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-Ohio

Founded in 1981, Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio champions policies and programs that lift children out of poverty, protect them from abuse and neglect and ensure their access to appropriate and targeted health care, quality education and a moral and spiritual foundation. To support children and families in Ohio, CDF-Ohio works to improve healthcare access and health outcomes for children and their families, stop the push out of students from our schools due to zero tolerance school discipline practices, create a juvenile justice system that rehabilitates our youth and reduces recidivism, build a high quality and stable early childhood care and education system, and harness the statewide and national CDF youth and community networks to change the lives of Ohio’s children.   

CDF-OH Advisory Board
John P. Brody  Aisha Allen Sheryl McKenzie
 Director, Kegler Brown Hill+Ritter  Director of Change Management, Ohio Health  Vice President, Products and Capabilities, Alliance Data
Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. Amy Schultz Clubbs, Chair Michael J. Taylor
 Retired, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church  Regional Vice President, Molina Healthcare Inc.  Senior Vice President, West Territory Executive PNC Bank

CDF Board of Directors

Lan Bentsen, Co-Chair
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
Oakland, CA
Laphonza Butler
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
George Gresham
Marian Wright Edelman
Children's Defense Fund
Washington, DC
DD Eisenberg
Child Advocate
Coral Gables, FL
George Gresham
1199 SEIU
Bronx, NY
Clay Grubb
Grubb Properties, Inc.
Charlotte, NC
Ruth-Ann Huvane
Child Advocate
Los Angeles, CA
Deborah Jewell-Sherman
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

Wendy Puriefoy
Child Advocate
Boston, MA
Jurnee Smollett
Martin Rodgers
Managing Director
Washington, DC Metro
Office and Executive
Director of Accenture’s
Nonprofit Group
Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Los Angeles, CA
Bryan Stevenson, Esq.
Founder and Executive Director
Equal Justice Initiative
Montgomery, AL
Ali Wentworth
New York, NY
Reese Witherspoon
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.
Dorothy Height
Donna E. Shalala,
Chair, 1992 – 1993
Laura Chasin
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.
Robert Vagt,
Chair, 2005 – 2008
John Deardourff
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
Laura Wasserman Winifred Green
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 and the people are great and your contributions will continue to help us to achieve our mission. The Children’s Defense Fund offers a comprehensive package of health and wellness benefits to employees and their families to ensure personal and financial health and well-being, as well as to provide some protection from significant financial harm due to prolonged injury, illness or death. In addition to the health and wellness benefits we also offer employees a discount on personal computer purchases through the Dell Employee Purchase Program. We strive to provide all employees a variety of benefits that are meaningful to them.

Learn about all positions currently available at CDF.

Internships at CDF

Interns are a vital part of the Children's Defense Fund-Ohio team.

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, communications, and outreach, all while helping to make a difference in the lives of children and youth in Ohio.

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