Strive Network Innovator Jeff Edmondson to Receive 2012 American Express NGen Leadership Award

(WASHINGTON, August 1, 2012)—Independent Sector is proud to announce that Jeff Edmondson is the 2012 recipient of the American Express NGen Leadership Award. Jeff is known as a pioneer who brings together nonprofits, business, education, and government with the vision of ensuring that every child is prepared for their learning journey from birth into a meaningful career.

Jeff is managing director of the Strive Network, a national network of cradle-to-career organizations committed to the educational success of every child. Jeff 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.

The American Express NGen Leadership Award recognizes one accomplished nonprofit leader age 40 or under who has already demonstrated significant impact in addressing society’s critical needs. Jeff will receive the award during the John W. Gardner Leadership Dinner November 12 at “GameChangers,” the IS Annual Conference in San Francisco. He will also keynote a session at the NGen: Moving Nonprofit Leaders from Next to Now pre-conference program November 11.

The Strive Network is rooted in the success of a cross-sector partnership in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky known as the Strive Partnership. The national network is now applying lessons learned in cities across the country through a collaborative relationship with Living Cities and the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities. Jeff’s approach to leading this network is based in the belief that we must use data to improve, rather than just to prove. In this way, data is used as a critical tool which builds cohesive action to achieve the ultimate goal of improving the lives of children from cradle to career. The Strive Network is a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks, an education social enterprise.

“Jeff is a true gamechanger in every sense of that word,” said Diana Aviv, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “His innovative approach to improving results has positively impacted the lives and educational journey of children across the country.”

“I am honored and humbled to be recognized with this award. It is a tribute to leadership in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, and their peers in communities across the country doing the very challenging work of building cradle-to-career civic infrastructure,” Jeff said. “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. The result of their efforts will be sustained improvements in educational outcomes locally and invaluable lessons on how to address some of the most complex social issues nationally.”

Jeff was selected from a pool of four other distinguished finalists including:

  • Gregg Behr, executive director of Grable Foundation
  • Eric Greitens, founder and CEO of The Mission Continues
  • Aaron Hurst, president and founder of Taproot Foundation
  • Abagail Nelson, senior vice president of programs of Episcopal Relief and Development

“All our finalists highlight the caliber of the dynamic, impactful leaders under age 40 across the charitable community,” says Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. “We are proud this award elevates Strive’s transformative impact and can continue to highlight the accomplishments of emerging leaders in the sector.”

Nominations for the American Express NGen Leadership Award were evaluated by a selection committee of nonprofit and philanthropic leaders. The finalists submitted answers to essay questions and participated in a webinar to share their views on leadership, impact, and opportunities and challenges within the sector.


Independent Sector is a nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of 600 charities, foundations, and corporate philanthropy programs, collectively representing tens of thousands of charitable groups in every state across the nation. Its mission is to advance the common good by leading, strengthening, and mobilizing the nonprofit and philanthropic community. Learn more at

Types: Press Release
Global Topics: Leadership Development