Strada collaborates with students, policymakers, educators, and employers across the U.S. to strengthen the link between education and opportunity.
We prioritize policies, practices, and programs that help ensure postsecondary education provides equitable pathways to opportunity.
We advance our mission through research, grantmaking, social impact investments, public policy solutions, Strada-supported nonprofit organizations, and strategic initiatives.
Mark Rigdon is senior vice president of state government relations. He joined Strada in September 2023 and leads a team focused on developing relationships among state policymakers to create impactful and sustainable systems change.
Rigdon has worked at the intersection of advocacy, philanthropy, policy, research, and practice in education for more than 25 years.
Rigdon came to Strada from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As deputy director of state and local government relations, Rigdon was responsible for implementing state and local policy, advocacy, and communications strategies across the foundation’s six focus states, which helped secure changes significant K12 and PS policy changes in a number of states.During his time at the foundation, Rigdon also served as deputy director of strategy, planning, and management. In that role, he directed strategy development for early learning, K-12, and postsecondary policy, advocacy, and communications.
Previously, Rigdon served as executive director of J.P. Morgan Chase’s global philanthropy group, for which he managed and expanded the Fellowship Initiative, the firm’s $30 million college-access program for young men of color in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles — a program he co-created in his previous role as vice president for the company.
Rigdon also worked in philanthropic and policy roles for The Chicago Community Trust, the Spencer Foundation, and the National Governors Association.
Rigdon earned his Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College, his master’s degree and doctorate in political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MBA from the Northwestern University School of Management.