Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida

Most Valuable Father June 2017: David Lawrence

David Lawrence Jr. retired in 1999 as publisher of The Miami Herald to work in the area of early childhood development and readiness. He chairs The Children’s Movement of Florida, aimed at making children the state’s top priority for investment and decision-making. In 2002 and 2008 he led successful campaigns for The Children’s Trust, a dedicated source of early intervention and prevention funding for children in Miami-Dade. In 2002-3, he chaired the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Child Protection, and in 2011, chaired a similar panel for the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families. In 2002, he was a key figure in passing a statewide constitutional amendment to provide pre-K for all 4 year olds. The David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Public School opened in 2006. An endowed chair in early childhood studies is established in his name at the University of Florida College of Education. He is a gubernatorial appointee to the Board of Trus-tees of Florida A&M University.

Before coming to Miami in 1989, he was publisher and executive editor of the Detroit Free Press. Previously, he was editor of The Charlotte Observer, and earlier in reporting and editing positions at four newspapers. During his tenure as Miami Herald publisher, the paper won five Pulitzer Prizes.

He is a graduate of the University of Florida and the Advanced Management program at the Harvard Business School. His 13 honorary doctorates include one from his alma mater, the Uni-versity of Florida. His national honors include the National Association of Minority Media Execu-tives Award for “lifetime achievement in diversity.”

He has chaired the Miami Art Museum, United Way, the New World School of the Arts and the Foundation for Child Development in New York. He was the local convening co-chair of the 1994 Summit of the Americas and co-founded a non-profit vocational-technical school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

He and his wife,Roberta, a master’s graduate in social work from Barry, live in Coral Gables and have 3 daughters, 2 sons and 7 grandchildren. His honors include the Bob Graham Center for Public Service “Citizen of the Year” and the Fred Rogers Leadership Award from the Grantmak-ers for Children, Youth and Families.