Press release: Advance Illinois receives Game Changer of the Year award at industry summit

Posted on October 27, 2017

School funding campaign resulted in fix to Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation formula.

SAN FRANCISCO (October 27, 2017) – Advance Illinois received industry recognition last night for its five-year campaign toward school funding reform. The Policy Innovators in Education Network, which includes 77 organizations in 34 states, named Advance Illinois its Game Changer of the Year at its annual network summit in San Francisco. Advance Illinois Deputy Director Ben Boer was named MVP of the network for his work on Illinois’ new school funding model. The push by Advance Illinois and its partners in the Fix the Formula Illinois campaign and the Funding Illinois’ Future coalition resulted in the signing of a new funding formula into law Aug. 31.

Advance Illinois staff on hand to accept the award were, from left, Bob Dolgan, Ben Boer, Ginger Ostro, Teresa Ramos, Jim O’Connor and Jessica Catlin.

“We’re grateful to all of the partners who fought alongside us to put kids first,” said Ginger Ostro, Executive Director of Advance Illinois. “We hope our victory in Illinois can be a model that inspires other states to address funding inequity and drive resources to needy students.”

The Game Changer of the Year is awarded to a PIE Network member or partner campaign that set a new precedent, offered a leading model, moved the goal line for other states, or had other national implications for advancing the work of reform. Other Illinois advocates recognized Thursday included Stand for Children Illinois, Educators for Excellence Chicago, One Chance Illinois, and the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

Advance Illinois sparked the school funding debate in Illinois by developing a report in 2013, Funding Expectations, that laid out the inequity in the state’s school funding system. Advance Illinois was the architect of a statewide coalition of superintendents, teachers, parents and civil rights leaders that called for reform. The Education Trust ranked Illinois worst in the nation for school funding equity in 2015.

About Advance Illinois
Advance Illinois was founded in 2008 to serve as an independent, objective and nonpartisan voice promoting a healthy public education system that prepares all students for success in college, career and civic life. We are equity-driven, student-centered, data-focused and connected to community and educators. We identify, design and advocate for policies that are tailored to the needs of students, from early childhood education to K-12 to higher education. To learn more, visit, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.