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For Immediate Release
January 28, 2013


CDF Names Executive Director for Children’s Defense Fund – New York

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) announced Melanie Hartzog will join CDF-New York as Executive Director on February 25, 2013. Currently Family Services Coordinator in the New York City Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Hartzog brings to CDF a powerful mix of senior policy experience, an engaging vision of smart collaboration, and passion for making a difference in the lives of New York’s children. As Family Services Coordinator, Hartzog oversees several city agencies responsible for the delivery of social services and justice programs. Hartzog is also Project Director for the Young Men’s Initiative, a bold and innovative public/private partnership aimed at reducing disparities between economic and social outcomes of young men of color and other demographic groups in New York City.

“We are thrilled to welcome Melanie to CDF and excited to have her lead us forward in New York,” said Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund. “With Melanie at the helm of our New York office, we will not miss a beat in our critical work to dismantle the Cradle to Prison Pipeline™ which leaves a Black boy born in 2001 a one in three chance of going to prison in his lifetime and a Latino boy a one in six chance of the same fate, and in our work to ensure all of New York’s children have a level playing field to survive and thrive.”

“I am excited to join the Children’s Defense Fund and work with all of CDF’s partners in New York,” said Melanie Hartzog. “As a long-time admirer of Marian Wright Edelman and the organization’s effective advocacy for children, I look forward to being a strong voice for all of New York’s children with special attention to poor and minority children and youth, and those with disabilities.”

In August of 2011, Melanie Hartzog was appointed the Family Services Coordinator in the New York City Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, she served as the Deputy Commissioner for early childhood services at New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services. During her tenure, Hartzog advocated for, designed and implemented initiatives to maximize utilization of child care resources and to increase efficiency and access to quality subsidized child care, culminating in the release of the City’s EarlyLearn NYC procurement in 2011.

In her decade in public service, Hartzog also led a social services unit in the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget, and was Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Human Services Council of New York City, Inc. She has a Master of Science degree from the New School’s Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy and Bachelor of Arts from Eckerd College. Her predecessor, the Reverend Emma Jordan-Simpson served for five years and returned to a full time ministry at the beginning of this year.