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Raleigh, N.C. –Action for Children North Carolina, the state’s leading nonprofit organization working on behalf of all children in North Carolina, has announced the election of Carl Rist and Chris Kukla, both of Durham to its board of directors.

Chris Kukla, Senior Counsel for Government Affairs, Center for Responsible Lending in Durham has been with the Center for Responsible Lending since 2002, and is primarily responsible for directing CRL’s North Carolina policy work. Chris also works with lawmakers and advocates in other states on consumer lending legislation. He received his law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School, and received his B.A. with honors from Alma College in Alma, Michigan. Prior to joining the Center, Chris worked for five years on Capitol Hill, most recently as Appropriations Associate and Counsel to U.S. Representative Nita M. Lowey of New York.

Carl Rist of Durham serves as Vice President for Assets & Opportunity Programs and as Director of Asset Building for CFED with its primary offices in Washington, D.C. In this capacity, he has been instrumental in the organization’s work to develop, test, support and expand creative approaches to creating economic opportunity for Americans everywhere. Mr. Rist has also served for the past six years as the director of CFED’s Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship and Downpayment (SEED) initiative, bringing innovative matched savings programs to children and youth in low-income families.

“Child poverty in our state increased 18 percent between 2007 and 2009,the official end of the recession,” stated Barbara Bradley, President and CEO of Action for Children. “By the official end of the recession, more than one in five North Carolina children (22.5 percent) lived in poverty. Poverty impacts health, housing, academic performance, child development-all aspects of a child’s life. Chris and Carl will bring invaluable expertise to Action for Children regarding effective ways in which to address this epidemic.”

Among Action for Children North Carolina’s legislative successes are the:

  • Graduated Drivers’ License law;
  • Child Booster Seat law;
  • Bicycle Helmet law;
  • Health Start Program (children’s health insurance);
  • Cell Phone Ban for those driving under the Graduated Drivers’ License law; and
  • Juvenile Expunction law.

These policies are having a measurable impact upon the well-being of children:

  • Motor vehicle deaths of infants and toddlers (birth to age 4) declined 26 percent in the four years after child passenger safety laws were strengthened.
  • Motor vehicle deaths of young children (ages 5 to 9) declined 27 percent in the three years following passage of the law requiring use of booster seats.
  • The risk of motor vehicle accidents has been reduced by banning cell phone use among teenagers currently under the graduated drivers’ license provision.
  • Driver crashes declined 38 percent for 16-year-olds and 20 percent for 17-year-olds in the five years following the passage of the graduated drivers’ license provision.
  • Bicycle deaths for children (under age 15) declined by 60 percent in the five years after the law was passed requiring that children wear bike helmets.

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