Jonah Edelman

Ashoka Fellow
Portland, Oregon, United States
Fellow Since 2007


This profile was prepared when Jonah Edelman was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
Children don’t vote, lobby, or make campaign contributions. They lack the political power to persuade elected officials to meet their fundamental needs. Jonah is harnessing the collective power of parents, grandparents, and other concerned adults to make children a top political priority. He founded Stand for Children (SFC) to provide everyday people the structure, support, and strength in numbers needed to win concrete, long-lasting improvements for children. Jonah aims to give every child a fair chance in life by creating an independent, non-partisan voice for children and enabling SFC’s members to advocate effectively for quality public schools and the safety and healthy development of children. He frames this as a 21st century civil rights issue.

Jonah believes that concerned citizens must first reverse the erosion in public support for education and related issues that are critical to the ability of children to learn and thrive. He is building effective local and statewide grassroots organizations with the staying power needed to turn around long-standing public apathy and challenge the powerful interest groups—teacher’s unions, school administrators, developers, and anti-tax groups—who have a vested interest in the status quo.

Jonah is organizing many thousands of children’s advocates into a sustained, disciplined “unstoppable force” whose members understand and can shift the dynamics of political power to elect pro-children legislators; initiate and pass statewide ballot measures to meet children’s needs; and press elected leaders and the electorate to invest in children.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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