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Founder(s) Milton and Rose D. Friedman[1]
Established 1996
Mission Advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman’s vision of school choice for all children.[2]
Chairman Patrick Byrne[3]
President & CEO Robert Enlow
Budget Revenue: $5,235,726
Expenses: $4,888,817
(FYE December 2012)[4]
Formerly called Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

One American Square, Suite 2420

Indianapolis, IN 46282
Website www.edchoice.org

EdChoice, formerly the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice,[5] 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 organization's mission is to advance “school choice for all children” nationwide.[6]

Called “the nation's leading advocate of vouchers” by the Wall Street Journal,[7] the organization's 13-member board is chaired by Patrick M. Byrne, chairman and CEO of Overstock.com.[8] EdChoice, 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.”[9]


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.[10] 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.[11] Other founding directors of the Friedman Foundation include J. Patrick Rooney and Mitch Daniels.[12]

On May 10, 2016, the Friedman Foundation announced it would change its name later in the year to reflect the Friedmans' desire to separate their personal legacy from the intellectual legacy of educational choice. They specifically directed the Foundation’s board of directors to stop using the Friedman name at some point after their deaths.

On July 29, 2016, the Friedman Foundation announced that the organization's new name would be EdChoice and that it would focus its mission on three areas: educating and informing the public about the benefits of school choice; training and equipping policymakers and stakeholders with the skills they need to support school choice; and advancing high-quality school choice programs in states across the nation.[5]

School choice[edit]

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.[13]

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.[14][15]

Policy influence[edit]

The organization'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.[16] 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.[17] In responding to the court’s decision, Indiana Governor Mike Pence credited the Friedman Foundation for its work in ensuring the program’s continuation.[18]

EdChoice also conducts educational and advocacy work on school choice legislation in states, including Alaska[19] , Indiana[20] , Montana[21] , New Hampshire[22] , North Carolina[23] , and Tennessee.[24]

Research and publications[edit]

EdChoice 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”[25] and “A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on School Choice.”[26] Friedman Foundation studies typically are conducted by its research Fellows.[27]

EdChoice 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.[28]

Friedman Legacy Day[edit]

Every year on what would have been Milton Friedman’s birthday, July 31, the organization 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.[29] 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.[30]

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.” [31]

Also in 2012, Maine Gov. Paul LePage proclaimed July 31 as “Milton Friedman Day.”[32]

The Friedman Foundation celebrated its 10th and final Friedman Legacy Day on July 29, 2016, the date it announced the organization's new name, EdChoice. At the announcement event in Indianapolis, David D. Friedman reaffirmed his parents' desire[33] to separate their name from the organization: “I came here tonight is to make it clear this is not a matter of rejection my parents but doing what they wanted done."


EdChoice 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.[34]


  1. ^ "Founders' Letter". Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "Mission & History". Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Patrick Byrne – Champion of Choice". Philanthropy. PhilanthropyRoundtable. XXIV (1). 
  4. ^ "Charity Rating". Charity Navigator.  Also see "GuideStar Summary". GuideStar. 
  5. ^ a b Sullivan, Maureen (July 30, 2016). "Milton Friedman's Name Disappears From Foundation, But His School-Choice Beliefs Live On". Forbes. Retrieved 14 September 2016. 
  6. ^ "Mission and History". The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Extra Credit". Wall Street Journal. September 5, 2001. p. A.26. ISSN 0099-9660. 
  8. ^ "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. 
  9. ^ "Education, Outreach, and Advocacy". The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  10. ^ "School-choice charity fund aimed at the needy" Toronto Star Feb 13, 2003t Page A.29 link
  11. ^ "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. 
  12. ^ "Board of Directors". The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  13. ^ "The Role of Government in Education". 1955. 
  14. ^ "Friedman Foundation Calls for Tax Credits to Benefit K–12 Education". Inside Indiana Business. February 10, 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  15. ^ Dodd, D. Aileen (February 17, 2010). "Rally to unite public, private groups that back vouchers". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  16. ^ "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. 
  17. ^ "Indiana Supreme Court, No. 49S00-1203-PL-172" (PDF). Supreme Court of Indiana. March 26, 2013. 
  18. ^ AFC Policy Summit - Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. The American Federation for Children. May 20, 2013. 
  19. ^ Fink, Tom (November 5, 2011). "Alaska should approve school choice legislation". Alaska Dispatch. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Friedman Foundation Calls for Tax Credits to Benefit K-12 Education". INside Indiana Business. February 10, 2009. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  21. ^ Dennison, Mike (March 17, 2013). "Who's behind Montana's school-choice movement?". Independent Record. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  22. ^ Siefer, Ted (May 15, 2012). "National school voucher group makes push in Concord". New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  23. ^ Stam, Paul (April 30, 2013). "School choice, vouchers popular". The News & Observer. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  24. ^ Robert Enlow; Justin Owen (June 23, 2012). "Tennessee families should be allowed school choice options". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  25. ^ Scafidi, Benjamin (October 24, 2012). "The School Staffing Surge: Decades of Employment Growth in America's Public Schools". The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. 
  26. ^ Forster Ph.D., Greg (April 17, 2013). "A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on School Choice". The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. 
  27. ^ "Fellows". The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  28. ^ "The ABCs of School Choice". The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. 2013. 
  29. ^ "Celebrating a Century". The School Choice Advocate: 4. October 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  30. ^ Reed, Jeff, ed. (October 30, 2012). "The Power of One". The School Choice Advocate. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  31. ^ "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. 
  32. ^ "LePage honors Milton Friedman". The Portland Daily Sun. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  33. ^ "One group changes its name, and another celebrates a big birthday". Chalkbeat. 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2016-08-02. 
  34. ^ "Annual Review". The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Retrieved July 10, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°46′13″N 86°09′37″W / 39.7704°N 86.1604°W / 39.7704; -86.1604