Who We Are & How We Work

© UNICEF/UNI369922/

Advocacy means, literally, to speak up on behalf of someone in need. For UNICEF, it means speaking up on behalf of and with children to support their rights, ensure safe and healthy childhoods in safe and inclusive communities, and build strong futures with opportunity and hope.

To build that future, UNICEF USA urges decision-makers in all sectors –governments, corporations, schools, communities — to implement policies and budgets that support and empower children, using a child rights framework that prioritizes child best interests. UNICEF USA educates and mobilizes supporters across the United States to press for these policies.

Advocacy matters. When we advocate, we create new understanding, chip away at the systemic challenges that hurt children, and create sustainable positive impacts for children at home and abroad.


In keeping with UNICEF’s global mission, our focus is on results for children. We advocate for policies and budgets that support UNICEF’s mission to protect child rights, and help children survive and thrive. We do so in a nonpartisan spirit, guided by the belief that “a child in need knows no politics.” Our consistent focus on results for children has helped UNICEF enjoy strong bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress and across the country.

Our advocate campaigns are built on three principles:

  • CHILD-FOCUSED AND CONNECTED TO UNICEF: Our advocacy efforts are consistent with UNICEF’s global priorities and messaging, and take advantage of UNICEF’s experience and expertise. Protecting children’s lives and rights is the primary purpose of any position we mobilize to support.
  • NONPARTISAN: UNICEF USA is a strictly nonpartisan organization, both in our mission and as mandated by our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. All messaging is strictly nonpartisan and child-centric. That does not mean we avoid positions that might be controversial; it means that our narrative focuses on the problem and a policy solution, not on political parties and politicians.
  • RESULTS-ORIENTED: We support policy and budget priorities that we believe will have tangible results for children.

UNICEF USA Advocacy Day 2019

Key FY2020 accomplishments include:

  • Congress provided $134 million, highest U.S. contribution to UNICEF’s core resources
  • Keeping Girls in School Act (H.R. 2153) passed the House
  • Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 7120) passed the House
  • The End Global Malnutrition Resolution (S.Res.260) passed the House and Senate
  • Pennsylvania and Minnesota became the third and fourth states to outlaw marriage below the age of 18 with zero exceptions

Our current highest priority is to push for U.S. Government funding to UNICEF, both in annual foreign assistance funding and also this year in additional funding for the global response to COVID-19. Additional top global and domestic legislative priorities include but are not limited to:

Global Priorities

  • Global Child Thrive Act to ensure that U.S. Government international assistance programs fully incorporate early childhood development
  • Keeping Girls in School Act to reinforce the importance of girls’ education and addresse the challenges that adolescent girls face that force them from school 

Domestic Priorities

  • DREAM Act in order to protect DACA recipients from deportation
  • Justice in Policing Act to take tangible first steps that address discriminatory police use of force policies and the disproportionate impact of these policies on the Black community and communities of color

For a more comprehensive list of UNICEF USA’s current legislative priorities click here.

Share on