Ed Walz leads a communications team responsible for First Focus’ media relations, social media outreach, and other public communications. Ed and his team also work with the organization’s policy staff to develop First Focus’ issue briefs, reports, and other materials, and to integrate communications with the organization’s advocacy strategy. And they coordinate with the First Focus policy team to support the advocacy efforts of First Focus’ state partners.
Before joining the First Focus team in November, 2011, Ed worked as a Vice President at Spitfire Strategies, a national consulting firm offering communications and strategy counsel and support to nonprofits and philanthropies. At Spitfire, Ed a messaging project that helped state-based advocates from coast to coast strengthen children’s health coverage policy and covered more than 1.3 million uninsured kids. He regularly presented on topics ranging from advocacy communications and message development to communications planning and effective writing. He also led a research effort that informed the development of Spitfire’s Just Enough Planning Guide.
For fifteen years, Ed worked for the U.S. House of Representatives, serving three senior lawmakers, leaving the Hill as Legislative Director for then-Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH-13). As a policy staffer, Ed drafted and successfully advanced federal legislation on issues ranging from food safety to family tax policy. He also coordinated with business and human services advocates to secure Federal Communications Commission designation of the telephone dialing prefix 2-1-1 for social services referrals. And he worked with a bipartisan, bicameral team of legislators and staff to win House floor passage of legislation authorizing the importation of safe, affordable, effective medicine from Canada and other allied nations. Ed also worked as a constituent liaison in a congressional district office, leading the planning and execution of large-scale public events that drew significant media attention.
Ed was raised in southeastern Wisconsin, where his family owned a small restaurant business. He started a small philanthropy in partnership with a Wisconsin community foundation, and he has been an active volunteer in the Washington, D.C., area.