Kids Impact Initiative was founded in 2017 by Wendy Lazarus and Laurie Lipper. They have worked together in three organizations and for more than 30 years forging advocacy strategies for children that blend research and policy development with communications narratives and strategies. This blend has enabled them to identify emerging issues and be effective in a variety of advocacy environments, leading to significant advances in policies and practices that benefit children.
Together, they have also mapped altogether new areas affecting children, such as the advent of technology, and defined an actionable agenda for children in important but uncharted areas. Ms. Lipper and Ms. Lazarus have also worked to create positive and productive workplace cultures and to recruit and mentor advocates new to the field.
Wendy Lazarus, Co-Founder
Wendy Lazarus is Co-Founder of Kids Impact Initiative, a nonprofit started in 2017 to improve the lives of the nation’s 74 million children. As a leading child advocate and strategist for more than 40 years, she created Kids Impact to increase the efficacy of the child advocacy field as a whole. Kids Impact analyzes advocacy trends and lessons across a broad range of issues, advancing new ways to support effective efforts already underway and strengthen accountability and advocacy for children.
In addition, Ms. Lazarus is a Senior Fellow at UCLA’s Center for Healthier Children, Families, and Communities, advising and serving as a policy and advocacy consultant to Futures Without Violence.
Prior to starting Kids Impact, Ms. Lazarus founded The Children’s Partnership in 1993 and served as Co-President until 2015, when she co-led a successful transition to new leadership. The Children’s Partnership is a national, nonprofit organization founded to advance the interests of America’s children and families—especially those at risk of being left behind. Ms. Lazarus now serves the organization as a Senior Advisor. Read more…
Laurie Lipper, Co-Founder
Laurie Lipper is Co-Founder of Kids Impact Initiative, a nonprofit started in 2017 to improve the lives of the nation’s 74 million children. After more than three decades as an advocacy organization executive, Ms. Lipper created Kids Impact to increase the efficacy of the child advocacy field as a whole. Kids Impact analyzes advocacy trends and lessons across a broad range of issues, advancing new ways to support effective efforts already underway and strengthen accountability and advocacy for children.
In 1993, Ms. Lipper founded and then served until 2015 as Co-President of The Children’s Partnership, a national, nonprofit organization that advocates for the interests of America’s children and families—especially those at risk of being left behind. Its primary mission is to ensure that all children have the resources and the opportunities they need to grow up healthy and to lead productive lives.
Her work at The Children’s Partnership has been recognized for its leadership and foresight, especially in the area of children and digital media. She co-authored the first comprehensive report on how digital society impacts children in 1994, followed by co-authoring an award-winning, first-of-its-kind parenting resource for the information age. In the following years, she co-authored multiple publications about children and the digital society, led the development of the first website focused on creating content for low-income Americans, and managed multiple successful advocacy campaigns. Read more…
Lauren Asher, Principal, LJA Strategies
Lauren Asher is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader, policy expert, and strategic advocate. At LJA Strategies, she partners with foundations and nonprofits striving to improve the lives of low-income students and working families. Focused on lowering barriers to equity and opportunity, her experience spans the nonprofit, philanthropic, and public sectors and education, labor, and health care issues. As president of The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) and co-founder of its Project on Student Debt, she led a high-impact research and policy nonprofit devoted to strengthening college affordability, accountability, and outcomes—nationally and in California.
Lauren previously served in senior positions at the Kaiser Family Foundation, National Partnership for Women & Families, and U.S. Department of Labor after starting her nonprofit career in California at Children Now. Lauren holds an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a BA from Brown University. Find Lauren on LinkedIn.
Yolie Flores, National Campaign Director for Parent Nation
Yolie Flores is the National Campaign Director for Parent Nation, an initiative of the TMW Center at The University of Chicago. Parent Nation is a platform for change, a national mobilization effort of parents uniting to create demand for a society that better supports parents in raising healthy, successful children. Most recently, Yolie served as Chief Learning Officer at the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR), directing learning and engagement efforts for a network of 300+ local coalitions across 45 states, each of whom is leading efforts to advance early literacy and third-grade reading proficiency for children from low-income families.
