Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson


The Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson is president & CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), pursuing the vision of a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive. Since 1973, CDF has been leading the movement to build power for child-centered public policy, informed by racial equity and the lived experience of children and youth.

Dr. Wilson is board chair for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) and vice chair of the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE). He also serves boards for CDF Action Council, Duke Divinity School, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference and Sojourners.

From 2011 through 2020, Rev. Wilson was president & CEO of Deaconess Foundation, a faith-based philanthropy for child well-being and racial justice in St. Louis. Under his leadership, Deaconess constructed and established the Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being, a community action tank engaging more than 15,000 citizens annually. From 2008 through 2018, Dr. Wilson also pastored Saint John’s Church (The Beloved Community), an inter-racial, inner-city congregation related to the United Church of Christ.

After the police killing of Michael Brown, Jr., Wilson and the church hosted the #BlackLivesMatter Freedom Ride to Ferguson and served as the welcome center for #FergusonOctober. In service of community healing, Wilson co-chaired the Ferguson Commission. In 2015, they released the ‘Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity’ Report, calling for sweeping changes in policing, the courts, child well-being and economic mobility.

Dr. Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Xavier University of Louisiana, Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary, and the Doctor of Ministry from Duke University. For his public theology, he was awarded Doctor of Public Service and Doctor of Divinity degrees honoris causa by Saint Louis University and Eden Theological Seminary, respectively. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Starsky is married to Dr. LaToya Smith Wilson, a dentist and child advocate. They are raising four children.


Follow Dr. Wilson’s activism, philanthropy, and ministry at @RevDrStarsky and @ChildDefender.



Rev. Britni Johnson

A native of Chester, PA, Rev. Britni Johnson is the daughter of Anita and Inocencio Amaro, Sr., who directed her Christian upbringing. She was recognized as a Christ Servant Minister in the United Methodist Church and began serving as a layperson under the leadership of Pastor Herbert Coe, Sr. at St. Daniel’s United Methodist Church, in Chester, PA. In 2009, she relocated to Washington, DC where Reverend Khalfani B. Drummer acknowledged her call to ministry. She was licensed to preach in October 2013 and later ordained to the Gospel Ministry in September 2018 at the Gethsemane Baptist Church, in Washington, DC. Serving as an Associate Minister, she supports multiple ministries to include the Department of Christian Education and the Young Adult Ministry. In May 2008, Reverend Johnson graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science degree and recognized as a member of the National Political Science Honor Society. Passionate about her ministry preparation, she attended the John Leland Center for Theological Studies where she earned a Masters of Christian Leadership in June 2018. In June 2019, Villanova University awarded her a Certificate in Church Management. Currently, Reverend Johnson is pursuing a Doctor of Educational Ministry in Educational Leadership from Virginia Theological Seminary.


Rev. Dr. Cynthia Turner Wood

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Reverend Dr. Cynthia Turner Wood is the second Pastor of the Dayspring Community Church in Lanham, Maryland, a position she has proudly held since 2005.

Dr. Turner Wood graduated from the United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio, in December 2006 as a Curtis-Watson Fellow. There she received the Doctor of Ministry degree, with an emphasis on prophetic preaching. She holds a Master of Divinity degree (2003) from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, and a Bachelor of Science degree (1986) in broadcast journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Prior to entering ministry full-time, Reverend Turner Wood served in both the Clinton and Bush Administrations as Deputy Director of Public Affairs and Speechwriter to Assistant Secretary for Health and US Surgeon General David Satcher. She brings to ministry more than 25 years' experience in publishing, health communications, and public health.

After completing her Master of Divinity degree, Dr. Turner Wood spent a year on staff with the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington, DC, where she promoted the art of contemplative living. She has served on the Governing Council of the Global United Fellowship and is an instructor with WomanPreach!, Inc. (Jarena Lee Preaching Academy). She served as a missionary with the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention’s Pastoral Excellence Program (Team 8) and is currently a Pilgrim Mentor for the Thriving in Ministry Program for Female Pastors. She also serves on the board of the Mary Elizabeth House (Washington, DC), an organization that houses and supports young mothers transitioning out of the foster care system.

A native of Lynchburg, Virginia, Dr. Turner Wood enjoys traveling to new places, contemplation, writing reflectively and gardening. She is married to Rev. Dr. Jesse L. Wood, Executive Pastor of the Metropolitan Baptist Church, Largo, MD. They reside in Silver Spring, Maryland, with their daughter-niece Amani and their 75-pound Airedale Terrier named Blue. Dr. Turner’s favorite scripture is centered in Luke 1:38: “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me, according to Thy Word.”


Rev. Dr. Donald R. Kelly


Rev. Dr. Donald R. Kelly serves as the Senior Pastor of the Olive Branch Community Church, Sandy Spring, MD.  A native of Keithville, Louisiana, Rev. Kelly was licensed and preached his first sermon at Shiloh Baptist Church in Plainfield, New Jersey.  After servicing three years as Associate Minister at Shiloh, Rev. Kelly served as Associate Pastor at St. Stephens Baptist Church, Washington, DC, for approximately two years and Youth Pastor at The Peoples Community Baptist Church for two years.  In 1991 when his career took the family to California, Rev. Kelly united with Star Light Baptist Church in Santa Ana, where he was ordained and became an Associate Pastor.  While serving in that role, he simultaneously served as a Lay Minister at Mission Hills Church in Mission Viejo. After returning to the Washington Metropolitan Area in 2000, he and his family reunited with The People Community Church where he served as the Family Life, Pastoral Care and Saturday Church Minister. Later, he became the interim Senior Pastor of the church until the spirit led him to begin the Olive Branch Community Church in October 2006.


As the founder and senior pastor of Olive Branch, Rev. Kelly is realizing his vision of a church that changes lives by creating a community of committed, compassionate believers and disciples for Christ.  Since the founding of the church, the membership has grown, ministries established, property acquired, and a church rectory dedicated.        


Rev. Kelly received his graduate degree in 1978 from Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho.  He also holds a Master of Arts in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. In June 2017, Rev. Kelly was awarded a doctoral degree in Ministry from Newburgh Theological Seminary in Newburgh, IN. 


Rev. Kelly has served on the Montgomery Hospice Board, the John LeLand Theological Seminary Board and the Ministers’ Advisory Board at Howard University Hospital. From March 2009-2011, he served as President of the Black Ministers Conference of Montgomery County. 


In 1974, Rev. Kelly married the former Brenda S. Washington and they were blessed with four daughters.  Their family has expanded to include two sons-in-law, three grandsons and two granddaughters.