CDF Alumni Network

CDF Alumni Network2022-06-30T09:03:09-05:00
Welcome Home CDF Alumni Network

The CDF Alumni Network is an intentional community to advance our organizational strategy through dedicated programming and cross-functional activity. This group is the former staff, program participants, and volunteers of Children’s Defense Fund dedicated to deepening relationships to support efforts to advance our shared mission and values of child well-being.

CDF Alumni Network has three tenets:


Celebrating relationships and lived experience during your time at CDF and beyond


Intentional networking and strategic partnerships


Aligning efforts in emerging programming and policy work

Frequently asked questions:

Any former staff member who has been employed by CDF at any time, regardless of tenure, with good standing

Any former program participant (including but not limited to CDF Freedom Schools, CDF Beat the Odds Scholarship Program, YALT, Black Student Leadership Network, Black Community Crusade for Children, and more) who established a relationship with CDF through a program and remains in good standing

Any former volunteer who supported CDF programs and/or policy work and remains in good standing

This is a network for intentional fellowship, connection, and collaboration. Our intentions around when, why and how we come together are centered around the shared CDF mission and vision for child well-being.

Our commitment to the integration of power-building through leadership development and community organizing is to enhance CDF’s program strategy by integrating targeted organizing efforts like CDF alumni.  We understand that to equip the next generation of child advocates, we must collaborate with some of the best leaders this organization has known.

There are several ways to be involved as an alum:

  • Serve on an advisory council with our state offices, national office and/or the alumni network
  • Serve as mentor for current young participants
  • Financially support the CDF mission and vision
  • Consistently advocate and champion CDF programs in your community

There are ways to be involved even when you are busy.

  • Stay connected via social media [handle].
  • Join our emailing list.
  • Attend our annual meetings (virtually or in person).

CDF Alumni Convening

Join CDF for an Alumni Convening and Retreat August 12–14, 2022 at CDF Haley Farm

This gathering is the official launch of the CDF Alumni Network! We will gather for fellowship, connection, and collaboration as we connect with old friends, colleagues and other alums with shared values. We will celebrate alums doing exceptional work in the field of child advocacy as well as remember those who have passed on. Let’s come together to build a strong, sustainable movement for child well-being!

The convening will consist of moments of respite, listening sessions and panel discussions on child well-being PLUS a multitude of social activities! Scroll down to see event speakers and to register, and check back soon for updates on activities and the program schedule!

Register Now!

Featured Speakers

Dr. Melinda Abdullah


Dr. Melinda Abdullah

Melina Abdullah is Professor of Pan-African Studies at Cal State LA, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, Director of Black Lives Matter Grassroots, a leader in the California Faculty Association (the faculty union), and mama of three children. Dr. Abdullah earned her Ph.D. from the USC in Political Science and her B.A. from Howard University in African American Studies. Dr. Abdullah has authored numerous articles and book chapters, is the creator, host, and producer of the radio programs Move the Crowd on KPFK 90.7 FM and This Is Not a Drill! on KBLA Talk 1580, and is a recognized expert on race, gender, class, and social movements.

Shaquite Pegues

Shaquite Pegues
Director of Ella Baker Leadership Development,
Children’s Defense Fund

Shaquite Pegues is the Director of Ella Baker Leadership Development for the CDF Freedom Schools program. She’s served in this capacity since 2008. Pegues is a true product of the CDF Freedom Schools program, having participated as a scholar for many years in Bennettsville, SC, and matriculated through the program’s servant leadership positions, including Jr. Servant Leader Intern, Servant Leader Intern, Site Coordinator, Project Director, and Executive Director.

Pegues is a native of Bennettsville, SC, and serves the local community in many ways. She oversees the local CDF summer and after school programs. She also serves as president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Upsilon Sigma Omega Chapter, Southeast Region delegate for the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College, executive committeewoman for the Marlboro County Democratic Party, and S.C.A.L.E. leadership fellow – Furman University.

Pegues obtained her bachelor’s degree from Spelman College and her master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University. She has received several awards and recognitions over the years, but none greater than the honor of working with the Children’s Defense Fund to level the playing field for children.

Dr. Starsky Wilson

Dr. Starsky Wilson
President and CEO,
Children’s Defense Fund

Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson is president & CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) and CDF Action Council. CDF envisions a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive. Wilson is board chair for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) and the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE).

From 2011 through 2020, Rev. Wilson was president & CEO of Deaconess Foundation, a faith-based philanthropy for child well-being and racial justice in St. Louis. From 2008 through 2018, Dr. Wilson also pastored Saint John’s Church (The Beloved Community), a multiracial congregation in the city.  Under his leadership, the foundation constructed and established the Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being, a community action tank engaging thousands of citizens annually. After the police killing of Michael Brown, Jr., the church hosted the #BlackLivesMatter Freedom Ride to and other mobilizations.

Wilson was appointed co-chair of the Ferguson Commission, which released the ‘Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity’ Report, calling for sweeping changes in policing, the courts, child well-being and economic mobility in 2015. He currently serves boards for Duke Divinity School, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dr. Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Xavier University of Louisiana, Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary, and the Doctor of Ministry from Duke University. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Starsky is married to Dr. LaToya Smith Wilson, a dentist and child advocate. They are raising four children.

Register Now!