Year in Review for America's Children | December 2015

The Children’s Defense Fund releases a groundbreaking report, Ending Child Poverty Now, with a road map for reducing child poverty by 60 percent, Black child poverty by 72 percent, and bettering the economic circumstances of 97 percent of all poor children. The report garners strong national and regional media attention including the New York Times and USA Today. CDF with coalition partners continues to spread the word throughout the year. We see progress for poor children and families at the national and state levels.


CDF President Marian Wright Edelman appears on The Tavis Smiley Show on PBS February 19 to discuss real solutions to child poverty in America — identified in CDF’s groundbreaking report, Ending Child Poverty Now. CDF-California, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Mississippi release companion briefs and reports throughout the year on state and region-specific solutions to lift children and families out of poverty.


Bryan Stevenson, CDF Board member, author of Just Mercy and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, participates in CDF-NY event to share insights about the implementation of critical reforms needed in the juvenile justice system. Although the NY State legislature set aside $25 million for Raise the Age reforms, the legislation ultimately fails to pass. In December New York Governor Cuomo announces his pardon for thousands of youth offenders convicted of nonviolent crimes. The New York Times editorial board urges the New York State legislature to Raise the Age,


Children win big from two-year campaign by CDF and coalition partners that won bipartisan support to extend funding for Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) for two years. Later in the year CDF-California with coalition partners successfully advocates for extending child health coverage to all California children regardless of immigration status—a big breakthrough!


The 2015 CDF-OH Beat the Odds® scholarship winners from across the state are honored in Columbus. The Ohio Dispatch highlights the struggles and triumphs of one scholar on the front page.

EOY_May_OH_BTO.jpg 2015 CDF-OH Beat the Odds scholarship winners
(From left to right: Britiny Lee, Walter Thompson, Alberto Jones, Ayriq Sims and Kaylyn Sigman)

 Later in the month, CDF President Marian Wright Edelman took the message of ending child poverty NOW to a full house of foundation leaders, business leaders and service providers at the City Club of Cleveland. The local PBS station carries it live and the Cleveland Plain Dealer features Marian Wright Edelman and our report.

EOY_May_MWE_CityClub.jpgWe can reduce child poverty by 60 percent now. Watch Marian Wright Edelman's powerful speech.

The CDF Freedom Schools® program celebrates its 20th anniversary with the annual national training of nearly 2,000 college students and others to deliver the empowering integrated reading curriculum to nearly 13,000 children in 28 states and the District of Columbia over the summer months. An extraordinary group of speakers come to CDF Haley Farm to inspire and affirm the powerful, important work of the CDF Freedom Schools program. Speakers include Marian Wright Edelman, legendary Civil Rights leaders Rev. C.T. Vivian, Bryan Stevenson and other thought leaders, university professors Dr. Terrell Strayhorn and Dr. Sean Joe, and La June Montgomery Tabron, President and CEO of The W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


More than 500 child advocates from 28 states and the District of Columbia come to the 21st annual Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry to be inspired, build skills and share success stories of progress in dismantling the Cradle to Prison Pipeline® crisis in their communities. Great preachers including the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. and Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III move and inspire participants as all recommit to end child poverty now in their communities.


CDF Freedom Schools® children rally across the country to help hungry children in their communities and to help spread the word about solutions in CDF's Ending Child Poverty Now report.


A new report, produced by the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative that is administered by the Children’s Defense Fund-Southern Regional Office, powerfully documents “Unequal Lives: The State of Black Women and Families in the Rural South," with startling new findings. The report provides pathways to lift children and women out of poverty with strategic funding and supports.

Unequal Lives Report Masthead

CDF celebrates the gains we and others made in getting closer to our goal of quality, affordable health coverage for every child in America when the new U.S. Census Bureau data reveal one million children gained health coverage in 2014. At the same time we renew our commitment to end child poverty when the new data show some progress in reducing child poverty except for Black children, the poorest group. Black child poverty increases by 10 percent. America must invest more in what works to lift children out of poverty now.

New 2014 Poverty Data Masthead

CDF-MN celebrates 30 years of progress for all of Minnesota’s children, including the 2015 CDF-MN Beat the Odds® scholarship winners and nearly 1,200 children who attended the CDF Freedom Schools® program in Minnesota this summer. We are proud that CDF-Minnesota piloted our first American Indian focused CDF Freedom Schools program in 2015. CDF plans to expand to serve more American Indian children in 2016.


To celebrate the 25th anniversary of our Beat the Odds® scholarship and leadership development program, the Children's Defense Fund honors five extraordinary high school seniors from the greater metropolitan area of Washington, D.C. at the Newseum. Award-winning actress and CDF Board member Jurnee Smollett-Bell and award-winning reporter Byron Pitts host the celebration of hundreds of youth overcoming great odds to succeed academically and give back to their communities.

EOY_November_DC BTO.jpg

(From left to right: Qiao Bridgette Chen, Taylor Gaskins, Shawna Harris-Lenoir, Marian Wright Edeleman, Anthony Johnson and Elijah Iqbal-Scott)

CDF Board member Katie McGrath with her husband JJ Abrams host the 2015 CDF-CA Beat the Odds® winners at a star-studded event earlier this month in Los Angeles. CDF President, Marian Wright Edelman made the news with her clarion call for common sense gun measures to protect children instead of guns in the wake of the San Bernardino massacre.

EOY_1_December_v1.jpgMarian Wright Edelman calls for common sense gun legislation to protect children.

EOY_December_CA_BTO.jpg2015 CDF-CA Beat the Odds Winners
(From left to right: Stephanie Gamino, Jaegeun David Cho, David Sanchez, Ni'Tasha Denson and Vincent Zamarripa)

We saw progress at the end of the legislative year for children and families with special provisions to support educational stability and educational success for children in foster care in the new education legislation, The Every Student Succeeds Act. Millions of poor children and their working families will also benefit from the permanent extension of the improvements in the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit that were included in the end of the year tax package.

#GiveHope to Children
Now is the time to make your tax-deductible donation to the Children’s Defense Fund and together we will make a difference in the lives of America’s most vulnerable children. We are grateful for your continued support. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do every day to fight for children left behind. Your help makes that possible!

Together, with your generous support, we can #GiveHope to our most vulnerable children. Your gift, no matter the amount, will help brighten a child’s future.

Thank you for your support and dedication to improving the lives of all children in America.

We hope that you will remember CDF, and all the children we serve, as 2015 comes to an end. Please share our message and mission with your networks. Encourage your family, friends and neighbors to support our work before year's end or join our mailing list.


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