Shelly Lipscomb Echeverria Named Managing Director, Equity First

For Immediate Release:
ontact: Rebecca Kann

Shelly Lipscomb Echeverria Named Managing Director, Equity First

(Harrisburg, PA) – March 8, 2018 – The Citizens for Fair School Funding (“Equity First”) is pleased to announce Shelly Lipscomb Echeverria has been named Managing Director of Equity First! Shelly is an artist, lifelong community crusader and former legislative staff member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

“I’ve had the honor of knowing Shelly her whole life and she’s been fighting against racial injustices and helping advance solutions for as long as I can remember,” added Kelly Lewis, Chairman of Equity First.  “I’m very confident Shelly is going to make immediate impacts to help all students get fair funding across the Commonwealth.”

Shelly’s community engagement and artistic abilities have allowed her the opportunity to combine her creative artwork with the teachings of civil rights leaders, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In fact, Shelly is the illustrator of the children’s book My Elephant-Sized Dream, written by a college friend and inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Available on and other online resources, the children’s book is about a young girl who contemplates the importance of Dr. King’s speech.

Shelly’s experiences and feedback from illustrating the book have grown her community involvement by speaking up about the Jim Crow funding systems that still prevent minority school districts from receiving an equitable amount of the pie. Shelly declared, “if we want to see a change, we need to be that change!  My parents and grandparents did not fight for equality to see their grandchildren still being judged by the color of their skin and not by the content of their character. The time for action is now!”

In addition to her long passion for art, Shelly spent 22 years working for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in various roles.  Then, in December 2016, Shelly retired from the House to pursue to what matters most to her – her community. “Shelly’s experience with the state legislature and her history of community engagement made her decision to join EquityFirst in this role a natural fit,” said Rebecca Kann, Vice-Chairman of the EquityFirst Board.

As Managing Director of EquityFirst, Shelly will be leading the group’s major 2018 initiative, the #CivilFundingWar declaration recently launched in Harrisburg, the state capitol.  In her role, Shelly will organize community meetings and workshops to equip local leaders, citizens and others interested in raising awareness about the racist distribution of Basic and Special Education dollars in the City of Harrisburg School District and other severely underfunded school districts.

Upcoming Community Meetings at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 248 Seneca St, Harrisburg:

Thursday, March 22, 2018 – 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Monday, April 16, 2018 – 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Monday, April 30, 2018 – 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Free Registration Available on

“In 2018, it’s difficult to believe our state government knowingly underfunds Harrisburg School District by more than $31 million every year, in both Basic and Special Education funding.  There’s dozens of similarly-impacted school districts that are severely underfunded and its negative impacts on children, families and local economies over the past 25-years have been astronomical,” explained Shelly Lipscomb Echeverria, Managing Director, EquityFirst.

Shelly is a graduate of Central Dauphin High School and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. A professional artist, Shelly’s paintings hang in the Pennsylvania State Capitol as well as various offices and businesses in the central PA area.

The Citizens for Fair School Funding is a non-profit organization established to (1) raise awareness of the findings of the June 2015 bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission, (2) help underfunded school districts get funding equity as soon as possible so they don’t remain underfunded for another 25 years (3) support the establishment of the School Consolidation Fund and Cost-Savings Commission recommended in the BEF Commission Report.

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