Have a Heart for Kids Day 2020

2019 Florette Angel Memorial Child Advocacy Award Presented to Paola Maranan

Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019

ARLINGTON—The Partnership for America’s Children presented the 2019 Florette Angel Memorial Child Advocacy Award to Paola Maranan, Executive Director of Children’s Alliance, this evening. The presentation took place in Arlington, Virginia, at the Partnership’s annual retreat.

The award is named for West Virginia child advocate Florette Angel, who grew up in racially polarized Mississippi in the 1940s. It is given to the executive director of a Partnership for America’s Children member organization who has:

  • demonstrated exemplary leadership in child advocacy as a representative for the interests of children and their families across a number of policy issues;
  • successfully advocated for public policies and investments that help improve the lives of children and families, with a particular focus on children living in poverty and their families;
  • played a critical role in articulating and championing the needs of children and defending their interests in the political process, even when those positions may not have been popular;
  • advanced the growth and credibility of multi-issue child advocacy as a profession.

“It’s an incredible honor to be recognized before my peers from all across the country,” said Maranan. “I’ve learned so much from them. Together, we have worked to develop and deploy the tools of democracy that can change kids’ lives.”

The Florette Angel Award is given to exceptional child advocates by their peers—the people who truly understand what it takes to do this work and to do it well. Nominations are submitted by members of the Partnership network, and the winners are chosen by a judging panel of current or former leaders of Partnership member organizations, who are also past recipients of the award.

Since she first joined Children’s Alliance, in 1993, Maranan has helped sharpen the organization’s focus on the racial disparities that diminish opportunity for Washington’s kids. Her efforts have strengthened the will of public officials, policy advocates, and community leaders to take positive steps for racial justice in child well-being.

Maranan has served as a mentor and leader to guide Children’s Alliance staff as they deepen their expertise in promoting policy solutions that further racial equity. She helped create two signature events that lift the voices of those most directly impacted by injustice: Advocacy Camp, a three-day immersion in community-based leadership training, and Have a Heart for Kids Day, a march and rally drawing hundreds of advocates to the Washington state capitol.

During her tenure, the organization has shaped the state legislature’s historic, bipartisan Early Start Act of 2015, to create quality early learning opportunities for all children, especially those furthest from opportunity. In 2017, she guided the organization as state lawmakers consolidated several disparate state programs into a single, cabinet-level Department of Children, Youth, and Families. Recognizing a singular opportunity for more concerted state action to address disparities, Children’s Alliance succeeded in infusing the new department with a mission-level commitment to equity and healthy development for all kids. And faced with new threats at the federal level following the 2016 elections, Maranan has engaged Children’s Alliance supporters in mustering a critical response to the current administration’s attacks on immigrant children and families.

Maranan served on the national KIDS COUNT Steering Committee for the Annie E. Casey Foundation and has been a longtime member of the Partnership for America’s Children: two roles that have allowed her to make some of her proudest contributions, leading and learning alongside her peers across the country as they develop their approaches to racial and ethnic equity and racial justice.

In addition to an acknowledgement of outstanding child advocacy, the Angel Award is also a tool that can be used to strengthen the recipients’ ability to raise funds for their organizations’ work. In support of that goal, the winners’ organizations each received a check for $1,000 from the Partnership.