Stephan Leeds

Stephan founded Springboard in August 2018 after a lifetime of exposure to education reform. Through positions in the OECD, EFSG and edtech, Stephan visited the world’s top solutions for national school systems that featured innovative school models, successful career-technical systems, and stakeholder alignment. Prior to Springboard, Stephan ran sales development in a high-growth tech company. He brings a specialty in startups, network & movement building, and sales organization.

Describe the Impact of a Project you’re focused on.

Springboard Communities is an organization that partners with communities to increase local wealth and stability. For communities facing gentrification, Springboard offers an alternative that empowers community leaders to acquire and operate local real estate. Through a co-op model, that real estate is collectively owned so local residents can enjoy the upsides of economic development. By providing community leaders with a proven framework and external capital, partner communities can steer the direction of local development. Our work is centered around high-quality Community Schools, public schools that are hubs for community services, to drive meaningful impact and makes all stakeholders winners.

What results do you hope for when the impact is amplified?

The system for low cost neighborhood development isn’t broken, it’s designed to create cycles of poverty and dependence. We cannot change communities in our most challenged “zip codes” by turning them into investment opportunities from outside investors, we must create partnerships where communities can lead homegrown economic development to see upward mobility through home ownership, wealth accumulation, and skill development catalyzing positive change for friends and family. We know that if you change the cycle, you improve it, and believe that there will be significant changes in poverty, crime, educational achievement, employment rates, health indicators, as well as reductions in the individual, governmental and societal costs and increased financial contributions to society from these youth. Learning is a two way street, and we must work at a local level with the youth that define the changes in our society in order to change that society.

What do you have to offer as a connector? What can you give as expertise to others?

My family has worked in education reform for decades forming organizations and networks of foundations, policy makers, and practitioners. We've been involved at the intersection of social impact for a variety of causes including women's empowerment, environment, and civic engagement with a focus on supporting strong policy advocacy political candidates.