New Children’s Defense Fund National Executive Director

Dear CDF Friends and Supporters:

I am very pleased to announce that Richard Hooks Wayman will be joining CDF as National Executive Director September 6th. Richard brings more than 20 years of effective policy advocacy and program implementation experience for vulnerable children and youths particularly homelessness, housing assistance and behavioral health services. He also has a compelling personal commitment to the children and youths CDF serves having fostered and adopted a large family over the years. He is very smart, collaborative, and thoughtful and has a positive energy and attitude I believe will support our collective efforts to position CDF for even greater effective impact and sustainable growth into the future. 

To continue to strengthen our independent and strong voice for America’s most vulnerable children, CDF must have operational capacity and smart management; especially given the changing landscape of technology, social media, and our nation’s precarious political culture. In the past few years, we have shaped a leadership team to respond to these challenges for the next generation of children. Our senior leadership team includes our national Policy Director, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Development Officer, National Director of State Offices and Field Operations, and Vice President of Communications and Outreach. Richard will complete this process and bring executive oversight to help align our federal and state work to ensure our nation especially our next Administration does not forget the needs of children mired in deep poverty and marginalization. Richard comes to us from LUK, Inc., where as Chief Executive Officer he led operations and provided the strategic vision for this multi-faceted social service agency offering foster care, residential care, behavioral health treatment, mentorship, public health prevention programming and housing assistance to homeless youth in Central Massachusetts.  Previously he served as Executive Director for Hearth Connection, Minnesota’s largest statewide nonprofit collaborative network of supportive housing for 1,300 homeless families, adults and youth. Earlier experiences include Senior Youth Policy Analyst for the National Alliance to End Homelessness in Washington, D.C., Public Policy Campaign Director for the Minnesota Youth Service Association, and Collaborative Director for StreetWorks Collaborative. He began his professional career as a litigator at the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis after graduating with high distinction from the University of Iowa and its College of Law.

“I am humbled and honored to be given a chance to work side-by-side with the Children’s Defense Fund President and Founder, Marian Wright Edelman and her Leadership team in Washington, D.C.,” said Richard Hooks Wayman. “In my heart, I have always been a child advocate. The opportunity to support CDF’s national policy and social justice movement building work, to ensure all American children have a healthy start, a head start, a fair start, a safe start and a moral start in life, is an incredible opportunity. Simply put, this is the chance of a lifetime.”

I look forward to introducing you to Richard as we continue our work to Leave No Child Behind®.

With gratitude and hope,

Marian Wright Edelman