Making The Brand: From Friedman To EdChoice
A quarter-century ago, when we got our start, it only made sense for the name of our foundation to be the name of our founders: Milton and Rose Friedman. Their vision of universal school choice is our north star; we became the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.
But we always knew a time would come when we would need to change that name. It was their wish not to have their name attached to any nonprofit after their deaths. Milton passed in 2006, and Rose died three years later.
Accordingly, in January 2008, our Board of Directors approved a resolution to call the organization The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Inc., until the end of 2009, when the name would officially transition to The Foundation for Educational Choice, Inc. The goal was to create a soft and seamless transition away from the Friedman name to our new name.
We made the switch in January 2010—including swapping out our website domain to edchoice.org—but it didn’t really stick because people did not understand or, in some cases, agree with removing the Friedman name from our brand. We didn’t really lean into a rebrand or explain that it was the Friedmans’ intent, and people weren’t very happy with us.
So in April 2011, the Board voted to reinstate the original name, and we started working on a bigger, bolder transformation.
This two-year planning effort went far behind internal Friedman Foundation staff. We surveyed 200 external stakeholders to find out what they thought we were doing well and how we could position ourselves. We wanted their objective feedback to make sure we weren’t just listening to ourselves.
It turned out, our new brand was hiding in plain sight: Our domain name was already edchoice.org. We just needed to complete the transformation. While we relied on an outside agency to help us manage all the moving parts, the EdChoice brand was born inside our organization. Our former Art Director executed his vision for our new name. The EdChoice logo represents the bold promise of choice breaking out of the box and leaning toward the future, and our brand palette and standard make it clear that we’re bold and unafraid of the future.
Our new brand, which was formally adopted in July 2016, perfectly captures Milton and Rose’s intellectual legacy and their vision for a world where K-12 education isn’t something that’s just prescribed and delivered by the government. Instead, we lean into innovation and different schooling types. We are not mere cogs in the machine; we are constantly building and rebuilding it to fit our needs. Families come first, and choice is paramount.
As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we wanted to visually bring together our past with our present by incorporating the Friedman name, how many years we’ve been championing families, our modern color palette and symbolic laurels that represent victory and honor.
We haven’t won every battle over the years, but it’s always been our goal to fight with dignity and respect those who have differing opinions. As the oldest school choice group in America, we’re looking forward to the next 25 years and continuing to make sure students have every opportunity to succeed in K-12 education and beyond.
Our Brand Promise
Milton and Rose will always be the soul of our organization, and their vision of school choice will always be what we pursue. But when we rebranded in 2016, we wanted to be deliberate about how we would get there, so we laid out what we wanted to be as an organization—and what we didn’t.
WHO WE ARE
- Intellectually honest
- Trusted experts
WHO WE AREN’T
- Not afraid of a challenge
- Not a stuffy think tank
- Never going to lose sight of what matters first: empowering families
- Educate, train and engage
- Never shy away from a debate or a tough conversation
- Always be respectful and listen to all sides
- Strive to be the most trusted voice for choice in the nation