Eric Adler grew up in Washington, D.C., and his passion for the city and its community started at a young age. While in D.C., Eric attended the Sidwell Friends School in northwest Washington. He then went on to study engineering and economics at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. After graduating from Swarthmore, Eric taught high school physics at St. Paul’s School in Baltimore, Maryland. It was during his time at St. Paul’s that Eric began to focus his attention on urban students. A few bright, lucky students from inner-city Baltimore were brought to St. Paul’s on academic scholarships, but Eric noticed that even with the same teachers, books, and classrooms as all the other students, the scholarship students seemed to struggle. It was this observation that caused Eric to ask himself “What would it take for these students to be able to succeed?” The idea of an urban, public boarding school planted itself in Eric’s mind. Eric went on to earn an MBA in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He worked as a management consultant to Fortune 500 clients, the principal of an investment advisory firm, and an adjunct faculty member of the Johns Hopkins University Graduate Division of Business and Management. He then was introduced to Raj Vinnakota, who had a similar idea about building a boarding school for at-risk children. They teamed up to found The SEED Foundation and, in 1998, opened the first-ever SEED School in Washington, D.C. Today, Eric is co-founder and managing director of The SEED Foundation.
Eric serves on the boards of Swarthmore College and The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. He is an Echoing Green fellow for his work at The SEED Foundation, a past recipient of the Manhattan Institute’s Social Entrepreneurship Award, and received Oprah’s Angel Network’s Use Your Life Award on the Oprah Winfrey Show. He was named a 2002 Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine. Eric is married with two children.