David Lawrence Jr.

David Lawrence Jr.

President, The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation Chair, The Children's Movement

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. Twice he led successful campaigns for The Children’s Trust, which each year means more than $100 million for early intervention and prevention funding for children in Miami-Dade. He has chaired two statewide panels on child deaths. 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 and an endowed chair in early childhood studies at the University of Florida are named in his honor

Before coming to Miami in 1989, he was publisher and executive editor of the Detroit Free Press and, previously, in reporting and editing positions at five newspapers. (During his tenure as Miami Herald publisher, the paper won five Pulitzer Prizes.)

His 13 honorary doctorates include one from his alma mater, the University of Florida. His national honors include the National Association of Minority Media Executives award for “lifetime achievement in diversity” and the Inter American Press Association Commentary Award. He chaired the national Task Force on Minorities in the Newspaper Business, and was president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Inter American Press Association. He and his late father are both in the Florida Newspaper Hall of Fame.

He has chaired the Miami Art Museum, United Way and the New World School of the Arts, and is on the boards of the Florida A&M University, the Everglades Foundation and Americans for Immigrant Justice. 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 Roberta, a master’s graduate in social work from Barry, live in Coral Gables and have 3 daughters, 2 sons and 7 grandchildren.