Ethan Pollack

Director, Financing the Future


Ethan Pollack is a director at JFF, where he leads Financing the Future, an initiative that seeks to reimagine the way education and skills development investments are financed.

In that role, he explores innovative approaches to education financing, including income share agreements, merit-based financing plans, social impact bonds, and individual training accounts. He aims to track the evolution and performance of these new approaches, establish best practices and policy guardrails to ensure that they are learner-centered, and cultivate an ecosystem that fosters experimentation and emphasizes consumer protection.

Before joining JFF, Ethan spent five years at the Aspen Institute, where he served as associate director for research and policy at the Future of Work Initiative. His work examined how sweeping changes to the economy—including the rise of outsourcing and independent work—are undermining the social contract, and how policies related to worker training, portable benefits, corporate governance, and worker ownership can create a more inclusive and dynamic model of capitalism. He authored two of the initiative’s foundational reports: Towards a New Capitalism and Automation and a Changing Economy.

Earlier in his career, Ethan served as a senior associate at the Pew Charitable Trusts, where he explored the fiscal relationships between federal, state, and local governments and advised state policymakers on how to stabilize their budgets across the business cycle using rainy day funds, debt issuance, and other tools. Before that, he worked for the Economic Policy Institute, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and Freedman Consulting.

Ethan says he was drawn to JFF by its willingness to think outside the box while remaining grounded in concrete evidence and decades of practical experience in workforce, education, economic opportunity programs.

Outside of work, he helps run a DC-based cross-cultural music and arts nonprofit.