President of The Education Fund to be Honored for Contributions
to Public Education in South Florida
November marks Linda Lecht’s 30th anniversary as the CEO of the nonprofit.
MIAMI LAKES, Fla. (Nov. 6, 2017) – The American Red Cross of Greater Miami & The Keys will honor Linda Lecht, president of The Education Fund, on Thursday at the 24th Annual Sara Hoffman Woodruff Spectrum Awards luncheon recognizing outstanding women whose efforts have made significant contributions to the quality of life in South Florida.
Lecht, who will receive the Bank of America Education Award, will be among 11 women celebrated for their professional contributions and leadership. The Spectrum award comes as The Education Fund board of directors and staff also honor Lecht for dedicating 30 years to ensuring children succeed as president of The Education Fund.
When Lecht took the helm of the organization in November 1987, the nonprofit had one program and a budget of $80,000. Today, the organization has provided more than $50 million in funds and services to transform local schools.
Lecht’s entrepreneurial spirit inspired the nonprofit to launch an array of innovative programs that have won numerous awards including NBCUniversal’s 21st Century Solutions Award, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Novo Award for Nonprofit Excellence, and a $100,000 Sapphire Prize for program results that reduce health disparities for low-income communities, among others.
“Education has played a huge role throughout my life. As a child, the dream of going to college is what saved my life,” says Lecht, who dropped out of the high school for a short time before turning her life around, getting a Bachelor of Science degree from Duke University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. “Today, I’m focused on ensuring that students of all backgrounds receive the best education possible. I know first-hand the difference it can make. I want to make that kind of difference for kids in our public schools.”
Lecht’s vision of a better education led to an array of groundbreaking programs. Here’s a look at some of the most effective and well-known programs created by The Education Fund:
• Food Forests for Schools – The first of its kind in the nation, this program transforms the school garden movement into one that builds forests on school grounds filled with super foods. These outdoor learning labs have provided 50,000 harvest bags for families, enhanced 1,000 school cafeterias meals, and improved students eating by 50 percent and their science scores by 80 percent.
• Ocean Bank Center for Educational Materials – For 25 years, the warehouse has provided local teachers with free supplies thanks to donations from corporations. More than $8 million in supplies distributed have benefitted more than a million students. This was the first school supply warehouse in the nation.
• Family Tech – A technology program that provided 10,000 families with home computers and training. The school district used Family Tech as inspiration that led to the district’s effort to give every student a device.
• SmartPath – Designed to improve college access through college clubs, college trips, parental workshops, student aid marathons, and more, this program has improved college enrollment by 34 percent.
• Ideas with IMPACT – Teacher professional development program that provides grants to educators to create innovative classroom projects and adapt new ideas. Ideas with IMPACT also produces the largest annual teacher professional development conference highlighting successful classroom practices.
About The Education Fund
With the private sector’s support, The Education Fund develops and implements innovative programs and methods to improve education in Miami-Dade’s public schools and inform the community about public education. Our programs support all 400+ public schools, 20,000+ teachers and 345,000 students. For more information, visit www.educationfund.org.