Jake Cohen

Manager of Strategic Initiatives


Portait photo of Jake Cohen, Manager of Strategic Initiatives

Jake Cohen has built his career leveraging public policy and citizen power to improve local education.

Before joining Holdsworth, Jake served as state education organizer with Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) Network in Maryland, where he developed a statewide leadership team focused on re-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.

In 2015, Jake was appointed lead organizer of People Acting Together in Howard (PATH), the IAF affiliate of Howard County, Maryland. 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, Maryland 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 Goucher College, Teach for America, and the Maryland State Education Association.

Jake’s first post with the IAF was as an associate organizer for Child First Authority, 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.

Outside of his work with IAF, Jake volunteered to help lead the Zeke Cohen Campaign for Baltimore City Council, where he consulted on campaign strategy, messaging, and field organization.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology, including a correlate in Africana studies, from Vassar College.

Jake is a graduate of Northampton Public Schools in Massachusetts and loves hiking, reading, and games. He was once a professional ultimate frisbee player for the Washington DC Breeze, where he was compensated chiefly in Subway gift cards.