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 Dr. Daniel J. Curran Sheryl McKenzie
 Director, Kegler Brown Hill+Ritter  President Emeritus, University of Dayton  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
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
     
 
George Gresham
Marian Wright Edelman
President
Children's Defense Fund
Washington, DC
DD Eisenberg
Child Advocate
Coral Gables, FL
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

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
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 Winifred Green
(deceased)
 
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

About 70 undergraduate, graduate and recent graduates intern in the CDF Washington, D.C. office each year and while a few of the internships give preference to certain majors everyone with a strong interest in child advocacy is encouraged to apply. CDF interns gain knowledge, skills, and experience for a lifetime commitment as a child advocate and public policy leader. They also get an insider's view of non-profit advocacy.

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