Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)



Washington, DC

Tax ID:


Budget (2017):

Revenue: $17,260,355
Expenses: $12,709,253
Assets: $13,635,336




Advocacy organization


Wendy Young

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Kids in Need of Defense (usually styled KIND) is a left-of-center refugee and immigration-focused nonprofit that provides immigration-related legal services, trains lawyers in immigration law, and advocates for stricter regulations on the federal government’s processing of illegal immigrant children.


In 2008, Kids in Need of Defense was founded by celebrity actress and refugee-rights activist Angelina Jolie. 12 The organization, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit, is based in Washington, D.C. 3

KIND provides attorneys to represent child migrants in their legal cases with the United States at no cost. The organization largely sources its attorneys from interested applicants, without requiring a background or specialized education in migration law, and provides them training through a network of partner organizations. Additionally, the organization’s staff travel to various cities with large populations of illegal immigrants and give “Know Your Rights” presentations. 4  In addition to its legal work and educational activities, KIND advocates for legislation which would more strictly regulate the federal government’s handling of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children. 5


In December 2018, the organization conducted a series of trips to the U.S.-Mexico border to analyze the difficulties for children associated with crossing. Following the trip, the organization published The Protection Gauntlet, a report detailing concerns that aspiring migrants and asylum seekers were being systematically prevented from accessing the San Ysidro Port of Entry. 6

On December 19, 2019, KIND published a blog post reporting that two of its clients, two children from El Salvador participating in the organization’s “Voices that Matter Most” project, met with Jennifer Piatt, a staffer of the House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, to discuss KIND’s activities. 7

On August 6, 2020, KIND reported on its blog that it, along with various children’s rights-focused organizations, particularly Asociacion Pop No’j, Casa Alianza, Equipo de Estudios Comunitarios y Accion Psicosocial, the Mennonite Social Action Commission, and Colectivo Vida Digna, worked to help children and families in Central America during the COVID-19 public health crisis by distributing food and hygiene products. 8


Wendy Young

Kids In Need of Defense president Wendy Young was formerly the chief counsel on immigration policy to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Refugees under then-Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA). Additionally, Young worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Women’s Refugee Commission, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza). 9

Matthew J. Kessler-Vaughn

Before working with KIND, Matthew J. Kessler-Vaughn was the Vice President of Operations for AIDS United, a nonprofit organization which funds HIV-related grants. 10

Jennifer Podkul

Prior to accepting her position as a vice president of KIND, Jennifer Podkul was a senior program officer at the Women’s Refugee Commission; taught child migration at Georgetown Law Center’s Human Rights Institute; worked as an attorney at Ayuda, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. that provides low-income immigrants with legal and language services; was a Fellow with Equal Justice Works, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that facilitates career growth for left-progressive lawyers; and was a KIND Fellow. 11

Maria Odom

Prior to joining KIND, Maria Odom served as the Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman in the administration of President Barack Obama. Previously, she was the executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Assistant District Counsel for the Legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service at the U.S. Department of Justice, and a judicial law clerk at the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Odom is a member of the board of directors of the Freedom Network, a human trafficking-focused nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. 1213


  1. “Special Envoy Angelina Jolie.” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Accessed October 6, 2020.
  2. “Who We Are.” Kids In Need of Defense. Accessed October 5, 2020.
  3. “KIND INC.” ProPublica. Accessed October 6, 2020.
  4. “Legal Services.” Kids In Need of Defense. Accessed October 5, 2020.
  5. “Policy and Advocacy.” Kids In Need of Defense. Accessed October 5, 2020.
  6. “Blocked from Safety: Unaccompanied Children along the U.S.-Mexico Border.” Kids In Need of Defense. June 3, 2019. Accessed October 5, 2020.
  7. Paz, Alejandra. “’The Sky is The Limit’: KIND’s Immigrant and Refugee Voices Project Goes to Capitol Hill.” Kids In Need of Defense. December 19, 2019. Accessed October 7, 2020.
  8. “KIND works with partners to respond to the needs of children and families in Central America amid COVID-19 crisis.” Kids In Need of Defense. August 6, 2020. Accessed October 5, 2020.
  9. “Our Leadership.” Kids In Need of Defense. Accessed October 7, 2020.
  10. Our Leadership.” Kids In Need of Defense. Accessed October 7, 2020.
  11. Our Leadership.” Kids In Need of Defense. Accessed October 7, 2020.
  12. “About Us.” Freedom Network. Accessed October 7, 2020.
  13. Our Leadership.” Kids In Need of Defense. Accessed October 7, 2020.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 2008

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $17,260,355 $12,709,253 $13,635,336 $1,250,133 N $17,437,981 $0 $17,503 $1,113,064 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $14,181,497 $10,381,281 $8,840,595 $1,006,499 N $13,623,202 $556,438 $1,857 $275,972
    2015 Dec Form 990 $6,157,457 $5,469,925 $4,440,669 $407,043 N $5,632,771 $523,699 $987 $218,968 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $4,369,948 $3,706,792 $3,600,944 $255,183 N $3,918,255 $451,308 $385 $266,623 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $536,324 $809,724 $3,005,028 $322,438 N $536,162 $0 $162 $53,876 PDF
    2013 Sep Form 990 $5,065,918 $3,341,195 $3,236,418 $266,928 N $4,962,790 $102,500 $628 $198,094 PDF
    2012 Sep Form 990 $1,378,251 $3,319,495 $1,499,743 $254,967 N $1,290,719 $0 $2,114 $152,404 PDF
    2011 Sep Form 990 $4,333,159 $3,179,276 $3,376,255 $307,734 N $4,235,606 $0 $7,777 $150,000 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)

    1201 L ST NW FL 2
    Washington, DC 20005-4019