Student education nonprofit needs donations by Oct. 16 deadline

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INK! (Investing in Kids) is seeking donors to help it in its mission to benefit local students’ education.

The nonprofit provides innovative programs and classroom resources to support academic success for all St. Johns County public schools. 

In 2019, INK! was one of 16 winners in A Community Thrives, a grant-making and crowd-funding program from the USA Today Network and a part of the Gannett Foundation for $25,000 to benefit its Five Learning Years (FLY) program.

FLY is designed to improve children’s school readiness with the goal of increasing graduation rates.

For the 2020 grant request, public donations are being sought by the Oct. 16 deadline. The grant award would continue support of FLY, helping to ensure all St. Johns County children, regardless of socio-economic circumstances are ready for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.

“Children who start behind tend to stay behind without the proper intervention, and the gap increases over time,” said Donna Lueders, INK! executive director. “It is crucial that children receive the support they need at the earliest age possible to close the literacy gap, improve confidence and increase graduation rates.”

Early intervention leads to higher graduation rates and, ultimately, better communities, according to Lueders. She believes that her organization can provide the tools to close the literacy gap and the opportunity to support many children and their academic journeys to success.

“2020 has made a significant impact on St. Johns County students’ lives,” she said. “With extended school closures due to the pandemic, the summer slide has become evident. The FLY program has proven successful year after year, with students improving by 100 percent on literacy screenings after program intervention.”

Local donors will play a critical role in helping the nonprofit succeed again this year. INK! needs to win its funding category in education with donors who contribute a minimum of $5 at https://acommunitythrives.mightycause.com/organization/St-Johns-County-Education-Foundation.

“If we have the most donors, we can receive a bonus of $5,000,” Lueders said. “We have donations totaling $1,945 and need $4,055 to qualify by Oct. 16. INK! must be a top fundraiser in its classification to win either $50,000 or $100,000. For this campaign, we have been targeting donations on social media and directly to our donors, and now we ask the entire community for help.”

For further information, go to ink-stjohns.org.

The INK! office is located at 1 Christopher St. in St. Augustine.

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