Become a Member


Benefits of Joining CEF

Information Services
CEF produces weekly, members-only e-mail updates and alerts on budget and appropriations issues and information on the broad range of education policy. Alerts contain analyses and updates on Administration and Congressional actions, suggested field action, concise message statements, model letters, funding charts, and meeting notices. CEF also keeps members current on legislative issues that affect them.
Expert Staff & Credibility
CEF membership is like having your own funding experts on staff. Our skilled staff focuses exclusively on budget and appropriations issues for education. This gives our members access to timely, accurate information and effective funding strategies with a relatively low investment of their own staff time.

The media, the Administration, Members of Congress and staff look to CEF as the experts on educational funding issues. They regard CEF as the prime source of the education community’s positions on education appropriations and budget issues.

Coalition Advocacy
Membership with CEF offers organizations the opportunity to be actively involved in developing and implementing high-profile strategy on education budget and appropriations issues. During weekly meetings, CEF members develop a consensus position for the education community and coordinate an action plan. Examples of that strategy include unified web-based grassroots efforts, press events, Hill rallies and briefings, and CEF team visits to Members of Congress. CEF serves as the only united voice for the entire education community on issues affecting federal education funding.

CEF members actively participate in a number of committees, which currently are Advocacy and Research, Hill Teams, Gala, Media and Communications, and Membership and Bylaws.

CEF also co-chairs NDD United, a coalition of over 2,500 organizations working together to maintain parity and ultimately repeal the sequester to increase investments in nondefense discretionary programs.

Access to Key Congressional & Administration Staff
Our weekly Friday membership meetings provide an unparalleled opportunity for CEF members to hear from key staff from both the Administration and Congress. Our speakers provide CEF members with the latest news and insights into Congressional and Administration actions on education budget, appropriations, and policy issues.
In addition to CEF’s website and Twitter account, CEF produces several valuable publications, including our annual Education Budget Response and the CEF Membership Directory.

  • Education Budget Response:
    This annual document, written by experts in our membership, includes a summary and critique of the President’s education budget, funding tables, and articles for each federal education program. The report includes details of program goals, supported activities, and funding history, as well as the projected impact of the President’s budget request. This publication is one of the most popular and useful education publications in Washington. Its availability is eagerly anticipated by those inside and outside the beltway.
  • CEF Membership Directory:
    This guide is a comprehensive listing of the nearly 120 education institutions, agencies, associations, and other organizations that comprise CEF’s membership. Officers, executive directors, and CEF government relations contacts are listed with their phone numbers, email, and mailing addresses. The directory includes a brief description of all of our member organizations.
Networking & Professional Development
CEF is the only coalition whose membership includes organizations and institutions that represent early childhood education; elementary and secondary education; special education; career, technical, and adult education; higher education; workforce training; libraries; museums; and educational research from the public and private sectors. CEF members have regular access to their peers from across the education community, opportunities to advocate alongside and learn from their colleagues, participate in committee work, contribute to publications and events, and take on a leadership role through the committees or the board of directors. CEF also holds the largest gathering of the national education community at its annual Legislative Conference and Awards Gala. During this event, CEF recognizes outstanding advocates for education investment.
Special Events
In addition to weekly meetings when Congress is in session, CEF members have access to special events each year – all without charge! In recent years we’ve hosted a Presidential Forum featuring representatives of major party candidates, a Budget/Appropriations 101 Workshop explaining the intricacies of the federal budget and appropriations processes, receptions for new members of Congress and Congressional staff, briefings with current and former Congressional committee staff, a forum with education reporters, panels with pollsters and pundits, briefings on the President’s budget the day after its release featuring high level Administration and Congressional staff, a sequester “bake sale,” special research briefings, and an “Education Seeds the Economy” briefing.

Request Member Account

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For more information, contact:

Sarah Abernathy, Executive Director, 571-212-6619,
Jenny Smulson, President, 



Social Media Toolkit to let Congress know why education funding matters to you

CEF Events

CEF Gala – September 13, 2023
Reception and awards banquet at National Press Club Ballroom

Videos, presentations, and photos from past briefings and CEF Galas

Charts, Funding Tables, and Other Resources

Find an expert, view federal budget info, and browse charts and graphics.

CEF Budget Book

Access CEF’s analyses of the President’s budget request from 2011 to the present.