Kevin James, Founder & CEO
Kevin James is the founder and CEO of Better Future Forward, a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to using Income Share Agreements (ISAs) to make high-quality postsecondary education pathways more accessible and affordable. Kevin was previously Director of Higher Education at the Jain Family Institute, which incubated Better Future Forward.
Kevin’s knowledge of and experience with ISAs is unparalleled. He has spent more than a decade studying and strengthening the student loan system - in Congress, at the American Enterprise Institute, and, now, as a social entrepreneur.
Kevin’s journey with ISAs began while he was working as a legislative aide to U.S. Rep. Tom Petri (ret.), at the time a senior member of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce. There, Kevin oversaw the development of legislation to substantially reform the federal student loan system and drafted the first-ever legislation (which Rep. Petri introduced) to create a comprehensive legal framework for ISAs. Kevin was subsequently, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he focused on student loan reform, ISAs, quality assurance in higher education, and education innovation.
In ISAs, Kevin sees a promising and transformative financial aid model that, with a strong dose of creativity and perseverance, can give all students - particularly low-income students - an affordable pathway to a high-quality education program that is tied to their future success, and a remunerative job. Financing isn’t the only systemic issue facing higher education. But Kevin and Better Future Forward believe that by reimagining the way Americans pay for their education and training, we can rebuild America’s higher education infrastructure around the principles of broad accessibility, universal affordability, and comprehensive student success.
Kevin’s has written about higher education in the Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, National Affairs, The Hill, RealClearPolicy, National Review Online, and other publications. He earned a B.S. in computer science and a B.A. in political science from Virginia Tech, and an M.A. in economics from George Mason University.
Barry Cynamon, Executive Vice President & CFO
Barry Cynamon is the CFO of Better Future Forward. Prior to joining BFF, Barry was an independent management consultant and a research fellow at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank’s Center for Household Financial Stability.
Barry brings deep experience with financial modeling and data analysis to his role as the chief architect of the BFF ISA underwriting and pricing model. Armed with this model, BFF is able to create student-centric ISA pilot programs that are financially attractive and scalable as demand for ISAs grows.
Barry has spent nearly a decade studying the factors that drive income and inequality and identifying opportunities for economic progress for households and businesses alike. His consulting work focused on helping mid-market manufacturing companies unlock the value of their data to inform pricing and operations strategy. Barry’s economics papers on household consumption, income inequality, and economic growth have appeared in peer-reviewed journals and have been covered in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.
Barry earned a Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in finance and behavioral science from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and an AB in Mathematics and Economics from Washington University in St. Louis.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Benjamin Riley, Founder and Executive Director, Deans for Impact (Board Chairman)
Amy Martin, Project Manager, Savan group
Erin Crowley, Director of Student Services, Hayfield Secondary School
Steve Goldberg, Founding Principal, Caffeinated Capital LLC
Kevin James, Founder and CEO
Martha Kanter, Ed.D.
Executive Director, College Promise Campaign
Senior Fellow, Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy at New York University
Dr. Brad J. Hershbein
Economist and Director of Information and Communications Services
W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
Dr. Bruce Chapman
Professor of Economics
Australian National University
Dr. Nicholas Barr
Professor of Public Economics
London School of Economics
Dr. Miguel Palacios
Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary