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

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
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
Oakland, CA
Laphonza Butler
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
Children's Defense Fund
Washington, DC
DD Eisenberg
Child Advocate
Coral Gables, FL
George Gresham
1199 SEIU
Bronx, NY
Clay Grubb
Grubb Properties, Inc.
Charlotte, NC
Ruth-Ann Huvane
Child Advocate
Los Angeles, CA
Deborah Jewell-Sherman
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
Los Angeles, CA
Bryan Stevenson, Esq.
Founder and Executive Director
Equal Justice Initiative
Montgomery, AL
Ali Wentworth
New York, NY
Reese Witherspoon
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.
Dorothy Height
Donna E. Shalala,
Chair, 1992 – 1993
Laura Chasin
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.
Robert Vagt,
Chair, 2005 – 2008
John Deardourff
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
Laura Wasserman Winifred Green
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.