In this role Yolie also managed CGLR’s Successful Parents portfolio and strategic partnerships with organizations equipping and supporting parents and with organizations leading innovative and evidence-based efforts in the early learning space. Throughout her career, Yolie has served in leadership roles for local and national nonprofits, local government, and schools in the fields of early childhood, K-12 education, and health and human services. From 2007-2011 Yolie served as an elected member and Vice President of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Board of Education, and she was a candidate for congress in 2017. Yolie lives and plays with her dog Molly in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park. Find Yolie on LinkedIn or connect via email.
Linda Fowells, independent consultant, coach, and thought partner
Linda works with individual leaders, community and civic organizations, and multi-organizational efforts to strengthen their leadership, effectiveness, sustainability, and impact. Linda brings unique cross-sectoral experience to her role, having worked in nonprofit, corporate, and government settings. With extensive expertise in strategy, organizational capacity, leadership development, networks, and public policy, she has provided counsel to a broad range of organizations and collaboratives of varying sizes and stages of growth. Linda has guest taught at several colleges and graduate schools. She also writes and speaks publicly on topics such as networks, civic engagement, and organizational effectiveness.
Linda was previously executive vice president of Community Partners, where she played a key role in setting the strategic direction and generating opportunities for the organization. Linda is also a Leap Ambassador, a member of a community of nonprofit, philanthropic, and public-sector thought leaders who are committed to high performance. Linda has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School, and a BA from Pomona College. Find Linda on LinkedIn.
Ruth Holton-Hodson, recently retired
Ruth spent her thirty-five year career as a health and consumer advocate in government, philanthropic, and nonprofit sectors. She was formerly the Deputy Treasurer for Health and Consumer Policy for State Treasurer John Chiang, where she represented the treasurer on the CalPERS Board. She also developed and led the outreach and stakeholder engagement efforts for California’s new retirement program for private sector workers, CalSavers. Prior to that, she served for six years as the Deputy Controller for Health and Consumer Policy where she partnered with labor and management to develop a state employee worksite wellness program, Healthier U.
She spent almost ten years working for The California Wellness Foundation as a Special Projects Director and then Director of Public Policy where she focused on increasing access to health care in low-income communities and educating the philanthropic sector about public policy grantmaking. She was the advocate and then Executive Director for California Common Cause where she ran two successful statewide initiative campaigns on campaign finance and ethics reforms. She began her public policy career as a lobbyist for the California Children’s Lobby. She has a master’s in educational administration from The University of Chicago. Find Ruth on LinkedIn.
Dr. Raphael Sonenshein, Executive Director, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs
Dr. Raphael J. Sonenshein is the Executive Director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at CSU Los Angeles. Previously, he was Chair of the Division of Politics, Administration, and Justice at CSU Fullerton. He received his BA from Princeton and his M.A. and PhD from Yale. He is the author of three books on Los Angeles politics and government. Dr. Sonenshein served as Executive Director of the Los Angeles (Appointed) Charter Reform Commission. He served as Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Review Commission.
He was Best Educator and Distinguished College Faculty Member at CSUF. He received a Wang Family Excellence Award. He was the first winner of the campus-wide Carol Barnes Award for Teaching Excellence and one of two co-winners of the Haynes Foundation Research Impact Award. He was the fall 2008 Fulbright Tocqueville Distinguished Chair in American Studies at the University of Paris.
Kids Impact’s work is supported by grants and contributions from the following:
Blue Shield of California Foundation
David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Karen Nabavi, Consultant
Ilana Ross, Consultant
Carrie Spencer, Consultant
Kids Impact Initiative is a project of Community Partners, a nonprofit public charity exempt from Federal income tax under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.