Women’s Leadership Award

The Endowment supports the Women’s Leadership Award which recognizes women leaders who champion the causes to which Janet Reno dedicated her career. This award is given to a nominee who has demonstrated a commitment and ability to effect change in her community or organization to benefit youth, particular those at risk of entering the juvenile justice or child welfare systems. The inaugural Women’s Leadership Award was presented to Marian Wright Edelman in April 2017 at the Georgetown University Leadership. Evidence. Analysis. Debate. (LEAD) Conference. In subsequent years, awardees will participate in and be honored at a Janet Reno Forum.

2019 Recipient : Fatima Goss Graves

As part of the 2019 Forum, Maggy Hurchalla, sister of the late Janet Reno, joined Dean of the McCourt School of Public Policy, Maria Cancian, to present the Forum’s third annual Janet Reno Endowment Women’s Leadership Award to Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center.

Forum attendees had the opportunity to hear remarks from the inspirational Ms. Goss Graves who has spent her career fighting to advance opportunities for women and girls. Her passionate, dedicated leadership has helped to promote a number of issues central to gender justice, including ending sexual harassment, alleviating the systemic barriers to income equality for women and families, and promoting youth’s equal access to education.

In particular, Ms. Goss Graves has worked to advance educational opportunities for girls and change the public’s understanding of the challenges girls of color experience in school, including the school-to-prison pipeline. Her work was critical to the adoption of a White House initiative that detailed requirements and provided resources for schools related to girls who have experienced trauma, girls subjected to unfair discipline and corporal punishment in schools, pregnant and parenting students, and students who have experienced harassment and violence.

Ms. Goss Graves’ commitment to serving as a champion for women and girls over the years has truly been remarkable, which aligns so well with the career and legacy of Attorney General Janet Reno.

2018 Recipient : Judge Cindy Lederman

CJJR presented the 2nd annual Janet Reno Women’s Leadership Award to the Honorable Cindy S. Lederman, Circuit Judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, Children’s Division, during a ceremony at the 2018 Janet Reno Forum.

An innovative and dynamic leader, Judge Lederman has dedicated her career to improving outcomes for children, youth and families. She has served in the Miami-Dade Juvenile Court since 1994, including 10 years as the court’s Presiding Judge. She led the team that created the Domestic Violence Court, also serving as its first Presiding Judge, and developed a special docket for drug-involved mothers of newborn babies. Additionally, Judge Lederman issued a groundbreaking ruling paving the way for adoption by gay and lesbian couples in Florida. She also founded the Girls Advocacy Project, an award-winning intervention for girls in the Juvenile Detention Center in Miami-Dade County. She is the former President of the National Association of Women Judges and on the Board of Trustees for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

Inaugural Recipient (2017): Marian Wright Edelman

CJJR conferred its first Janet Reno Endowment Women’s Leadership Award upon Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, during a ceremony at the 2017 LEAD Conference.

The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a commitment and ability to effect change in her community or organization to benefit youth, particularly those at-risk of entering the juvenile justice or child welfare systems.

“I hope the one thing we will do to carry on Janet’s work is to remember that we will never go backwards; we are going to move forward,” said Wright Edelman in a speech calling for increased investment in children’s futures.

Read more about and watch a video of the award presentation and here.