Children’s Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman to Step Down
Marian Wright Edelman is transitioning from President of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) into the new role of President Emerita in the Office of the Founder. In her new role, she will focus on building a lasting movement for children to end child poverty and inequality through leadership development at key spiritual retreats and convenings. Wright Edelman founded CDF 45 years ago. Wright Edelman, a graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, began her mission in the mid-60s when, as the first Black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, MS. In 1968, she moved to DC to serve as Counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. CDF evolved from the Washington Research Project, which Wright Edelman began in 1968, to prepare for and coordinate the policy positions of the Poor People's Campaign. "I will shift away from the day-to-day responsibilities of running a leading, national organization, and in my new role, I will focus all my energies towards building a movement to end child poverty and inequality," said Wright Edelman. "I am proud of CDF's groundbreaking work over the past 45 years and the significant progress we have made for children and families—but there is still so much work to be done. ... I look forward to supporting the Board's search for a new President to lead CDF into its next chapter; someone who is committed to taking on the challenges children face today and those that will emerge in the future." Read her letter about the decision here.