Children's Defense Fund Programs

For 30 years, Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota has worked closely with state and local child advocates, as well as state and national organizations serving children, to level the playing field for children in Minnesota through a variety of programs and initiatives.

Our programs build upon this long legacy of success by empowering communities and advocates to create the change our children urgently need.

Bridge to Benefits

Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota introduced the Bridge to Benefits (B2B) project in 2007 as a way to improve the economic stability of low-income families by helping them link to an array of public work support programs and tax credits. The project relies on a website that is a one-stop shop for finding out information on public programs and tax credits, along with tips on how to apply. The site also includes an online eligibility screening tool. By answering a few questions about household size and income, a family can find out if they may be eligible for any or all of the programs on the site.

Learn more about Bridge to Benefits

Economic Stability Indicator

The Economic Stability Indicator (ESI) was developed by Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota as a companion tool to Bridge to Benefits (B2B). The two projects share a similar goal of trying to improve the economic stability of low-income families through public program utilization. B2B does this by providing a screening tool for potential eligibility, while ESI does it by illustrating the gap that exists between low wages and a basic needs budget and how public programs and tax credits can be used to fill that gap. ESI can be used by policymakers and legislators to evaluate proposed legislative changes to programs to better understand the effect those changes can have on a family’s bottom line. The tool can also be used by families to better understand how wages and public programs can improve their pathway to self-sufficiency so they can make more informed decisions about public program enrollment and job choices.

Learn more about the Economic Stability Indicator

Voices and Choices for Children

In 2014, Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota embarked on a process to more meaningfully engage communities of color and American Indians—many of whom have traditionally been under-served by our existing early childhood education and child-development infrastructure. Working closely with Governor Dayton’s Children's Cabinet, state elected officials, state ethnic councils, early childhood funders and community-based organizations representing communities of color and American Indian communities, the Voices and Choices for Children Coalition focuses on developing strongly engaged cultural communities of learning as well as an organizing and advocacy pipeline for their access, input, and impact around shaping early childhood policies for children of color and American Indian children 0-8 years old throughout the state. The Voices and Choices for Children Coalition includes organizations, professionals and parents of color and American Indians engaged and working across early childhood sectors including government, philanthropy and non-profits.

For more information about this program, visit the program website or contact:

May Losloso, Senior Organizer, at (651) 855-1187 or
Minnesota KIDS COUNT

KIDS COUNT, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a national and state-by-state effort to track the status of children in the U.S. By providing policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being, KIDS COUNT seeks to enrich local, state, and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children.

Learn more about Minnesota KIDS COUNT.

Beat the Odds® Scholarship Program

The Beat the Odds® scholarship program honors outstanding high school students who have overcome tremendous adversity in life to achieve academic excellence, demonstrate leadership in their communities and aspire to attend college.

Learn more about the Beat the Odds program in Minnesota

Faith-Based Action Programs

For more than 20 years, the Children's Defense Fund has worked closely with national religious leaders and organizations, state and regional bodies, and local congregations, leaders, and lay people. Religious people and organizations—with millions of members, deep roots in communities across the country, a history of caring for children, and moral authority—are indispensable to building a successful Leave No Child Behind® movement.

Learn more about CDF's Faith-Based Action

Youth Development & Leadership

Policy in action is a distinguishing Children's Defense Fund characteristic. Through nationwide initiatives and community-based programs, we plant the seeds to develop the next generation of servant-leaders who will continue to reweave the fabric of community for children and youth. Our vision is to create a successor generation of servant-leaders who will drive community and national transformations and inspire and make long-term improvements for children.

Learn more about CDF's Youth Development and Leadership programs