Champion for Kids

Each year Alaska Children’s Trust recognizes an individual that has demonstrated dedication and commitment in working toward preventing child abuse and neglect by ensuring that children are living in safe, supportive, and nurturing communities. The purpose of the Champion for Kids Award is to recognize someone for his or her contributions to children living throughout Alaska, whether it is through their professional employment, volunteer work, community activities, or actively working with children.

2019 Southcentral Champion for Kids


Diana Payne (posthumous) dedicated her life’s work to protecting Alaska’s children. She played a major role in the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) nearly forty years ago. For the next three decades, she was on the front lines of creating policy, curriculum and setting new standards in the prevention of child abuse and neglect. She provided tools and training across the state but made huge impact in rural areas where resources were scarce. Diane was involved in the development of almost every child advocacy center in Alaska. She also served on numerous boards, task forces and organizations that had Alaska’s children at their heart. Her friends describe her as a healer-warrior. Someone who was committed to healing and showed deep empathy for survivors but was also their voice, speaking truth to power. Diane passed away June 3, 2019


Barbara Malchick has helped thousands of Alaskan children during their most vulnerable moments. She dedicated nearly 30 years of her career advocating for the well-being of children and their families. She started her work as a lawyer in the Office of Public Advocacy and used her skills, compassion and determination to make positive change for Alaska’s youth. She is well known for her longtime advocacy for children in the foster care system. In 2010, she retired but remains an active and steadfast presence in the Court Improvement Program, as a CASA volunteer, serves on numerous committees and is a proud member of the board of directors of Facing Foster Care in Alaska. She dedicates much of her time training parties involved in child welfare throughout the state. Her colleagues describe her as having unwavering dedication to the well-being of children. 

2019 Northern Champion for Kids


Alaska Children’s Trust thanks the Golden Heart city for the warm welcome and show of support at our annual Fairbanks fundraising event held on April 4, 2019. Due to the support of many, ACT met the $5,000 Doyon challenge grant opportunity and raised over $10,000 for the Alaska Children’s Trust. We honored our 2019 Northern Champion for Kids, Brenda Riley, known for her inspirational work for the Fairbanks Children’s Museum. Thank you to Doyon Limited, our many Fairbanks Co-Hosts, board members and friends.  

As a co-founder and the inaugural director of the Fairbanks Children’s Museum, Brenda and her partners, supporters, and staff have built much more than just a museum.  Her passion for her work helping children and families thrive is an example to us all. She is the Patron Saint of Fairbanks’ Parents. Her commitment to children, families and her community does not end with the Children’s Museum. She has been a member various community boards - President of the Arctic Alliance for People and was Chair of the Fairbanks North Star Borough’s Early Childhood Development Commission.  Plus is a sitting member of the Board of Directors for the University Alumni Association.

 Daily, Brenda demonstrates her commitment to improving the lives of those in her community, especially those most vulnerable. Thank you Brenda for being a Champion for Kids.   

2019 Southeast Champions for Kids

Congratulations to our 2019 Southeast Champions for Kids Awardees:

  • Senator Peter Micciche

  • Joy Lyon

Read more about these awardees on our blog.

2018 Lifetime Champions for Kids

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Congratulations to our 2018 Lifetime Champions for Kids Awardees:

  • Gov. Tony Knowles

  • Diane Kaplan

  • Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer

  • Deborah Bonito

  • Carol Brice

  • Ramona Barnes

Read more about these awardees on our blog.

Application Process

Help us identify our next Champion for Kids by nominating someone in your community. If you wish to nominate someone, please fill out the award application and submit it to Trevor Storrs.  

Champion for Kids Award Application

Past Award Recipients

2018 Champion for Kids

2017 Champion for Kids

2016 Champion for Kids

2015 Champion for Kids 

2014 Champions for Kids

2013 Champion for Kids