Senator James Coleman grew up in a single-parent Denver home, and had a history of fighting and multiple school suspensions. School officials warned his mom he was at the brink of expulsion and on a fast track into the juvenile justice system. His mom learned about newly-formed ACE Scholarships, helping low-income families access private school education. She applied, and James was enrolled in the first class of ACE Scholars. For the first time, he had a Black teacher who helped him understand the rich history of America’s Civil Rights Movement. His heroes became Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. After he graduated, he earned a theology degree at Oral Roberts University.
James was later hired by ACE Scholarships. For 8 years he recruited students to the program. In 2016, he was elected Colorado State Representative for Green Valley Ranch, then elected State Senator in 2020. Senator Coleman founded nonprofit FaithBridge (a Daniels Fund grantee) which unites inner-city churches to provide kids with food, clothing, after school programs, tutoring, technology, and other support. He hopes to establish “John Lewis Schools,” named for the famed Civil Rights leader, to restore the tradition of inner-city churches providing private education to children. Senator Coleman is determined to give back in response to ACE Scholarships and others who helped him forge his path to success in life.