Our Mission

The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

CDF provides a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor children, children of color and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investments before they get sick, drop out of school, get into trouble or suffer family breakdown.

CDF began in 1973 and is a private, nonprofit organization supported by individual donations, foundation, corporate and government grants.

About CDF-New York

Established in 1992, the Children's Defense Fund-New York (CDF-NY) office has a unique approach to improving conditions for children, combining research, public education, policy development, community organizing and advocacy. A recognized authority in the endeavor to protect children and strengthen families, CDF-NY serves as a resource and partner for children, families and organizations throughout New York City and State. We leverage our national influence to eliminate the harmful and disproportionate impact that poverty has on children in New York and to eliminate race and gender inequities in the areas of justice, early childhood, education, health and housing.

Board of Directors

Lan Bentsen, Co-Chair
Founder
Shape Tomorrow
Houston, TX
Carol Oughton Biondi
Board Member, California
State Advisory Committee
on Juvenile Justice &
Delinquency Prevention/
Board Member, ARC
(Anti-Recidivism Coalition
Los Angeles), CA
Angela Glover Blackwell, Co-Chair
Founder and CEO
PolicyLink
Oakland, CA
     
Laphonza Butler
President
SEIU-ULTCW
Los Angeles, CA
Deborah S. Cogut
Co-Founder and Vice Chair
The Polyphony Foundation
Greenwich, CT
Malaak Compton-Rock
Founder and Director
The Angelrock Project
New York, NY
     
Marian Wright Edelman
President
Children's Defense Fund
Washington, DC
DD Eisenberg
Child Advocate
Coral Gables, FL
Winifred Green
President
Southern Coalition for
Educational Equity
New Orleans, LA
     
George Gresham
George Gresham
President
1199 SEIU
Bronx, NY
Clay Grubb
President
Grubb Properties, Inc.
Charlotte, NC
Ruth-Ann Huvane
Child Advocate
Los Angeles, CA
     
Deborah Jewell-Sherman
Director
Urban Superintendents Program
and Professor of Practice,
Harvard Graduate School
of Education, MA

Katie McGrath
Child Advocate
Los Angeles, CA

Ivanna Omeechevarria
Child Advocate
Alexandria, VA
     
 
Jurnee Smollett
Wendy Puriefoy
Child Advocate
Boston, MA
Martin Rodgers
Managing Director
Washington, DC Metro
Office and Executive
Director of Accenture’s
Nonprofit Group
Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Actress
Los Angeles, CA
     
Bryan Stevenson, Esq.
Founder and Executive Director
Equal Justice Initiative
Montgomery, AL
Ali Wentworth
Actress
New York, NY
Reese Witherspoon
Actress
Los Angeles, CA
     

Former CDF Board Members and Emeriti

Kirbyjon Caldwell Lucy Hackney Dennis Rivera
     
Geoffrey Canada,
Chair, 2008 - 2014
Howard Haworth Johnathan Rodgers
     
Lisle Carter, Jr.
(deceased)
Dorothy Height
(deceased)
Donna E. Shalala,
Chair, 1992 – 1993
     
Laura Chasin
(deceased)
David Hornbeck,
Chair, 1994 – 2005
Barbara Shaw
     
Hillary Rodham Clinton,
Chair 1986 – 1992
The Reverend William Howard J. Michael Solar
     
Maureen Cogan James Joseph,
Chair, 1993 – 1994
Susan Thomases
     
Leonard Coleman, Jr. Deborah Leff Thomas Troyer
     
Leslie Cornfeld, Esq. Marilyn Levitt Jason Tyler
     
Leslee Dart William Lynch, Jr.
(deceased)
Robert Vagt,
Chair, 2005 – 2008
     
John Deardourff
(deceased)
Charles Merrill, Jr. Suzanne Weil
     
James Forbes, Jr. Heidi Miller Abigail Wexner
     
James Forman, Jr. Eileen Norton Deborah Wright
     
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Leonard Riggio Pat Fallon
(deceased)
     
Laura Wasserman    
Join Our Team

Jobs at CDF

Employees of the Children's Defense Fund are dedicated to its mission to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. The work is meaningful, the people are great and your contributions will continue to help us to achieve our mission.

Learn more about positions currently available at CDF.

Internships at CDF

Our interns gain knowledge, skills and experience in the most critical public policy issues facing children and develop a unique insider's view of non-profit advocacy, all while helping to make a difference in the lives of children and youth.

Learn more about CDF's Internship program and how to apply.