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Top Rated

Children's Defense Fund

CharityWatch report issued
October 2020

Top-Rated Charity
CharityWatch Grade
Our independent grade based
on a number of factors.
Program Percentage
Amount spent on programs
relative to overhead.
Cost to Raise $100
Amount spent to raise
$100 of contributions.

Contact Information

Children's Defense Fund
840 First Street NE
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20002

Other Names


Tax Status


Stated Mission

To leave no child behind; 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.

View similar charities
Data based on Fiscal Year Ended 09/30/2019

Program Percentage: 80%

The percentage of Children's Defense Fund's cash budget it spends on programs relative to overhead (fundraising, management, and general expenses).


Calculated Total Expenses



Cost to Raise $100: $14

How many dollars Children's Defense Fund spends on fundraising to raise each $100 of contributions.


Calculated Total Contributions


Government Funding

0% to 24%

Percentage of cash revenue
coming from government sources


Financial Documents

Entity Document Type Tax ID
Children's Defense Fund IRS Form 990 52-0895622
Children's Defense Fund & Action Council Audited Consolidated Financial Statements Multiple
Entity: Children's Defense Fund
Document Type: IRS Form 990
Tax ID: 52-0895622
Entity: Children's Defense Fund & Action Council
Document Type: Audited Consolidated Financial Statements
Tax ID: Multiple

Governance & Transparency

CharityWatch evaluates certain criteria related to a charity's Governance and Transparency. Donors may want to consider a charity's willingness to be open and transparent with CharityWatch to be a good litmus test for determining its commitment to public accountability.
This charity is Top-Rated
What does it mean to be Top-Rated?
Children's Defense Fund
meets governance benchmarks.
Children's Defense Fund
meets transparency benchmarks.
Provides Financial Information
Audit Accessibility
Governance: Policies
Reports regularly & consistently monitoring & enforcing compliance with a written Conflict of Interest Policy
Reports required, annual disclosure by officers, directors, and key staff of interests that could give rise to conflicts
Reports having a written Whistleblower Policy
Reports having a written Document Retention and Destruction Policy
Governance: Financials
Reports providing copy of tax form to all board members prior to filing it with IRS
Reports that financial statements were audited by an independent accountant
Governance: Board of Directors
Reports at least 5 voting board members
51% or more of voting board members reported as independent
Reports documenting minutes of board and board committee meetings
Privacy Policy
Privacy Policy No Sharing  

  Name Title Compensation
1 Mark Publow Chief Development Officer $199,959
2 Naomi Street Executive Director $196,322
3 Kimberley Chin Deputy Director $166,242
Name: Mark Publow
Title: Chief Development Officer
Compensation: $199,959
Name: Naomi Street
Title: Executive Director
Compensation: $196,322
Name: Kimberley Chin
Title: Deputy Director
Compensation: $166,242

CharityWatch Analysts perform an in-depth analysis of charities' audited financial statements and IRS tax filings, and often review other documents such as state filings, annual reports, and fundraising contracts during their evaluations. Below are select notes that CharityWatch believes may be of interest to donors.

CharityWatch's rating of Children's Defense Fund (CDF) is for the 501(c)(3) public charity.

The rating does not include the related Children's Defense Fund Action Council, which is a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt, social welfare organization (tax ID #23-7042525), even though the Action Council is consolidated in the CDF audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2019. CharityWatch does not provide a separate rating for the Children's Defense Fund Action Council at this time due to its relative small size.

CharityWatch separates the ratings for 501(c)(3) & 501(c)(4) organizations, even when their financial activities are included together in a consolidated audit, due to their differing treatments under the IRS tax code. For more information on this topic, please see our sections on Types of Non-Profits, Tax Status, and Treatment of Related Organizations, which can be found on the Our Process page. Also see Sorting Out Nonprofit Pairs

According to the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) consolidated audit of September 30, 2019 (Note 1 re: Gifts-in-kind and Contributed services), CDF reports receiving "total gifts-in-kind" and "total contributed services" in fiscal 2019 on which it placed a value of $452,659 and $379,994, respectively, for a combined total of $832,653.

[Note: CharityWatch generally excludes the value of in-kind (non-cash) donations of goods and services from its calculations of Program % and Cost to Raise $100. More information on how grades are calculated and the treatment of in-kind donations can be found on the Our Process page.]

According to the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) consolidated audit of September 30, 2019 (Note 16, Related parties):

"The CDF Marlboro County Office in South Carolina leases office space, for the nominal rate of $1 per year, in a home that is owned by CDF's founder. CDF rents office space from the sibling of a member of management. The total rent expense related to this office space was $29,400 in 2019. Future minimum lease payments under their lease with this party, for the year ended September 30, 2019 total $7,350."

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