Press Release

Generation Justice Wins Inaugural Peterson Prize at ALEC States & Nation Policy Summit

Dan Reynolds

Generation Justice Wins Inaugural Peterson Prize at ALEC States & Nation Policy Summit

$250,000 Grant Will Protect the Rights of Foster and Adopted Children

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – (December 5, 2019) Today, joined by nearly 1,000 legislators, community leaders and White House officials at the ALEC States & Nation Policy Summit, the Gregor G. Peterson family awarded the inaugural Peterson Prize in Venture Philanthropy to Generation Justice— a new organization providing reform blueprints and public interest litigation services to extend the full umbrella of constitutional rights to children.

“There are 500,000 reasons we are thankful to win this prize today, and every one of those reasons has a name,” said Generation Justice founder Darcy Olsen. “We look forward to working with the state lawmakers who partner with ALEC to find bipartisan solutions to intractable societal issues. We could not ask for a better partner in this work.”

Generation Justice (GenJ) seeks to give abused and abandoned foster children something they lack—an advocate and a voice. GenJ pushes for laws requiring kids to be quickly moved from government care to permanent homes and, in addition, has built a network of attorneys to provide free legal help when bureaucratic rules or decision-making trap kids in the foster system.

ALEC Chairman, South Carolina Representative Alan Clemmons commented, “As the father of two beautiful adopted children, I’m proud of Generation Justice’s mission to extend a full umbrella of constitutional rights to children. While a mother’s or father’s rights are constitutional, a child’s rights are often only statutory, and this needs to change.”

In its first two years, GenJ successfully engineered bipartisan support for six new child safety laws in Arizona and assisted legislators in Georgia with the passage of another. Reforms included reduced wait times for adoption, placing foster newborns with permanent families within one year (versus four years previously), and a requirement that child services expedite the search for relatives in the first 30 days, thus satisfying the presumption that kids are best off with family. Collectively, these new reforms benefit 35,000 foster kids in two states.

“The work of Generation Justice is critical for child welfare. Every child deserves a family,” said ALEC CEO Lisa B. Nelson. “ALEC is a unique platform to bring ideas and changemakers together. I’m proud of Generation Justice’s work and Arizona Representative Anthony Kern who offered the nomination.”

The Peterson Prize in Venture Philanthropy was first announced at the 2019 ALEC Annual Meeting in Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas. Fifty-nine nominations were submitted by ALEC members and other groups, with Gen J selected as the inaugural prize winner.

The prize is named for Gregor G. Peterson, a champion of new ventures and to entrepreneurs in the social sector.


The American Legislative Exchange Council is the largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators in the United States. The Council is governed by state legislators who comprise the Board of Directors and is advised by the Private Enterprise Advisory Council, a group of private, foundation and think tank members. For more information about the American Legislative Exchange Council, please visit: