Team

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.

Co-Founders

Wendy Lazarus, Co-Founder

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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

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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…

Advisors

Lauren J. Asher, independent consultant and former president, The Institute for College Access & Success
Lauren Asher is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader, policy expert, and strategic advocate for low-income students and families. Focused on lowering barriers to equity and opportunity, her experience spans the nonprofit, philanthropic, and public sectors and multiple issue areas. She is the former president of The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), a high-impact research and policy nonprofit that works to improve student aid and outcomes, nationally and in California. Asher 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. As a consultant, she works with foundations and nonprofits striving to improve the lives of children, youth, and working families. Asher holds an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a BA from Brown University.

Yolie Flores, Chief Program Officer, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
Yolie is Chief Program Officer for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR), a collaborative effort of foundations, nonprofit partners, states, and communities across the nation to ensure that more children from low-income families achieve early school success. Yolie is a member of the senior leadership team, leads the work on School Readiness, and manages the Successful Parents Initiatives. Yolie also supports over 360 CGLR communities in their efforts to ensure that more children are reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

From 2010 to 2012, Yolie served as President & CEO of Communities for Teaching Excellence, a national education advocacy organization working to ensure effective teaching for every student, in every classroom, every year. A key focus was on equipping parents and community leaders with the tools, information, and resources to advocate for quality teaching.

Yolie was elected to the LAUSD Board of Education in 2007 and served for three years as Vice President of the Board. During her four-year tenure, Yolie ushered groundbreaking reform policies, including Parents as Equal Partners in the Education of Their Children, Public School Choice, and Quality Leadership and Teaching. She also led on issues of early learning, bilingual education, and world languages.

Prior to LAUSD, Yolie served for eight years as the CEO of the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council, the nation’s largest children’s partnership network dedicated to improving the lives of children across five outcomes of child well-being through systems change and community engagement. During her tenure, Yolie helped develop the county’s Safe Surrender policy and launched Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors—a nationally recognized parent leadership program for Latino parents with children 0-5 years’ old. Early in her career, Yolie created and directed DWP Family Care, a work/family program for employees of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest utility company in the nation.

Over her twenty-five year career, Yolie has held several leadership roles in the nonprofit, local government, and philanthropic sectors in the areas of work/family programming, community engagement, parent engagement and parent leadership, early childhood, and K-12 education. She is a member of the board of the Education Trust, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, Coro Southern California, and Great Public Schools Now.

Yolie earned her master’s in social welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles and has twice been name social worker of the year in her region.

Linda Fowells, Executive Vice President, Community Partners
Linda Fowells, Executive Vice President, ensures that Community Partners builds the capacity, effectiveness, and sustainability of community leaders, organizations, and multi-organizational efforts across California. She has provided training and counsel to a broad range of network, collaborative, and organizational efforts from inception to more mature stages in their life cycles. Linda brings unique cross-sectoral experience, having worked in corporate, government and nonprofit settings. Her experience spans the fields of organizational capacity, leadership development, strategy, public policy, program development and planning, financial oversight, and resource development. Drawing on this background, she is frequently called upon to consult to non- and for-profit organizations, foundations, and multi-organizational networks. In addition, she writes and speaks publicly on civic engagement and organizational effectiveness. Over the years, Linda has served on many local and national boards and advisory committees, most often for efforts addressing community technology, the arts, and youth. She has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School and a BA from Pomona College.

Ruth Holton-Hodson, Deputy Treasurer for Health and Consumer Policy for State Treasurer John Chiang
Ruth Holton-Hodson has spent her thirty-year career as a consumer advocate in government, philanthropic, and nonprofit sectors. She is the Deputy Treasurer for Health and Consumer Policy for State Treasurer John Chiang, where she Chairs the CA Health Facilities Financing Authority and represents the Treasurer on the CalPERS Board. She is also leading the outreach and stakeholder engagement efforts for California’s new retirement program for private sector workers, CalSavers. Prior to that, she served for 6 years as the Deputy Controller for Health and Consumer Policy. She spent almost 10 years working for The California Wellness Foundation as a Special Projects Director and then Director of Public Policy 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.

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.

Supporters

Kids Impact’s work is supported by grants and contributions from the following:

Blue Shield of California Foundation
David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Individual Donors

Team members

Ali Nabavi, Consultant
Karen Nabavi, Consultant
Ilana Ross, Consultant

Community Partners

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.