Child Health

Children’s Defense Fund receives $20 Million From MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett

For Immediate Release
Contact: Beki San Martin,, 301-755-7110

Historic gift will advance child well-being and racial justice through the nation’s leading child advocacy organization

Advocacy for America’s children just received a boost in the form of a $20 million investment in the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) from MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett. The unrestricted gift is the largest single contribution in CDF’s history. It makes the philanthropists the second most generous investors in the mission over its forty-eight years of service, advocacy and organizing for child well-being.

“We are grateful for Ms. Scott and Mr. Jewett’s belief in our vision of a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive,” noted the Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, CDF’s President and CEO. Beyond acknowledging her generosity, Wilson, who is board chair for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, praised Scott’s philanthropic approach. “Unrestricted giving accelerates social action by trusting communities impacted by our challenges and lending flexibility to the organizations working hard to resolve them.”

Children’s Defense Fund is the first national, multi-issue child advocacy organization to receive a contribution from MacKenzie Scott as part of the fulfillment of her Giving Pledge. The gift meets CDF at a strategic inflection point. After a leadership transition from iconic founder and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Marian Wright Edelman last year, the organization is building on its legacy by pursuing bold policy goals, including advocating for making pandemic relief for children and families permanent.

“We are focused on growing the movement for child-centered, equity-informed public policy by listening to children and youth,” affirmed Sheri Brady, CDF’s Vice President for Strategy and Program. “This investment will help strengthen public policy and community organizing at state and national levels through efforts like our signature CDF Freedom Schools® serving children in sixty-eight cities this summer.

Children’s Defense Fund will use the funds from this gift to invest in both strategy and sustainability. It sets the public stage for multi-year campaigns leading up to CDF’s 50th Anniversary in 2023.

To interview Dr. Wilson, please contact Beki San Martin,, 301-755-7110.


The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for nearly 50 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. We champion policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education and a moral and spiritual foundation. Supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations, CDF advocates nationwide on behalf of children to ensure children are always a priority.