Our Story

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Who We Are

We are a non-partisan grassroots movement of Floridians insisting on increased investment in the first five years of all our children.

What We Are Working On

  • Improving Florida’s voluntary pre-K program.
  • Implementing high-quality parent skill-building programs.
  • Securing health insurance for all children.
  • Ensuring screening and treatment for all children who may have special needs.
  • Providing high-quality mentoring programs.

Why We Care

  • Expanding early learning initiatives would provide benefits to society of roughly $8.60 for every $1 spent, about half of which comes from increased earnings for children when they grow up, according to a recent analysis by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.
  • Florida spends only $2,437 per year on a pre-K student, but spends more than $69,000 per year to incarcerate a juvenile.
  • Only 4% of Florida’s education budget — and 1% of the state’s overall budget — is spent on programs that benefit children in the early childhood years.
  • The state’s prekindergarten program – a program that serves more than 170,000 4 year olds – meets just 3 of 10 nationally recommended standards and ranks 39th among 41 states in per pupil funding.
  • A fifth of our public high school students do not graduate, and almost half of 10th grade public school students in Florida cannot read at grade level.
  • Florida ranks near the bottom in terms of providing our children with access to quality health care, with more than 366,000 children currently uninsured.

How You Can Help

Educating our business, civic and political leaders – and all Floridians – about the importance of making all children our state’s highest priority.

Encouraging increased investment of our state’s public resources in the well-being and future of our children.

To get involved, click here.

Florida’s Champions for Children

A bipartisan coalition of 28 of the state’s most prominent citizens has come together to work on behalf of Florida’s children.

Carol Jenkins Barnett, Lakeland 
Chair and President, Publix Super Markets Charities.

Sam Bell III, Tallahassee
Former House Majority Leader; now with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney law firm.

Allan Bense, Panama City
Former House Speaker; now president of GAC Contractors.

Cecilia Bryant, Jacksonville
Attorney and former vice chair of the State University System Board of Regents

Bob Butterworth, Fort Lauderdale
Former attorney general and Department of Children and Families secretary; now Of Counsel at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney law firm.

Marta Casas-Celaya, West Palm Beach
Director of government and community affairs for Comcast.

Betty Castor, Tampa
Former legislator, education commissioner, University of South Florida president and chair of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Scott Clemons, Panama City
Former legislator and mayor; now president of The Clemons Company.

David Dennis, Clearwater
President and CEO of Eckerd Youth Alternatives.

Manny Diaz, Miami
Former mayor and president of U.S. Conference of Mayors; now senior partner in Lydecker Diaz law firm.

Rob Gidel, Orlando
Former chair of the Florida Polytechnic University board; now managing partner of Liberty Capital Advisors

Pegeen Hanrahan, Gainesville
Former mayor; environmental engineer and principal in Community and Conservation Solutions.

Kathryn Hensley, Fort Pierce
Former K-12 and college educator; now St. Lucie County School Board member

Ed Jennings, Gainesville
Former legislator; now U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development administrator

Toni Jennings, Orlando
Former lieutenant governor and legislator; now chair of Jack Jennings & Sons construction

Greg Langowski, Palm Beach
Former executive director of the Palm Beach Republican Party; now regional director for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

David Lawrence Jr, Coral Gables
Retired Miami Herald publisher; now chair of The Children’s Movement of Florida.

Roberto Martinez, Coral Gables
Former U.S. attorney and State Board of Education member; now partner in Colson Hicks Eidson law firm

Gepsie Metellus, Miami
Executive director of the Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center

Jon Mills, Gainesville
Former House Speaker; now dean emeritus and professor at University of Florida’s College of Law and Of Counsel at Boies Schiller & Flexner law firm

Sandy Murman, Tampa
Former legislator; now Hillsborough County commissioner.

John “Q” Quiñones, Kissimmee
Former legislator and Osceola County commissioner; now an attorney and certified mediator

Nan Rich, Weston
Former legislator and board member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Mario Rubio, Jacksonville
State policy director for the city of Jacksonville

Burt Saunders, Naples
Former legislator; now an attorney with GrayRobinson law firm

H.T. Smith, Miami
Former National Bar Association president; now an attorney, law school professor and community leader

Bill Sublette, Orlando
Former legislator; now an attorney and head of his own law firm

Margaret Tidmore, Panama City
Mentor coordinator and parent liaison at New Horizons Learning Center