About Us

For more than 15 years, CDF-Texas has been a leader for Texas children who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves.

We have connected more than one million Texas children to affordable health care coverage, helped Texas youth who Beat the Odds have the opportunity to attend college, and ensured that thousands of Texas school children, young adult leaders, and parents benefit from enriching out-of-school-time opportunities that stem the Cradle to Prison Pipeline.

We are committed to raising awareness about the challenges facing Texas children, connecting children and families to resources that help to meet their needs, and working with partners statewide to coordinate broad support for legislative action on behalf of Texas children and families.

Our Mission

Introduction to the
Children's Defense Fund-Texas

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.

Meet the Team
Texas Advisory Board

Lan Bentsen, Civic and Business Leader**
Co-Chair, CDF National Board of Directors
Past Chair, CDF-Texas Advisory Board
Houston
Mary Alice Cisneros, President, American Sunrise
San Antonio
Dr. Isabella C.M. Cunningham, Ernest A. Sharpe Centennial Professor in Communication, University of Texas
Austin
     
Theresa De La Haya, Sr. VP Community Health Program, University Health Systems
San Antonio
Susan Distefano, CEO, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital
Houston
Dr. Howard Epps, Asst. Chief of Orthopaedics, Texas Children's Hospital
Houston
     
Bishop Curtis J. Guillory, Catholic Diocese of Beaumont
Beaumont
BJ Herz, Child Advocate
Galveston
Glenda Kane, Council Member, Texas Dept of State Health Services
Corpus Christi
     
Kathryn M. Kase, Executive Director, Texas Defender Service
Houston
Charles Kight, President & CEO, Community First Health Plans
San Antonio
Melanie Lawson, News Anchor, KTRK13 (ABC affiliate)
Houston
     
Dr. Benjamin Raimer, Sr. VP Health Policy & Legislative Affairs, UT Medical Branch
Galveston
Yvette Ramos, Civic and Business Leader
McAllen
Regina Rogers, Attorney and Civic Leader
Beaumont
     
Charles "Chuck" D. Stokes, COO, Memorial Hermann Health Care System
Houston
J. Michael Treviño, Civic Leader and Consultant**
Houston
 
     

Emeritus Members

Dr. Ron Anderson (deceased)

George DeMontrond Linda Quick
Arthur Baird

Most Reverend Joseph Fiorenza Gail Revis (deceased)
Michael D. Burke

Dr. Ann Friedman Rebecca "Becky" M. Roberts
Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell

Soraya McClelland Dr. Peggy Smith
Sarah Palisi Chapin

Charles Miller J. Michael Solar**
** Past Chair    
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

CDF-Texas Employment Opportunities

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.

Current listings:

To apply and learn about employment opportunities at other Children's Defense Fund offices, please visit CDF's Career Center.

CDF-Texas Internship Opportunities

Interns are a vital part of the Children's Defense Fund - Texas team.

We offer year-round internships in Austin, Houston and McAllen. Some internships give preference to certain majors, but anyone with a strong interest in child advocacy is encouraged to apply. Our interns gain knowledge, skills, and experiences in the most critical issues facing children and develop a unique insider's view of non-profit child advocacy, public policy, communications and outreach, and development all while helping to make a difference in the lives of Texas children.

Learn more about available internships.