Thaddeus Ferber

  • Executive Vice President
  • Co-Founder, SparkAction

Thaddeus is a campaigner, although not for elected office. Rather, he works in bi-partisan fashion to promote evidence-based policies that help communities achieve equity for all youth (especially those disconnected from school and work) and that incorporate youth voices.

On the federal level, Thaddeus drafted policy recommendations that were adopted by the White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth in the George W. Bush administration, and recommendations that were adopted by the White House Council for Community Solutions in the Obama Administration. He helped to orchestrate National Youth Summits for the George W. Bush and Obama administrations; to craft the Federal Youth Coordination Act, which created an interagency council to align federal efforts for children and youth (signed by President George W. Bush); and to build legislation to create Performance Partnership Pilots, which enable communities to blend fragmented federal programs in innovative ways to help disconnected youth (signed by President Obama).

In partnership with the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions and Gap Inc., Thaddeus launched the Opportunity Youth Network, bringing together the nation’s leading corporations, foundations, nonprofits and young people to reconnect young people who are not in school and not employed. He also started the Youth Policy Action Center website to build a constituency that contacts elected officials about youth issues, and managed the Connect for Kids website to inform the public about child and youth issues. He merged these sites along with two others to form SparkAction, an interactive online network that mobilizes action for and by young people. His efforts to promote evidence-based policymaking include leading several learning groups composed of researchers and government officials.

Thaddeus joined the Forum in 1998. Before that, he worked at the President’s Crime Prevention Council during the Clinton administration, the Stanford Center on Adolescence, the John Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities, the HOME Afterschool Project in Alameda, Calif., and ELEM, a nonprofit for runaway, homeless and neglected Israeli and Arab youth.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Youth Development and Policy from Stanford University. His honors include the John Gardner Public Service Fellowship, the Capitol Advantage Civic Award, the Mobilize 08 Award and the Champion of Juvenile Justice Award.