news from the executive office

End of an Era

Marian Wright Edelman is a world-renowned leader in advocacy when it comes to children who need someone to speak out for them. For over 30 years she has been one of my role models. It was with bittersweet feelings that I read this Children’s Defense Fund press release.

Marian Wright Edelman Transitions from President of the Children’s Defense Fund
Wright Edelman will continue critical work to end child poverty and inequality 

Washington, D.C. – Marian Wright Edelman, a lifelong advocate for children, the poor and civil rights, will transition from President of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) into the new role of President Emerita in the Office of the Founder, CDF Board of Directors Co-Chairs Angela Glover Blackwell and Lan Bentsen announced today. In this new role she will focus her energies towards building a lasting movement for children to end child poverty and inequality through servant leadership development at key spiritual retreats and convenings at CDF’s Haley Farm.

“Our mission to Leave No Child Behind® and ensure that every child has a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage into adulthood has never been more important than it is today during these perilous times for children and for our nation. I will shift away from the day-to-day responsibilities of running a leading, national organization, and in my new role, I will focus all my energies towards building a movement to end child poverty and inequality,” said Wright Edelman. “I am proud of CDF’s groundbreaking work over the past 45 years and the significant progress we have made for children and families—but there is still so much work to be done. I look forward to supporting the Board’s search for a new President to lead CDF into its next chapter; someone who is committed to taking on the challenges children face today and those that will emerge in the future.”

Wright Edelman will continue to guide CDF, the organization she founded 45 years ago. CDF will continue to provide a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves, paying particular attention to the needs of poor children, children of color and those with disabilities. CDF evolved from the Washington Research Project, which Wright Edelman began in 1968, to prepare for and coordinate the policy positions of the Poor People’s Campaign.

“This organization would simply not be, were it not for Marian Wright Edelman, and it would not have created the framework of federal and state laws that now protect children and families had she not led us every day for the last 45 years,” said Angela Glover Blackwell, Co-Chair of the CDF Board of Directors. “All we are and all we do starts with her, and that is a tremendous legacy, but she is not done yet and we, thankfully, are not yet done receiving the benefit of her wisdom and leadership.”

Read more here and watch the video.