The St. Johns County Education Foundation, Inc. which operates as INK! (Investing in Kids) has partnered with School Spirit Pays for eight years to create recurring revenue streams for funding from companies and community organizations which provide monthly contributions at no cost to their businesses.
School Spirit Pays, Inc. is a registered independent sales organization (ISO) of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
According to INK!’s Executive Director Donna Lueders, during the alliance, the nonprofit has received more than $16,000 from the ISO through a business credit card processing method that offers competitive rates and a donation of 25% of net revenues from the participating firm. Debit and credit card transactions yield earnings to support contributions for teachers and students in classrooms throughout St. Johns County.
“We greatly appreciate the donations from local and regional business owners who have selected our organization to supplement school funding,” Lueders said. “Budget shortfalls in education can have potentially devastating effects on the quality of education and we need this and many additional ongoing funding solutions now more important than ever.”
INK! is a nonprofit organization that provides innovated programs and classroom resources to support the academic success of St. Johns County public school students. The organization was established in 1994 after issues became apparent that local schools and teachers needed additional resources beyond what is provided by federal, state, local governments and parent associations.
“Demands for our services and programs are increasing exponentially as the student population continues to rise in our rapidly growing region,” Lueders said. “For the last several years, the student population has grown by a minimum of four percent annually. Additional students require more educators to be hired and district funds are bare bones.
“The problem is that students and teachers are suffering while working extremely hard every day to obtain the tools necessary for academic success. Today’s classrooms are less likely to be equipped to help all types of learners. Educators must look to outside resources for support.”
In 2020, INK! generated more than $840,000, which was directed back into classrooms to enhance public education in St. Johns County. With the School Spirit Pays donations, businesses are helping with the nonprofit’s activities to focus on providing students and teachers with items including the latest in technology, supplies, programs and services in learning, proper tools, funding and equipment, among many others.
“Our priorities with primarily underserved students include establishing connections between schools, the community, workplaces, and the global enterprise to inspire children’s abilities to compete in a local and worldwide economy,” Lueders said. “We have learned that students who start behind in school tend to stay behind without proper intervention. Early intervention with viable equipment and learning curriculum leads to higher graduation rates and, ultimately, better communities.”
INK! provides innovative resources to support academic success for all St. Johns County public schools to benefit 44,000 students and approximately 2,785 teachers. For more information, call Donna Lueders at (904) 547-7120, email Donna.Lueders@stjohns.k12.fl.us or go to www.ink-stjohns.org.