Mickey Freeman is Co-Founder and President of Chicago-based Education Funding Partners (EFP), an innovative for-profit social enterprise that harnesses the power of Fortune 500 companies to support K- 12 public school districts nationwide. The business and social entrepreneur led EFP's efforts to define a new public-private partnership model that allows leading consumer brands to invest in districts seeking to alleviate budget pressures, protect core programs, and enhance student achievement while creating a national cause marketing channel. Freeman’s blend of nonprofit, private and public sector experiences supports EFP's revolutionary cross-sector approach. EFP, a Benefit Corporation, was awarded ‘Best for the World” five years in a row (2013-2017) by B Lab for scoring in the top 10 percent of all benefit corporations worldwide and was named one of ‘Five Bright Ideas for Education’ by Harvard Business School. A passionate supporter of public education, Freeman grew EFP’s public school district marketing network (>150 districts) and 10m students/16m parents/1m educators and over 75m parent/teacher impressions per month, cultivated education partnerships with SchoolMessenger, Blackboard, Target, Microsoft, Walmart, Staples, OfficeMax, Shutterfly, and CVS, and facilitated partnerships with School Messenger and Blackboard. EFP and Freeman have been featured in USA Today, Time, BusinessWeek, Entrepreneur, Inc., and Education Week, and multiple broadcast affiliates. Freeman also served as CEO 2010-2016 (before the company relocated as part of a major financing to Chicago, IL).
Prior to joining EFP, Freeman was president of Outward Bound Wilderness, the flagship division of Outward Bound USA and leading provider of wilderness education programs, and Chief Operating Officer of Outward Bound USA, the world's leading experiential education nonprofit organization (serving 70,000 students/year). As COO, he directed nationwide program operations, over 1,000 instructors and staff, curricula/pedagogy, efficacy research, marketing, sales, customer service, safety, human resources, and IT. He was an active executive fundraiser, including starting Outward Bound Denver with a $1M grant and helping generate $5M in grants for military veterans.
Freeman draws from diverse experiences gained through various corporate and entrepreneurial roles held earlier in his career. He served as president of Schoolpop, the largest online school fundraising company in the U.S., and previously served as director of marketing for Sprint Corp’s $1.2B wholesale long distance division, brand manager for the company’s first consumer Internet product, and group manager of strategic planning for Sprint’s $2.3B consumer long-distance business.
Freeman's passion for creatively solving societal concerns is evident in his professional and personal commitment to social entrepreneurship and community service. He serves as a Board Advisor for Unite for Literacy, a for-profit emergent reader publishing company that creates picture book abundance and a daily reading habit for families with young children to boost kindergarten readiness grade-level reading scores and high school graduation rates. He also serves as a Commissioner for Serve Colorado, the Governor’s Commission on Community Service, appointed by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper in 2017. He previously was chairman of AXL Academy, a public charter school in Aurora, CO, and on the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City. He serves as adjunct faculty at Denver University’s Daniels College of Business, and began his career at the North Carolina Institute of Government, placing college students in state government internships to promote civic engagement.
A native of Greensboro, NC, Freeman was a Reynolds Scholar at UNCG, where he completed the Honors Program, graduated magna cum laude, represented the US on an exchange program to Singapore, and chaired the University Media Board. Freeman was awarded UNCG’s Young Alumni Award in 2005. He earned an MBA at Harvard Business School, completed two Outward Bound courses, and was selected for the inaugural class of Leadership America. As a youth, NC Governor James G. Martin awarded Freeman the top rank of Spaatz Cadet Colonel in the Civil Air Patrol, the US Air Force Auxiliary.