Champion of Children Award
Ralph R. Smith
Senior Vice President and Managing Director,
Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Special Lunchtime Presentation
Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 12:30 pm
Bringing together “unusual allies” and “unlikely champions” has been a hallmark of Ralph's work at Casey, from his leadership in supporting fathers in their critical role in children’s lives to mobilizing communities to be change agents in improving outcomes for vulnerable children and families to promoting reforms that help ex-offenders become productive citizens.
Working with Casey leadership to “put families at the center of the Foundation’s efforts to improve outcomes for disadvantaged kids” numbers among Ralph’s proudest accomplishments at Casey. Another is “helping to build a culture where people are encouraged to take risks and to get personally involved with the work.”
As managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading since 2010, Ralph Smith has been the driving force nationally to ensure that all children reach the critical developmental milestone of reading on grade level by the end of third grade. “Focusing on helping the youngest children succeed in school was the logical next step to advance the Foundation’s two-generation strategy for attacking intergenerational poverty,” notes Smith, referring to Casey’s efforts to help low-income parents succeed economically while improving access to high-quality early childhood learning opportunities to give their children a strong start.