Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
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|The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice|
|Founder(s)||Milton and Rose D. Friedman|
|Mission||Advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman’s vision of school choice for all children.|
|Chairman||Dr. Patrick Byrne|
|President & CEO||Robert Enlow|
One American Square, Suite 2420Indianapolis, IN 46282
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice is an American education reform organization headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was founded in 1996 by Nobel laureate Milton Friedman and his wife, economist Rose Director Friedman. The Friedman Foundation’s mission is to advance “school choice for all children” nationwide.
Called “the nation's leading advocate of vouchers” by the Wall Street Journal, the Friedman Foundation’s 13-member board is chaired by Dr. Patrick Byrne, chairman and CEO of Overstock.com. The Friedman Foundation, according to its website, works with “nonprofits, schools, community organizations, businesses, parents, teachers, and concerned citizens to provide general education, outreach, and advocacy on school choice.”
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice was founded in March 1996 in Indianapolis, Indiana. It originally was known as the Milton & Rose D. Friedman Foundation. A prominent Indiana politician and friend of the Friedmans, Gordon St. Angelo, served as the Friedman Foundation’s first president, a position he held till 2009, when he was succeeded by Robert Enlow. Other founding directors of the Friedman Foundation include J. Patrick Rooney and Mitch Daniels.
In 1955, Milton Friedman put forth an idea of using free market principles to improve the United States public school system. Typically, public schools are funded by state and local taxes, and children are assigned a public school based on where their parents live. Friedman proposed that parents should be able to receive those education funds in the form of vouchers, which would allow them to choose their children's schools, including both public and private, religious and non-religious options.
The Foundation follows in Friedman’s view and is focused on the creation and expansion of school choice programs, either through vouchers, tax-based incentive programs, education savings accounts.
The Friedman Foundation’s work is state-focused, with an emphasis on legislation and judicial matters related to school choice.
The Friedman Foundation was involved with the U.S. Supreme Courts’ landmark decision on Ohio’s private school choice program in Cleveland, filing an amicus brief along with the Center for Individual Freedom, Cato Institute, and Goldwater Institute in support of the petitioners. The Supreme Court in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris concluded Cleveland’s school voucher program did not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.
In 2013, the Friedman Foundation was credited with influencing the Indiana Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling that the nation’s largest school voucher program was constitutional. The Friedman Foundation was cited in the official ruling. In responding to the court’s decision, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence credited the Friedman Foundation for its work in ensuring the program’s continuation.
The Friedman Foundation also conducts educational and advocacy work on school choice legislation in states, including Alaska , Indiana , Montana , New Hampshire , North Carolina , and Tennessee.
Research and Publications
The Friedman Foundation produces numerous state and national policy studies, research briefs, and voter surveys. Its reports include “The School Staffing Surge: Decades of Employment Growth in America’s Public Schools” and “A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on School Choice.” Friedman Foundation studies typically are conducted by its research Fellows.
The Friedman Foundation also releases annually “The ABCs of School Choice,” a guide to every private school choice program in America. “The ABCs of School Choice” provides a summary of each voucher, tax-credit scholarship, education savings account, and individual tax credit/deduction program in operation. This publication details each program's funding levels, eligibility requirements, historic participation rates, stories of enrolled students, parents, and schools, and “Friedman Feedback” on how to “improve” according to Milton and Rose D. Friedman’s vision.
Friedman Legacy Day
Every year on what would have been Milton Friedman’s birthday, July 31, the Friedman Foundation hosts a worldwide celebration for its founder. In 2012, the 100th anniversary of Dr. Friedman’s birth saw events held in every American state and 43 countries. Friedman also received coverage from The Atlantic, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, the Chicago Tribune, Forbes.com, Rush Limbaugh, National Review Online, Thomas Sowell, Slate, and the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore.
On July 31, 2012, in Chicago, Illinois, the Friedman Foundation held a dinner gala that welcomed host Leo Melamed, chairman emeritus of CME Group (formerly the Chicago Mercantile Exchange), and keynote speaker Dr. Condoleezza Rice. Dr. Rice, a former colleague of Milton Friedman’s at Stanford University, said:
“I often had the opportunity to talk with Milton and (his wife) Rose. They understood the power of ideas – the power of one particular idea. That’s the belief that free markets and free people will own the future.” 
The Friedman Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization with an annual operating budget of around $4.5 million. According to the organization’s 2012 annual report, 35% of its donations came from special giving, 28% from grants, 20% from personal appeals, 9% from web, events, and publications, 7% from renewal mail and annual gifts, and 1% from direct mail. The Friedman Foundation was not endowed by its founders.
- "Founders' Letter". Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
- "Mission & History". Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
- "Patrick Byrne - Champion of Choice". Philanthropy (PhilanthropyRoundtable) XXIV (1).
- "Fellows". Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
- "Staff". Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- "Mission and History". The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- "Extra Credit". Wall Street Journal. September 5, 2001. p. A.26. ISSN 0099-9660.
- "Chairman and CEO of Overstock.com Dr. Patrick M. Byrne Named Co-Chair of Friedman Foundation". PR Newswire. July 21, 2008. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
- "Education, Outreach, and Advocacy". The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
- "School-choice charity fund aimed at the needy" Toronto Star Feb 13, 2003t Page A.29 link
- "St. Angelo to become President Emeritus of Friedman Foundation; Board names Enlow successor" (Press release). Indianapolis, IN: Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. December 10, 2008. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Board of Directors". The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- "The Role of Government in Education". 1955.
- "Friedman Foundation Calls for Tax Credits to Benefit K-12 Education". Inside Indiana Business. February 10, 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
- Dodd, D. Aileen (February 17, 2010). "Rally to unite public, private groups that back vouchers". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
- Brief of Amici Curiae Center for Individual Freedom, Cato Institute, Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation, and Goldwater Institute in Support of Petitioners (PDF). The Cato Institute. November 9, 2001.
- Indiana Supreme Court, No. 49S00-1203-PL-172 (PDF). Supreme Court of Indiana. March 26, 2013.
- AFC Policy Summit - Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. The American Federation for Children. May 20, 2013.
- Fink, Tom (November 5, 2011). "Alaska should approve school choice legislation". Alaska Dispatch. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
- "Friedman Foundation Calls for Tax Credits to Benefit K-12 Education". INside Indiana Business. February 10, 2009. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
- Dennison, Mike (March 17, 2013). "Who’s behind Montana’s school-choice movement?". Independent Record. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
- Siefer, Ted (May 15. 2012). "National school voucher group makes push in Concord". New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
- Stam, Paul (April 30, 2013). "School choice, vouchers popular". The News & Observer. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
- Robert Enlow; Justin Owen (June 23, 2012). "Tennessee families should be allowed school choice options". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
- Scafidi, Benjamin (October 24, 2012). The School Staffing Surge: Decades of Employment Growth in America’s Public Schools. The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.
- Forster Ph.D., Greg (April 17, 2013). A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on School Choice. The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.
- "Fellows". The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
- The ABCs of School Choice. The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. 2013.
- "Celebrating a Century". The School Choice Advocate: 4. October 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- Reed, Jeff, ed. (October 30, 2012). "The Power of One". The School Choice Advocate. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- "Condoleezza Rice Hails Milton Friedman, Calls His Idea of School Choice "a Matter of Civil Rights"" (Press release). Chicago. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- "LePage honors Milton Friedman". The Portland Daily Sun. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- "Annual Review". The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
- "Keeping an orderly foundation". National Review. July 18, 2005. Retrieved 12 April 2010.