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The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) is an American 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that focuses on child advocacy and research. It was founded in 1973 by Marian Wright Edelman.[1]

Children's Defense Fund
Founded 1973
Founder Marian Wright Edelman
Type Nonprofit
Location
Key people
Marian Wright Edelman, President
Revenue
Increase $21,338,231 (2013)[1]
Expenses Increase $22,048,162 (2013)[1]
Slogan Leading our nation since 1973 to ensure a level playing field for all children
Website http://www.childrensdefense.org/

The organization's stated purpose 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."[1][2]

HistoryEdit

The CDF was founded in 1973, citing inspiration from the Civil Rights Movement, with the goal of improving federal policies concerning child welfare and public education systems.[3][4]

CDF is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has offices in several states around the country: California, Minnesota, New York, Louisiana, Ohio, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. CDF programs operate in 24 states and the National Outreach staff also works on the ground and with partners in all 50 states.[citation needed]

ActivitiesEdit

Since its founding, the CDF has lobbied for passing legislation related to its goals including the Education for All Handicapped Children Act[3] in 1975 (now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act in 1980. Its legislative interests have also included Head Start, Medicaid, and the Child Income Tax Credit.[3]

The CDF has run several public awareness campaigns, including the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign in 1986[5] and the gun violence prevention campaign.

The CDF's programs include a modern Freedom Schools program launched in 1993 for child enrichment through reading,[6][7] a Beat the Odds program launched in 1990 that hosts awareness events and awards partial college scholarships,[4][8] and a Youth Advocacy Leadership Training fund.[citation needed]

In recent years, CDF funds have gone towards free tax preparation assistance to low-income families[9] and the generation of numerous child advocacy reports. These reports range in topic, from minority incarceration rates (and the school to prison pipeline) to gun safety concerning children.[10][10][11]

In 2008, the CDF was among the charities receiving donations from the "Idol Gives Back" televised fundraising event.[12]

Numerous notable individuals have been actively involved with the charity. Reese Witherspoon currently serves on the Board of Directors.[13] J.J. Abrams has funded Freedom Schools in the past.[4]

External linksEdit