Jeff Edmondson, managing director of the Strive Network, is the 2012 recipient of the American Express NGen Leadership Award. The Award is given to one accomplished nonprofit leader age 40 or under who has already demonstrated significant impact in addressing society’s critical needs.
The Strive Network is a cradle-to-career network which Jeff Edmondson co-created with SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher in 2006. The two worked together in Ohio, where Zimpher was President of the University of Cincinnati before coming to SUNY. Edmondson says, “I am honored and humbled to be recognized with this award.” Citing the work of communities across the country, Edmondson adds, “They are identifying new and creative ways to work together, using data to put limited public and private resources behind what works for children and youth.”
Such a network brings together leaders in Pre-K-12 schools, higher education, business and industry, community organizations, government leaders, parents and other stakeholders who are committed to helping children succeed from birth through careers.
In less than 20 months since SUNY joined a national form of the network, The National Cradle to Career Network, the University System has fully embraced the initiative with Strive-like frameworks all over the state.
Many SUNY colleges and universities offer University in the High School, a program that allows certified high school teachers to instruct credit-qualified upper-level classes. North Country Community College announced Adirondack Early College High School with three local school districts to help more of their high school students get into and be successful in college. Binghamton University offers a similar program, GEAR UP, to help struggling or disadvantaged high school students get ready for higher education.
At UAlbany’s College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering, the school has dealt with both the public and private sector to invest over $14 billion in a joint educational/professional setting to develop next-generation computer components. Other Capital Region colleges such as Hudson Valley Community College are engaged special partnerships with local computer chip manufacturers and develop work-relevant coursework with the companies.
In Edmondson’s post at the Strive Network, he has empowered organizations from across all sectors to use data to make informed decisions, hold people accountable, and implement strategies that work to eliminate perceived barriers.
Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation, expressed the importance of the award by saying, “We are proud to recognize the transformative impact of Jeff’s work at Strive, and to highlight the accomplishments of emerging leaders in the sector.”
Edmondson, proud of his accomplishments, is looking to the future of the Strive Network. He adds, “The result of [the] efforts will be sustained improvements in educational outcomes locally and invaluable lessons on how to address some of the most complex social issues nationally.”
Maxwell is the Coordinator of Digital Engagement for The State University of New York.