Donna Lueders is the executive director of Investing in Kids (INK!), and it is a role she is very passionate about. She is continually striving to help the organization creates new programs to impact students and teachers within the St. Johns County community. She understands that her role and that of the organization’s is even more important as there continues to be a growth in new students and families moving into St. Johns County each year, making the goals of the organization everchanging.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
My professional background is public administration and criminal justice. Not being an educator, when I took this job I quickly became awestruck with teachers and their true passion for helping children succeed. They have my utmost respect! My daughter is now a teacher having found her calling several years ago! My husband, Loran, is retired Chief for the City of St. Augustine. We enjoy spending time on the water and attending music festivals/concerts.
What led you to get involved with INK! and how long have you been helping the cause?
I’ve been involved with Investing in Kids (INK!) since 2006. I’ve always had a passion for helping the underdog and couldn’t have been more blessed to be able to provide a small impact in the lives of struggling students and overworked teachers.
What do you enjoy most about your job and the initiatives the organization does?
I love to brainstorm with the team in creating new initiatives that impact a population not yet served by our current programs. We believe that every student has potential and we want to reach them all! We are only limited by our ability to raise funds.
What are some of your roles as executive director of INK!?
There are many! I like to be involved and stay busy. Currently, I assist with fundraising, donor stewardship, grant writing, supervise staff, and networking to spread the word about our organization.
What has it been like to see firsthand the impact INK! has made on the community?
It brings me absolute joy to hear how much we’ve been able to help a teacher or child. We rely on data to show our success and when we hear that a child has made gains or a teacher didn’t have to use their own money, then we’ve been successful.
What are the primary goals/services provided by the organization?
INK!’s mission is to provide innovative programs and classroom resources to support the academic success for all St. Johns County public school students. We oversee several programs and initiatives to ensure we are reaching those struggling students.
In what other ways do you try to stay involved in the community?
Quite honestly, with the growing student population and families moving into the area, my primary focus is ensuring we can continue to elevate the organization and its services to all who are in need.
What do you enjoy most about living in the North Florida area?
My mother’s family is from St. Augustine, and I’ve spent most of my life here. I love the smell of the beach when crossing the Vilano Bridge or seeing a body of water on my home. It’s so relaxing, not to mention we’ve got some of the best musical venues and talent in the country!
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