Take Our Kids to Work Day turns 30, hopes donations rebound

Apr 26, 2023, 2:29 PM

File - Alicia Agugliaro arrives at work with her 7-year-old daughter Eliana Agugliaro, on Thursday,...

File - Alicia Agugliaro arrives at work with her 7-year-old daughter Eliana Agugliaro, on Thursday, April 22, 2010, in Princeton, N.J. The Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Foundation is the nonprofit that promotes the day, which celebrates its 30th anniversary on Thursday. The foundation has fallen on hard times recently even as the idea it promotes endures. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

(AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — At Michigan State University, children of employees can spend Thursday seeing what its like to staff a dairy farm, work in sports or plant a tree at the school’s first in-person Take Our Kids to Work Day since the pandemic began.

Some 1,500 employees and kids have registered and the university has invited staff to bring any child in their life to explore the campus.

“This is a way that people can see each other and meet their families, show off MSU, which is designated a family friendly university,” said Jaimie Hutchison, director of the university’s WorkLife Office. “It also allows people to see what others do across campus and have more pride in the institution that they work for.”

MSU’s plans recall the roots of Take Our Kids to Work Day, which celebrates its 30th anniversary on Thursday. However, much has changed since then.

The idea of Take Our Kids to Work Day seemed like part of a bygone era in recent years because, due to the pandemic, there weren’t a lot of workplaces to take them.

Many parents were always taking their kids to work — or taking their work to wherever the kids were — in the dawn of the work-from-home era caused by COVID-19. And for parents who needed to head to a workplace, precautions over limiting the spread of the disease generally kept their kids away.

This year, though, The Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Foundation, the nonprofit that promotes the day, hopes to remind people of the importance of showing kids where their parents work. The foundation also hopes to get some help to ensure its survival.

The foundation, which marks the day annually on the third Thursday in April, was led for years by Carolyn McKecuen, an entrepreneur, artist and MacArthur Fellow, who Dave Oliveria, the foundation’s interim executive director, called the linchpin of the organization. She died in November.

“The board is trying to pick up the pieces to just keep it going,” Oliveria said. The foundation lost money last year and currently has no employees.

This year, it is partnering with Junior Achievement USA to host a virtual event that will include a gameshow format where panelists will answer questions about their careers.

In the costal town of Brigantine, New Jersey, school superintendent Glenn Robbins is encouraging his staff to bring their children to school and for students to accompany their parents to their workplaces Thursday. He estimates that around 30% of students will participate.

“It makes them appreciate things that they might not see when they’re stuck in a school building every day for five days a week,” he said.

Over the years, educators and schools have complained that having some students taken out of class is more disruptive than helpful.

Thirty years ago, the head of the Ms. Foundation for Women, Marie Wilson, was inspired by research into the flagging self-esteem of girls when they reached adolescence to suggest that parents bring their daughters to work to expand their sense of possibility.

The foundation’s cofounder, Gloria Steinem, mentioned the idea in an interview and in the spring of 1993, “Take Our Daughters to Work” day exploded into reality.

“It challenged the workplace to be responsive to the family needs in some ways, even making people aware that many people had children at home,” said Teresa Younger, president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women.

Women’s participation in the work force has been largely flat since 2000, after picking up in the 1990s. About three-quarters of women aged 25 through 54, a group that filters out students and retirees, were in the workforce in 1993, a figure that reached nearly 78% this year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The pandemic disproportionally drove women out of the workforce and they returned more slowly even after lockdown measures ended and available jobs again increased.

The name and date of the day has changed since it started, including boys officially in 2003, though many workplaces have used “kid” or “child” for years. Also, companies and workplaces are free to organize a day for employees to bring their children to work whenever and however they like, said Oliveria.

Around 1,000 kids have registered for this year’s livestream, Junior Achievement US said. But it has always been difficult to measure participation, Oliveria said, but this year’s participation likely represents a sharp decline from the 18 million kids that the organization said participated between 2005 and 2009.

“I don’t see evidence of a million people, but I think that many companies can do their own thing and we wouldn’t know,” Oliveria said. “That’s just a tough thing to put your arms around.”

Younger said she understands the difficulty of continuing to meet the needs of the current moment.

“That’s the challenge of every legacy organization, is: how do we respond to the challenges of now and continue to integrate the work as it needs to be?” she asked.

Bringing a child to work is still a meaningful way to create a more economically and socially equitable society, she said. “It holds industry accountable for the opportunities that they provide for the next generation and the exposure they provide.”


Associated Press coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content. For all of AP’s philanthropy coverage, visit

National News

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump reacts after speaking at a campaign...

Associated Press

Trump expected to turn his full focus on Harris at first rally since Biden’s exit from 2024 race

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Donald Trump is holding his first public campaign rally since President Joe Biden dropped out of a 2024 matchup that both major parties had spent months preparing for, leaving the former president to direct his ire toward his likely new opponent, Vice President Kamala Harris. Trump is expected to turn his […]

2 hours ago

A runner and their pacer run as the sun rises behind them on California Route 190 during the Badwat...

Associated Press

Runners set off on the annual Death Valley ultramarathon billed as the world’s toughest foot race

DEATH VALLEY NATOINAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — During a rainstorm that partially obscured the light of a a nearly full moon, 97 runners pushed off in desolate Death Valley with the launch of a 48-hour annual ultramarathon billed as the world’s toughest foot race — the Badwater 135. After starting late Monday night, the men […]

3 hours ago

FILE - FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee o...

Associated Press

FBI chief to face questions over Trump assassination attempt as he returns to Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON (AP) — FBI Director Christopher Wray is set to testify Wednesday about the bureau’s investigation into the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump, with lawmakers at a congressional hearing likely to press him for fresh details about the gunman’s motive and background. The hearing before the House Judiciary Committee will represent Wray’s most […]

3 hours ago

President Joe Biden disembarks Air Force One as he arrives Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Tuesday, Ju...

Associated Press

Biden will make a case for his legacy – and for Harris to continue it – in his Oval Office address

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even though President Joe Biden won’t be on the ballot this November, voters still will be weighing his legacy. As Vice President Kamala Harris moves to take his place as the Democratic standard-bearer, Biden’s accomplishments remain very much at risk should Republican Donald Trump prevail. How Biden’s single term — and his […]

3 hours ago

Former U.S. Army medical technician Louis M. Gigliotti tours the Alaska Veterans Museum following h...

Associated Press

An Alaska veteran is finally getting his benefits — 78 years after the 103-year-old was discharged

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 103-year-old World War II veteran who’s been paying his medical bills out-of-pocket is finally getting his veterans benefits from the U.S. government after 78 years. Louis Gigliotti’s caretaker says the former U.S. Army medical technician has a card from the Veteran Administration but he never realized he could use his […]

3 hours ago

Vice President Kamala Harris campaigns for President as the presumptive Democratic candidate during...

Associated Press

Democrats hope Harris’ bluntness on abortion will translate to 2024 wins in Congress, White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden might not often use the word “abortion” when he talks about the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but Vice President Kamala Harris sure does. She’s also toured a Planned Parenthood clinic where the procedure is performed, and routinely links the fall of Roe to the larger issue of rising […]

3 hours ago

Take Our Kids to Work Day turns 30, hopes donations rebound