had to redefine the way we do our work from the bottom up-from innovative new policy goals to new online tactics to a new timetable for campaigns that allows for rapid changes to an ever-evolving landscape.

As we take stock of these efforts in 2020, it is this commitment to break free from the old ways of doing things that serves as our guide for the work ahead in 2021. We must redefine not only how we carry out our education advocacy campaigns, but K-12 education itself. As we shift in the months ahead from emergency to recovery, we know that we will need a new approach to learning that puts one-on-one tutoring at the center of children’s educational experience, supported by funding that flows directly to families for a wide variety of needs and measurement systems that focus on the whole child and keep up with all the different ways in which children are now learning in this new reality.

We have the opportunity and responsibility to rebuild America’s education system into a stronger, more just and more effective pathway to the American dream for all students. With your continued support and guidance, we are excited to take on the urgent work ahead.


Commitment (n)

Revising goals and shifting tactics to adapt to a new environment, while still remaining focused on our mission to achieve wins for kids.

  • Achieved 34 policy wins, the most in our organization’s 10-year history.
  • Trained 2,815 new advocates, including parents, students and educators, who took over 7,000 advocacy actions.
  • Published two new briefs, Fund Everything and Measure Everything, to set a national policy agenda for the pandemic and recovery.
  • Authored 25 issues of our pandemic-era newsletter, The New Reality Roundup, sharing over 300 resources for advocates, educators and elected officials which were viewed 87,951 times.
  • Obtained 40 national and 182 local media hits, including appearances in USA Today and on NBC, garnering over 1 million impressions.
  • Launched Expedition Advocacy, a unique campaign planning and tracking platform utilized by every 50CAN campaign as well as six community partners to ensure smarter, more connected and more effective advocacy.
  • Produced three reports for the Advocacy Labs project, a collaboration with FutureED leading the way forward to a science of advocacy, which were viewed 7,550 times.


People (n)

Exceptional local leaders advocating in their communities across America.


As of December 2020
  • Ann Borowiec
    Former CEO, JP Morgan Private Wealth Management
  • Campbell Brown
    Head of News Partnerships, Facebook
  • Katherine Haley
    Senior Director of K-12 Education Programs,
    Philanthropy Roundtable
  • Deepa Javeri
    CEO and Founder, Propel
  • Marc Porter Magee
    President & Founder, 50CAN
  • Roland Martin
    Managing Editor and Host,
    Roland Martin #Unfiltered
  • Michael Phillips
    Senior Pastor, The Kingdom Life Church
  • Andrew Schwedel
    Partner, Bain & Company
  • Dacia Toll
    CEO, Achievement First


Places (n)

10 states. 1 national network committed to pursuing policies and advocacy actions that improve educational outcomes.

CarolinaCAN was instrumental in the passing of a pandemic relief bill that provided $335 per family for educational needs.

ConnCAN spearheaded the need to close the digital divide, resulting in Governor Lamont announcing a $43.5 million program to provide free digital devices to low-income students. In the midst of a pandemic, ConnCAN also persuaded the state to approve and fund learning pods located at African-American churches for students in New Haven.

HawaiiKidsCAN’s WiFi on Wheels program--which uses buses to bring internet connectivity to rural communities--became the talk of the state and became so promising that elected officials decided to invest in an expansion.

DelawareCAN, GeorgiaCAN and NewMexicoKidsCAN all tracked district and school reopening plans, allowing parents and elected officials to make comparisons.

JerseyCAN issued a report on the condition of New Jersey’s educator workforce, with strong suggestions on how to improve over time. The state is already acting on this and both the Senate and Assembly have passed legislation to address teacher shortages.

NewMexicoKidsCAN expanded the state’s Pandemic EBT program, giving students and families access to meals they desperately needed, and successfully defended the state’s charter school law through a bipartisan coalition.

TennesseeCAN’s Victor Evans, in a series of op-eds, called on stimulus funds to be used for direct educational aid for students and families, building a public campaign that culminated in a victory. TennesseeCAN also fought for expanding technological access for every school-age child, resulting in over $60 million in new public investments.

Transform Education Now (TEN) in Colorado launched a public pressure campaign with hundreds of parent phone calls, resulting in the Adams 12 district making learning pods an option for parents and Commerce City providing parents with $1,600 in direct grants for educational expenses.


    Generosity (n)

    The individuals, corporations, foundations and organizations that support our mission with philanthropic gifts. We are humbled and deeply grateful for your continued support.

    Game-changers (n)

    Those who march to the beat of their own drum, unwilling to settle for the status-quo in education. See also: generosity.

    $100,000 +

    The Bouncer Foundation
    The Carnegie Corporation of New York
    The Charles Koch Foundation
    The Daniels Fund
    The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation
    The Longwood Foundation
    The Memphis Education Fund
    The Peter & Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation
    The Prudential Foundation
    Public School Allies
    redefinED atlanta
    The Walton Family Foundation


    Andrew Schwedel
    Andy Boas
    The Arthur Blank Foundation
    Arthur Rock
    The Barr Foundation
    Bloomberg Philanthropies
    The Camden Education Fund
    The Challenge Foundation
    The Delaware Community Foundation
    The JJJ Charitable Foundation
    The New Jersey Children’s Foundation
    The Scarlett Family Foundation


    Alexander & Baldwin
    Allegany Franciscan Ministries
    Ann and Stanley Borowiec
    Anonymous (x2)
    The Arsht-Cannon Fund
    The Barclays Foundation
    The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
    The Chichester duPont Foundation
    The Colorado League of Charter Schools
    The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut
    The Connecticut Community Foundation
    Corporation Service Company
    Derrick Diggs
    Dr. Anju Thomas and Dev Ittycheria
    Educational Testing Service
    Erika Long
    The F.M. Kirby Foundation
    Fairfield County’s Community Foundation
    The Feld Foundation
    First State Educate
    The Garrett A. Turner Foundation Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation
    The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
    Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.
    The Javeri Fund
    The Jeff and Loan Arce Family Foundation
    The Joe C. Davis Foundation
    John Cozzi
    The John William Pope Foundation
    Katherine Haley
    The Lone Pine Foundation
    The MacNaughton Group
    The Maeve Foundation
    The Margaret & Daniel Loeb Foundation
    The Miami Foundation
    The Nonami Foundation
    The Poe Poe Foundation
    Pulama Lanai
    Reese Witherspoon
    Rodman Ward III
    The Rose Community Foundation
    Rose Ellen Green
    The Sandia Science & Technology Park Development Corporation
    The Shelly and Michael Kassen Philanthropic Fund
    The Speedwell Foundation
    Teach for America
    The Turrell Fund
    United Way of Greater Atlanta
    Ward Village
    We Raise New Jersey
    The Weinberg Foundation
    The William E. Simon Foundation


    Adar Sheni, LLC
    Arthur Linares
    Brett Williams
    Daniel Goya
    Darrell Harvey
    Ephraim, LLC
    Hawaii Telecom
    Jennifer Garner
    Kaily Westbrook
    Ken Bartels
    Miami Homes For All, Inc.
    The People’s Fund of Hawaii
    The Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation
    Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
    The Rotary Club of Honolulu
    Shames Makovsky Realty Co.
    The Shana Glassman Foundation
    The United Way of Central New Mexico
    Wayne Miyashiro
    Zev, LLC

    View our previous 990s here


    2020 balance sheet

    Total Revenues
    Total Expenditures
    Total net assets


    Relentlessness (n)

    By focusing on student needs and ensuring more equitable access to a wide variety of learning options, we can help students achieve a high-quality education, regardless of their location.

    Share the #CANnualReport