Caryl Stern, longtime CEO at UNICEF USA and now executive director at the Walton Family Foundation, has spent her career focused on elevating the well-being of children. While Caryl is deeply concerned about the inequities that the pandemic is exacerbating, she is also profoundly energized about the current innovation, partnerships and social justice movements that can deliver quality education and opportunity for our next generation.

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Episode Introduction

Dune Thorne: We are living in unprecedented times. New COVID-19 cases are increasing at an alarming rate. Communities are dealing with tragic economic devastation. And we are experiencing a profound movement to address centuries of racial violence and injustice. The challenges we face as a society can feel overwhelming. For the children living through these crises, the toll – psychologically, socially, economically – may have life-long impact.

I’m Dune Thorne, and I’m a partner at Brown Advisory. To help guide us during these challenging times, I wanted to reach out to someone who has spent her career focused on elevating the health and well-being of children – children in the midst of large-scale crises.

I am really pleased to introduce you to Caryl Stern, executive director of the Walton Family Foundation – one of the largest foundations in the United States. Before joining the foundation in January, Caryl spent 13 years as CEO of UNICEF USA, where she spearheaded UNICEF’s emergency relief efforts for children affected by disasters, including the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2011 East Africa drought, the Ebola and Zika epidemics and the ongoing global refugee and migrant crisis. I always learn a lot from talking with Caryl. And this seemed like an important moment to get her perspective.

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Caryl Stern

Caryl Stern

Executive Director, Walton Family Foundation

Caryl M. Stern is the executive director of the Walton Family Foundation. Previously, she was president and CEO of UNICEF USA. A dynamic change-maker, Caryl has dedicated her career to helping others through education, compassion, advocacy and rolling up her sleeves. Since 2007, she has served as president and CEO of UNICEF USA, an organization that supports UNICEF’s lifesaving work to put children first. Caryl has traveled to more than 30 countries in support of UNICEF’s work and has spearheaded UNICEF USA’s emergency relief efforts for children affected by disasters, including the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2011 East Africa drought, the Ebola and Zika epidemics and the ongoing global refugee and migrant crisis. A sought-after public speaker on the topics of Kids Helping Kids, children and philanthropy, anti-bullying and international development, Caryl was invited to present at the White House’s inaugural summit on The United State of Women and was named one of "25 Women Changing the World in 2017" by People Magazine, “20 Most Influential Moms of 2017” by Family Circle, “25 Moms We Love” by Working Mother Magazine and “Ten Women to Watch” by Jewish Women International. She serves on the boards of directors of The Container Store and the We Are Family Foundation. In addition, Caryl is a member of the Advisory Board of Chime for Change and a trustee of The World’s Big Sleep Out. Prior to joining UNICEF USA, Caryl was an executive at the Anti-Defamation League, the founding director of its A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute, and the Dean of Students at Polytechnic University. Caryl is an activist, author, executive, public speaker, mother of three and grandmother of two.



Dune Thorne

Dune Thorne, CTFA, CWS

Head of Private Client Growth and Strategy, Brown Advisory

Dune is a partner, a member of the Executive Team and serves as head of private client growth and strategy as well as head of impact advisory for the firm. Dune works closely with family offices and institutions as a long-term thinking partner. Prior to joining Brown Advisory, Dune worked as a portfolio manager at Silver Bridge Advisors. Dune has an MBA from Harvard Business School and has been recognized as one of the top 40 Women in Wealth and as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.


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