Jake Cohen

School Board and Community Engagement Specialist

Before joining The Holdsworth Center, Jake worked as a Community Organizer in several positions with Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) Network with a focus on building citizen power to improve public education.

After graduating from Vassar College, Jake joined Child First Authority, part of the IAF in Baltimore, as an associate organizer where he led and won local and citywide campaigns, including a school construction bond that generated $1 billion to rebuild 24 schools in the city. Baltimore has the oldest school buildings in Maryland.

In 2015 Jake was appointed lead organizer of People Acting Together in Howard (PATH), the IAF affiliate of Howard County, MD. In this role, Jake worked with top clergy and education leaders to secure significant victories, including a commitment for over 900 affordable housing units in Columbia, MD and the hiring of more than 100 paraprofessionals in Howard County Public Schools. He often joined local colleges, nonprofits, and conferences as a guest lecturer or trainer, including Howard Community College and the Maryland State Education Association.

Most recently, Jake served as state education organizer for Maryland IAF, where he developed a statewide leadership team focused on the goal of writing the state’s formulas to fully fund Maryland’s public education system. This involved creating and delivering training, developing power analyses, and creating local action coalitions to develop Maryland IAF’s ability to engage in education funding statewide.

In between working for the IAF, Jake volunteered to help lead the Zeke Cohen Campaign for Baltimore City Council, where he consulted on campaign strategy, messaging, and field organization.

Since graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, including a correlate in Africana Studies, from Vassar College, Jake has built a career that utilizes public policy to empower local education.