Erin D. Runnion

OC Visionaries 2022

Founding Director
The Joyful Child Foundation – In Memory of Samantha Runnion

Erin Runnion is the founding director of The Joyful Child Foundation – In Memory of Samantha Runnion, a nonprofit organization established in September 2002, which is dedicated to preventing crimes against children through programs that educate, empower, and unite families and communities. In July 2002, Erin Runnion’s only child, Samantha, was an artistic, bright, joyful little girl who was abducted and murdered days before her sixth birthday. Within weeks, she focused her energy and grief in ensuring Samantha’s tragic death be a catalyst to engage adults in our collective responsibility in protecting our nation’s children. The Joyful Child develops, implements, supports and/or sponsors programs that serve to empower children and adults with tools and training to proactively advocate for safety and better protect children from all forms of abuse, violence and exploitation, including harassment, sexual abuse, trafficking and abduction.