Life of Hope awards presented to Marian Wright Edelman, MaryLee Allen

Casey Family Programs is pleased to announce the recipients of its Life of Hope Awards. These awards, presented at a dinner May 15 in Washington, D.C., recognize individuals for an enduring commitment to ensuring the safety and success of children, families and the communities where they live.

“We are honored to recognize these outstanding individuals and their lifelong dedication to children and families,” said David C. Mills, chair of the Board of Trustees of Casey Family Programs. “Their work exemplifies what is possible when we join together to build Communities of Hope.”

Life of Hope Award Winners

MaryLee Allen

Washington, D.C.

MaryLee Allen, director of policy at the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), has spent decades at CDF working to keep children safe at home with their families and out of the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. She uses data and effective program and policy approaches that work on the ground to help make the case for promoting positive federal administrative and legislative reforms for children. She has a unique understanding of the importance of focusing on the whole child and the child’s multiple needs.  Ms. Allen has authored and co-authored many reports and publications throughout her years at CDF. She co-chairs the National Child Welfare and Mental Health Coalition and works closely with advocates and service providers across the country. She serves on the Board of Directors of Generations United and has served on many other boards, task forces and advisory committees. In 2017, she was the recipient of the inaugural Child Welfare Leadership Prize from the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia.

Marian Wright Edelman

Washington, D.C.

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president emerita of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), has devoted her life to advocating for those disadvantaged in America. Under her leadership, CDF has become one of the nation’s strongest voices for children and families. CDF’s Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a healthy start, a head start, a fair start, a safe start and a moral start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. Mrs. Edelman graduated from Yale Law School and was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar. She directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi, and in 1968 she moved to Washington, D.C., to serve as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. She founded CDF in 1973. Mrs. Edelman has received more than 100 honorary degrees and many awards, including in 2000 the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her many writings on children and social change.