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Joe Berry has been appointed executive director of the Public Life Foundation of Owensboro (PLFO). Berry will begin his new role officially on June 14. The current executive director, David Boeyink, will return to a familiar role as a board member and a consultant for the organization.
“The foundation is moving from a part-time executive director to a full-time one. This will give us the extra capacity to see that our important investments for the community deliver outcomes,” said Bruce Hager, chair of the PLFO board. “The Prichard Committee, community partners, and the PLFO are undertaking a major initiative to improve early childhood education in Daviess County. Joe will help us move this project forward.”
The foundation has committed up to $4 million to improve access to quality early childhood education. At present, only 50 percent of all Daviess County children are academically ready when they enroll in kindergarten, according to state data.
“We know this needs to be a community effort involving everyone concerned about the future success of Daviess County’s children. Joe will be on the ground to help that happen.”
Berry has worked in various economic and community development roles in Owensboro. His experience at the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation and the Green River Area Development District gave him skills and knowledge for a nice transition into this new role.
“The evidence clearly demonstrates that the most effective investment our society can make with public or private dollars is to invest in our youngest children through pre-K and early childhood education,” Berry said. “Research shows that whatever we do for children in the first years of their lives has long-term benefits. The data is conclusive: positive results of quality early childhood education reach into adulthood, and create a stronger, diverse, and competitive local workforce.”
A great deal of work on this initiative has already been implemented under the leadership of David Boeyink, Berry said. Among many other examples, Boeyink advocated for PLFO’s financial support for The Center, a hub model for social services – one of which is early childhood development.
Boeyink is excited to have someone like Berry succeed him. “His strength of character and commitment to this community is just what PLFO needs to carry our Early Childhood Education Initiative to the next level,” Boeyink said.
For additional information please contact Bruce Hager, 513-378-3104, or Joe Berry, 270-314-7806.