End Child Poverty California, a coalition of groups whose legislative and policy advocacy work has helped thousands of California kids, has a new leader.
Shimica Gaskins, who most recently headed Children’s Defense Fund—California, began her new stint as president and CEO of End Child Poverty California on Aug. 9. She succeeds Conway Collis, founder of Grace (Gather, Respect, Advocate, Change, Engage) and End Child Poverty—California. Grace is a nonprofit Catholic ministry of the Daughters of Charity, and End Child Poverty—California is one of its campaigns.
In 2017, Grace/End Child Poverty—California sponsored Assembly Bill 1520, the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act, which formed a state task force, co-chaired by Collis. The coalition followed up to win funding for much of the task force’s plan, which doubled the California earned income tax credit and young child tax credit, expanded health care and home visiting programs, among other successes. Since then, more than 290,000 California children and families have risen out of poverty, and an additional 115,000 California children and families moved out of deep poverty in 2020 alone, according to the coalition.
“GRACE and End Child Poverty CA are all about impact, and so am I,” said Gaskins. “It’s not enough to develop the best policies — you have to organize, advocate and make change happen.”
“Carrying out the next chapter of their legacy will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of California families. That is our mission, and I cannot wait to get started,” she added.
Gaskins graduated from Catholic University of America and Georgetown University Law Center. She served in the Obama administration’s Justice Department and led the Children’s Defense Fund—California since 2017. She is also a commissioner on the Los Angeles County Commission for Children and Families.