CDF Alumni Network — Children’s Defense Fund

Reverend Dr. Starsky Wilson is President and CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) and the CDF Action Council. CDF envisions a nation where marginalized children thrive, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive. Wilson serves as chairman of the board of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) and the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE).

From 2011 to 2020, Reverend Wilson served as President and CEO of the Deaconess Foundation, a faith-based philanthropy for child welfare and racial justice in St. Louis. From 2008 to 2018, Dr. Wilson also served as pastor of Saint John’s Church (The Beloved Community), a multiracial congregation in the city. Under her leadership, the foundation built and established the Deaconess Center for Child Welfare, a reservoir of community action engaging thousands of citizens each year. After the police killing of Michael Brown, Jr., the church hosted the #BlackLivesMatter Freedom Ride to and other mobilizations.

Wilson was named co-chairman of the Ferguson Commission, which released the “Forward Through Ferguson: A Path to Racial Equity” Report, calling for sweeping changes in policing, courts, child welfare and economic mobility in 2015. He currently serves on the boards of Duke Divinity School, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference and from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dr. Wilson received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Xavier University of Louisiana, a master’s degree in theology from Eden Theological Seminary and a doctorate in ministry from Duke University. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. fraternity and Sigma Pi Phi fraternity, Starsky is married to Dr. LaToya Smith Wilson, a dentist and children’s advocate. They are raising four children.

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