On September 22, 2021, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy Board Members, employees, and partners alike came together virtually to celebrate our President and CEO Kate Breslin as she was presented with the 2021 Florette Angel Memorial Child Advocacy Award. 

This award, given by The Partnership for America’s Children, is named for West Virginia child advocate Florette Angel who grew up in racially-polarized Mississippi in the 1940s. It goes annually to an executive director of a state or local child advocacy organization who has: 

  • demonstrated exemplary leadership in child advocacy as a representative for the interests of children and their families across a number of policy issues;
  • successfully advocated for public policies and investments that help improve the lives of children and families, with a particular focus on children living in poverty and their families;
  • played a critical role in articulating and championing the needs of children and defending their interests in the political process, even when those positions may not have been popular; and
  • advanced the growth and credibility of multi-issue child advocacy as a profession.

Kate, winner of the 22nd annual award, was nominated by colleagues, board members, peers, and a judging panel composed of past recipients. She received this accolade via Zoom from host John Brandon, MCCOY, Inc., Dede Hil, Senior Director of Policy at Schuyler Center, Larry Marx of The Children’s Agenda, and Paul J. Kaye, MD., President, Board of Trustees at Schuyler Center. 

Dede Hill spoke at the virtual event, saying, 

“Kate has been a passionate and a terrifically effective advocate for disenfranchised individuals, particularly New York children and families. She is a consensus builder, a steady and principled leader, and a deep, creative, and strategic thinker. She is committed to working across policy issues, sectors, and silos to develop and advance policies that can truly transform the lives of children and families and advance racial equity.” 

Paul Kaye spoke as well, pronouncing that,

Kate has a great passion for service to others, starting with her Peace Corps service in Sierra Leone. She treats everyone she meets with kindness and respect and remains true to her ideals.” 

Others sang Kate’s praises, including Larry Marx, who spoke in recognition and celebration of her passionate, innovative and unapologetic commitment to working to advance racial equity. Rich Huddleston raised a toast to Kate’s sense of humor, and said that we are all, “so much better off for having her in our world.” Elizabeth Burke Bryan, a former award recipient, joined in with fellow advocates to salute Kate, as did Debora Stein, Ceclia Zalkind, and Claire Berkowitz. Congratulations were also sent by Kathy Biggsby Moore.

Kate spoke as well, thanking her “small and powerful team” and detailing the history of Schuyler Center, which has thrived for nearly 150 years. The organization was started by Louisa Lee Schuyler, great granddaughter of Alexander Hamilton. Louisa was born to a life of privilege but was also a true humanitarian and social work pioneer. After observing the horrible conditions in the poorhouses of New York, she gathered her friends, marched to Albany and demanded change. Today Kate holds true to that tradition of insisting government play its proper role in caring for people. She continues to serve in the public interest, holding government accountable and focusing on long term change. She has dedicated her career to making sure public policy can’t, and doesn’t, forget the needs of disenfranchised people.

There is a striking similarity among Florette Angel, Louisa Lee Schuyler, and Kate Breslin. They all speak out for those who can’t speak for themselves. They display a dogged persistence, relentless collaboration, a willingness to support others, and a drive to get stuff done. These characteristics exemplify Kate, and are the marks of a brilliant, inspiring leader. She is a passionate advocate for low-income children and families, and those facing barriers based on historic, system racism. Under her leadership, that is what Schuyler Center strives to do every day. 

In addition to the award, $1,000 was donated to the Schuyler Center in recognition of Kate’s lofty accomplishment.