Martin Dannenfelser

Staff Director

Between 2001 and 2008, Martin Dannenfelser served as Deputy Assistant Secretary and Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary at the Administration for Children in Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  He advised the Assistant Secretary on legislation, policy and intergovernmental matters; and provided executive leadership to program and regional offices on projects of special importance to the Assistant Secretary.

 Mr. Dannenfelser and his Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA) office organized a Customer Service Project that identified obstacles and barriers faced by ACF’s minority customers; he coordinated ACF program office development of solutions to these obstacles and barriers.  IGA also developed and implemented a Community Organizations Database of more than 15,000 local minority organizations and leaders.  The Database provided ACF with an enhanced outreach capability for informing the minority communities of ACF services and funding opportunities.  Dannenfelser promoted substantial ACF participation at minority conferences (e.g., National Council of La Raza, League of United Latin American Citizens, NAACP, National Urban League and Organization of Chinese Americans).  He also participated in an outreach initiative to help underserved populations obtain greater access to Head Start services.  

 Mr. Dannenfelser represented ACF on various Departmental Working Groups, including the HIV/AIDS Program Management Coordination Team and the Federal Partners Senior Workgroup on Mental Health Transformation.  He represented HHS on the Interagency Management Group (Departments of Education, HHS and Labor) of the National Institute for Literacy; also represented HHS at international meetings of UNICEF and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

 Between 1995 and 2001, Mr. Dannenfelser served in various positions with the Family Research Council (FRC) including as a Vice President.  As FRC’s chief government relations official, he testified before congressional committees on religious liberty, human rights and family tax relief.  He participated in a coalition to support passage of the Church Arson Prevention Act following a spate of church burnings in the 1990s, several of which were against predominantly African-American churches.  He also played a leading role in promoting enactment of the Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. 

Between 1981 and 1995, Mr. Dannenfelser served as Legislative Director and Administrative Assistant for Congressman Christopher Smith of New Jersey.  He hired and supervised staff; directed the development, promotion and implementation of the congressman’s legislative agenda; prepared and managed annual budgets; drafted legislation and amendments; wrote newsletter articles, weekly columns, op-ed articles, “Dear Colleague” letters and Congressional Record speeches.   

Mr. Dannenfelser received a B.S. degree in Business Administration, with a minor in Public Administration, from Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey).