Founding Chair of American Children’s Campaign Passes

Linda Sutherland, the founding chair of American Children’s Campaign, then known as The Children’s Campaign, passed away on Sunday, February 25.  Her death was due to pneumonia which triggered other health complications.

Linda throughout her career and personal relationships was a beloved figure.  She was a stalwart for good children’s policy and thoughtful opponent of bad.  She led with compassion, intelligence and a genuine interest in everyone involved.

“The news reached me at 3 a.m,” said Roy Miller, American Children’s Campaign president.  “I got out of bed and made it to the Florida room where I didn’t move until sunrise.  The news was profound and it was immediately understood an iconic figure in advocacy was lost to us.”

Linda first came onto our radar during her 12-year tenure on the Orange County School Board, where she earned the deep respect of the school system and the broader community.  But it was her interest in the whole life of the child that drew us to her.  It didn’t take any explanation that the 16 hours per day children spend outside school were as important, if not more so, than the 8 hours on school grounds regarding educational success.  The importance of the out of school hours in children’s lives has driven the policy and advocacy mission of American Children’s Campaign since our beginning.

For upwards of 20 years, Linda was Executive Director of the Healthy Start Coalition of Orange County which is part of a statewide program to birth healthy children and reduce unfortunate and tragic yet preventable outcomes.

Cathy Timuta, Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions, said, “Linda dedicated her life to the pursuit of a world where every child could thrive, and her impact will forever resonate in the hearts of those she touched.”

Linda started at the grassroots level, involving herself with the PTA at her son’s school.  This led her to more visible pursuits to achieve amazing outcomes for the diversity of all children.

“Florida has lost more than an effective and loved leader,” said Miller.  “Florida has lost the best friend children could ever have.”