Children’s Defense Fund Among "Idol Gives Back" Beneficiaries

March 19, 2008
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Casey Aden-Wansbury



WASHINGTON, DC — FOX announced that the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) will be among the select nonprofit organizations featured on "Idol Gives Back," a special broadcast of "American Idol" that will air Wednesday, April 9.(7:30-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

"Idol Gives Back" seeks to raise awareness and funds for domestic and international organizations that help children and young people, especially those living in poverty in America and around the world. Academy Award® winning actress and CDF Board Member Reese Witherspoon will highlight CDF's work for children during the April 9 broadcast.

"The Children's Defense Fund is thrilled to be chosen as a recipient of FOX's 2008 'Idol Gives Back' and grateful to FOX and our longtime friend and Board Member Reese Witherspoon for showing the millions of American Idol viewers nationwide that every step we take to improve the lives of children improves the lives of all of us," said CDF President Marian Wright Edelman. "As CDF turns 35 this year we could not ask for a better birthday gift. Every 35 seconds a baby in the U.S. is born into poverty. The numbers are staggering, and this partnership with American Idol offers us the opportunity to share with the world the need to help change the lives of millions of children who deserve a better start in life."

In addition to the Children's Defense Fund, "Idol Gives Back" will raise funds for the Children's Health Fund, The Global Fund, Make It Right, Malaria No More and Save the Children.

For 35 years, CDF has worked relentlessly to ensure a level playing field for all children by lifting them out of poverty, protecting them from abuse and neglect, and ensuring access to health care, quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation to help them succeed with the help of caring adults and communities. Begun in 1973, CDF is a private, nonprofit organization supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations and does not take government funds.

Ms. Witherspoon first learned of CDF while reading Mrs. Edelman's book, The Measure of Our Success during a road trip from Nashville to Stanford University. She later reread the book, decided she wanted to join CDF's work and called the Children's Defense Fund to get involved. Since then Ms. Witherspoon has regularly participated in voluntary fund-raising events and contributed financially, including donating all of the proceeds from the Legally Blonde Barbie® Dolls. She has met each year with all of the Beat the Odds® scholarship winners in California. Ms. Witherspoon has served on CDF's Board since 2006 and was instrumental in organizing a CDF-sponsored visit to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to reach out to the children traumatized by the storm and help them receive the physical and mental support needed to heal.

The brainchild of Simon Fuller, "Idol Gives Back" has been recognized as a life-changing program, earning praise from many of the world's best known figures including President George W. Bush, HRH Prince Charles and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Last season, "Idol Gives Back" garnered a prestigious Governor's Award Emmy and raised more than $76 million for charity. The star-studded special featured performances from the "American Idol" stage, where Ryan Seacrest hosted alongside judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell.

For more information about the Children's Defense Fund, visit