Heather Graham
Principal

Heather Graham leads teams that provide strategic planning, advocacy and organizational management support to foundations, policymakers and non-profit organizations seeking to expand their impact. Her recent projects include strategic planning for the Bill & Melinda Gates and Oak Foundations and developing growth strategies for Educators Rising and the Hill Center.

Heather’s experience as a teacher in the South Bronx catalyzed her career in education and she has dedicated her career to finding solutions to the challenges facing our nation’s schools. Before joining Education First, Heather worked as a grantmaker at the Bill & Melinda Gates and Annie E. Casey Foundations. Heather also served as a Vice President with Teach For America and was awarded a White House Fellowship, during which she spent a year advancing education and national service policy. She also spent a year in China as a Henry Luce Scholar.

Heather earned an M.A. in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and a B.A. with honors from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. When not working, she enjoys hiking along the Eno River with her two dogs and cheering for the Durham Bulls in her adopted hometown of Durham, NC.

Heather's expertise

  • Pathways for Student Success
  • Grantmaking Strategy & Effectiveness
  • Strategy Development and Implementation Support
  • Organizational Startup and Growth

Recent clients

  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • EdReports.org
  • High-Quality Assessment Project (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Helmsley Charitable Trust)
  • The Hill Center
  • The Oak Foundation

Heather likes



  • Family time with Christopher, Maya and Liam

  • Yoga – a group of Ed First team members practicing early morning yoga at the Portland Waterfront Park at a staff retreat