Children's Defense Fund HQ

aka CDF   |   Washington, DC   |  www.childrensdefense.org

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.

Notes from the nonprofit

The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) fights every day for America's children and youth, especially for those who carry the burden of poverty and/or inequality. CDF's national office is located in Washington DC with state and regional offices including: California; Minnesota; Mississippi; New York; Ohio; South Carolina; Tennessee and Texas. With your help and support, CDF's program strategies include: Changing the Odds for America's Children - through public education and advocacy nationally and in local communities; Road to Freedom - through CDF's Freedom Schools we partner with community organizations and schools to engage children and youth to reach their learning potential and to develop a life-long skills for improving their communities; and Gen:Next - through leadership development and training of high school, college-age and post-college individuals to prepare to be tomorrow's advocates and social justice leaders.

Ruling year info

1969

President and CEO

Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson

Main address

840 First ST NE Suite 300

Washington, DC 20002 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Washington Research Project

EIN

52-0895622

NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) seeks to ensure that all of America's children have the opportunity to be healthy and achieve a successful transition to adulthood, with special attention to those children who experience extraordinary challenges due to poverty or inequality.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Freedom Schools

The CDF Freedom Schools® program seeks to build strong, literate, and empowered children prepared to make a difference in themselves, their families, communities, nation and world today. By providing summer and after-school reading enrichment for children who might otherwise not have access to books, the CDF Freedom Schools program plays a much needed role in helping to curb summer learning loss and close achievement gaps – and is a key part of CDF’s work to ensure a level playing field for all children. To date over 150,000 children have participated in Freedom Schools, and over 17,000 young adults have been trained as Servant Leader Interns. CDF Freedom Schools currently exist in 28 states.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Accreditations

Better Business Bureau / Give.org Compliance Accreditation 2018

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of students who receive scholarship funds and/or tuition assistance

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Each year, CDF provides college assistance and scholarships to high school students who have demonstrated resilience, academic excellence and a commitment to social change.

Number of youth who demonstrate civic participation skills (e.g., compromise, perspective-taking)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Freedom Schools

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Through CDF Freedom Schools children, youth and young adults are mobilized annually around a National Day of Social Action.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Children's Defense Fund champions policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education and a moral and spiritual foundation. Supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations, CDF advocates nationwide and through its network of state and regional offices on behalf of children to ensure children are always a priority.

CDF advocates for the best interests of children through rigorous research, public education, youth leadership development, and community-based programs in 30 states across the country. By providing scholarships, college preparation, and ongoing support, CDF helps high school students who have overcome obstacles and challenges in their lives. With Freedom Schools™, CDF focuses on reading enrichment, self-esteem and empowerment, and motivation for children to improve their educational performance, and to make a positive difference in their communities. Through independent research, CDF publishes reports which inform and provide evidence-based guidance to officials and policy leaders toward practices that will make a meaningful and lasting positive impact in the lives of each child.

The Children's Defense Fund is one of the oldest and most respected child advocacy organizations in the country. We are well known for developing programs that are evidenced-based and provide heavily evaluated outcomes for the children, youth and families served. CDF is a national organization with the capacity to work for children at the federal, state and community levels across the country; headquartered in Washington DC with offices in California, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

CDF reaches over 12,000 children and trains over 1,500 college-aged emerging leaders annually with its Freedom Schools program; on average 1.4 grade equivalent increase in reading skill is reported for students over the six week period. In policy, CDF has worked with nonprofit partners and community groups to bring the writing and passage of significant legislation, such as Child Welfare Service Improvement and Innovation Act, and has published numerous national and state reports, like “Ending Child Poverty Now," "The State of America's Children," and many others.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback,

Financials

Children's Defense Fund
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Children's Defense Fund

Board of directors
as of 11/6/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ms. Angela Glover Blackwell

Policy Link

Term: 2020 - 2023


Board co-chair

Ms. Ruth-Ann Huvane

Marian Edelman

Children's Defense Fund

Angela Blackwell, Esq.

Policy Link

Carol Biondi

Los Angeles County Commission for Children

Lan Bentsen

Shape Tomorrow

Malaak Compton-Rock

The AngelRock Project

Bryan Stevenson, Esq.

Equal Justice Initiative

George Gresham

1199 SEIU

Jurnee Smollett-Bell

Actress

Laphonza Butler

SCRB Strategies

Deborah Jewell-Sherman

Harvard University

Martin Rodgers

Accenture

Ruth-Ann Huvane

No affiliation

Ivanna Omeechevarria

No affiliation

DD Eisenberg

No affiliation

Deborah Cogut

No affiliation

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/06/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Male
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/06/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.