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The Karabelle Pizzigati Initiative in Advocacy for Children, Youth and Families

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Diverse group of young children reading a book in a library

The Karabelle Pizzigati Initiative in Advocacy for Children Youth and Families builds a pipeline of informed, effective advocates to ensure all children are healthy, safe, learning and joyful.

The late Karabelle Pizzigati spent her career striving to change that reality by empowering champions for children with the policy skills to make a lasting impact. In her name, the Karabelle Pizzigati Initiative Fellowship inspires the best and brightest students to pursue careers in children's advocacy. Through this experience, students gain experience and insight into the field by working in organizations who make a real difference in the lives of children.

Students are empowered to use their voice as a powerful force for change, now and into the future. Throughout the fellowship, students learn from recognized experts in a 10-week paid internship.  In addition to the internship, students will be coached and mentored, preparing them to enter a career in children's advocacy. We plan to honor Ms. Karabelle Pizzigati's legacy by increasing the pool of diverse, visionary leaders with the confidence and competence to lead and sustain major systems reform for kids.

Bruce Leslie honored with Inaugural Karabelle Pizzigati Spirit Award

Leslie is a longtime child advocate who has spent his career working in the government on policy issues related to health care, education, human services and immigration. 

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Karabelle Pizzigati Initiative Announces Inaugural Fellows

Through summer internships, students gain experience and insight into the field by working in organizations who make a real difference in the lives of children.

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$500K Gift Supports the Karabelle Pizzigati Initiative in Advocacy for Children, Youth and Families

Donors Michael Sullivan and Nancy Moseley aim to continue their friend’s legacy and inspire a new generation of advocates.

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  • Joseph Battistelli, Director of Outreach & Membership, The Coalition on Human Needs
  • Sheri Brady, Vice President of Strategy & Program, Children's Defense Fund
  • Tim Briceland-Betts, Senior Fellow, Child Welfare League of America
  • Desmond Brown, Assistant Director, Office of Consumer Education, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • C. Bryan Kempton, Director, Career Services and Alumni Relations, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland
  • Kathleen King, Director of Advocacy, Child Focus
  • Bruce Lesley, President, First Focus on Children
  • Sonja Nesbit, Managing Director, FTI Consulting Strategic Communications
  • Kendyl Oliver, Undergraduate Program Manager-Family Science, School of Public Health, University of Maryland
  • Kimberly Rodgers, Program Manager, Center for Community Resilience, The George Washington University
  • John Sciamanna, Retired—Vice President of Public Policy, Child Welfare League of America
  • Deborah Stein, Network Director, Partnership for America’s Children

The School of Public Policy and the School of Public Health partner annually to name students as Karabelle Pizzigati fellows. These students have a commitment to a career in children's advocacy. In addition to required coursework, fellows will participate in paid internships over the summer. Fellows will work closely with the program director to identify and prepare for an internship opportunity in the children's advocacy field.

Support the Karabelle Pizzigati Initiative

Meet the Program Director


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