Nov 19 2020

What Does a New President Mean for Education?

Grantmakers for Education


November 19, 2020

The education and philanthropic sectors are eager to hear from the Biden-Harris administration about their plans for the next four years. We know many GFE members are wondering how they can be supportive of a reinvigorated focus on young people. In this off-the-record conversation, Carmel Martin, senior policy advisor to President-Elect Biden, will engage in a dialogue led by a panel of GFE members and partners, and answer the questions that are on all of our minds. The session will conclude with an open forum for participant questions.

Featured Speaker:
Carmel Martin, Senior Policy Advisor to President-Elect Biden

Melanie Brown, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Dan Leeds, Education Champions; National Public Education Support Fund
Paul Reville, Education Redesign Lab, Harvard Graduate School of Education

This event is exclusively for members of Grantmakers for Education. There is no cost to attend this program.



Carmel Martin
Senior Policy Advisor
Biden for President

Carmel Martin is a senior policy advisor for the Biden for President campaign, working on Domestic Policy.  She led the Unity Task Forces and the DNC Platform process.

Martin was the executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank in Washington, D.C., where she managed all of the organization’s policy teams, including the economic policy, national security and climate teams.  She led the launch and development of CAP's Women's Initiative, and CAP’s Democracy and Criminal Justice teams.

Martin served as the assistant secretary for policy and budget at the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to her appointment by President Obama, Martin served as general counsel and deputy staff director of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in the United States Senate under the leadership of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA). She also served as chief counsel and senior policy adviser to former Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and special counsel to former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD). Through her years in Congress, she worked on legislation related to education, workforce, budget, welfare, health care, and other issues of national importance.

Martin has also worked for the Emerson Collective where she worked on policy across the organization's areas of focus, including immigration, education and climate. She also led the organization's state and local partnership work.

Early in Martin’s career, she worked as a trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice and as a member of Hogan and Hartson’s (now Hogan Lovells) education practice. She graduated with a J.D. and master's degree in public affairs from the University of Texas. After graduate school, Martin was a law clerk to Thomas M. Reavley, judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

Martin has appeared on PBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox. She has been published in and cited in publications including The New York Times and The Washington Post. She has testified as an expert witness in Congress and other legislative committees.


Melanie R. Brown
Senior Program Officer, Public Engagement & Insights, Global Policy & Advocacy
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Melanie R. Brown is a global speaker and writer on philanthropy, gender and racial justice. She began her career as an educator, teaching in Washington, D.C., Beijing, China and Hong Kong, before transitioning into philanthropy. With nearly 15 years in the field, Melanie’s grantmaking has included a focus on accelerating academic achievement for Black and Latinx students, dismantling systems of exclusionary discipline, advancing parent and youth organizing, disarming deficit narratives about Black men in the media and advocating for the rights of students of color with disabilities. She is currently a senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where her work focuses on constituent engagement across the foundation’s education, economic and health priorities in the United States and Canada.  

Melanie is also an Atlantic Fellow in Social and Economic Equity at the London School of Economics, where she investigates Black women’s intersectional leadership across the global charitable sector. She has written for Alliance Magazine, the world’s leading publication for philanthropy and social investment and presented her work to audiences in Havana, Cuba, Oxford, UK and Cape Town, South Africa. While at The Heinz Endowments, Melanie created and managed what at the time was one of the nation’s largest pots of philanthropic dollars focused on parent and student organizing. From this work, Melanie co-authored an article for the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Reasons youth engage in activism programs: Social justice or sanctuary?  

Melanie is an adjunct professor at American University and serves on the AU Alumni Association Board and the Harvard Graduate School of Education Arts in Education Advisory Council. Melanie is the current Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Women’s Funding Network, the largest philanthropic network of foundations, funds and organizations dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls around the world.  

A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Melanie earned degrees from American, Harvard and Carnegie Mellon universities. She resides in Washington, D.C.


Daniel Leeds
Education Champions

Dan co-founded Education Champions (, in 2019, with a goal to elevate the importance of education in the public discourse and create a political environment where supporting excellent public education — from cradle through career — is a priority for Federal, state and local government leaders.

Dan is also the co-founder and board president of the National Public Education Support Fund (, which organizes the Education Funder Strategy Group, Grantmakers for Thriving Youth, the Partnership for the Future of Learning, the Global Science of Learning Education Network, Education 2020 and study tours of high performing education systems around the world.  Dan also helped found the Alliance for Excellent Education (, whose board he also chairs.

Dan, along with the Alliance for Excellent Education and the National Public Education Support Fund have been proponents of looking at education in a global perspective and were early supporters of PISA in the United States.  Much of his recent education work has focused on the Science of Learning and he is involved with several related U.S. and international efforts, including the Global Science of Learning Education Network.

Along with his wife, Sunita, Dan co-chairs The Enfranchisement Foundation, which focuses on breaking the cycles of poverty and intolerance in the United States as well as on women’s and climate issues.  Until the sale of CMP Media in 1999, he was President of International Publishing. CMP, a leading technology media company, was cited as “One of the Best Companies to Work For” by Fortune Magazine and Working Women Magazine.


Paul Reville
Founder and Director, Education Redesign Lab
Francis Keppel Professor of Practice of Educational Policy and Administration
Harvard Graduate School of Education

Professor Reville returned to the Harvard Graduate School of Education as the Francis Keppel Professor of Practice of Educational Policy and Administration in 2013, having just completed nearly five years of service as the secretary of education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As Governor Deval Patrick's top education advisor, Reville established the Executive Office of Education and had oversight of higher education, K-12, and early education in the nation's leading student achievement state. He served in the Governor's Cabinet and played a leading education reform role on matters ranging from the Achievement Gap Act of 2010 and Common Core State Standards to the Commonwealth's highly successful Race to the Top proposal.

He is particularly interested in matters of federal and state education policy and is now concentrating his work on the design of 21st century learning systems, braiding schooling, health/social supports and enrichments to close learning gaps.

Prior to joining the Patrick Administration, Reville had chaired the Massachusetts State Board of Education, founded the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy, cofounded the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE), chaired the Massachusetts Reform Review Commission, and the Massachusetts Commission on Time and Learning, and served as executive director of the Pew Forum on Standards-Based Reform, a national think tank which convened the U.S.'s leading researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to set the national standards agenda. Reville played a central role in MBAE's development of and advocacy for Massachusetts historic Education Reform Act of 1993. Reville has been a member of the HGSE faculty since 1997 and has served as director of the Education Policy and Management Program.

Reville's career, which combines research, policy, and practice, began with service as a VISTA volunteer/youth worker. He served as a teacher and principal of two urban, alternative high schools. Some years later, he founded a local education foundation which was part of the Public Education Network. He is a board member and adviser to a host of organizations, and a frequent writer and speaker on education reform and policy issues. He edited the book entitled, A Decade of Urban School Reform: Persistence and Progress in the Boston Public Schools. He holds five honorary doctorate degrees. Last and most importantly, he is the father of four children.


Out-of-School Time Bimonthly Funder Meetup: August 2024
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Out-of-School Time Bimonthly Funder Meetup: August 2024

Join the EdFunders Out-of-School Time Impact Group for an ongoing conversation with Grantmakers for Education members who fund or are interested in funding the out-of-school time sector. August 6: Sharing and supporting each other's work.

Toward Languages of Liberation in Learning Environments
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Toward Languages of Liberation in Learning Environments

Join a discussion about how children's and youth's experiences with languages can shape their identities while developing a truly multicultural vision of democracy’s future.