Flag of Learning & Liberty Award: Public Life Foundation of Owensboro

The Kentucky School Public Relations Association recognized the Public Life Foundation of Owensboro (PLFO) as the 2014 recipient of the Flag and Learning & Liberty Award for its work and outstanding support of public education and children.

Founded 18 years ago by John and Marjorie Hager, the foundation has made education an important priority. The Public Life Foundation of Owensboro has been extremely generous in its financial support to education, but has gone far beyond financial donations to bring a voice to the community through many opportunities for public input on everything from economic development to reading programs for children.

The late John Hager and his family are former owners of the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer. The Hager Family has been a driving force in the Goodfellows Club, which has been reaching out to Daviess County’s less fortunate children since 1916 providing clothing, shoes, coats, dental care, and Christmas joy.

The Public Life Foundation came as a natural outgrowth of John Hager and Marjorie Hager’s desire to continue contributing to the needs and growth of the Owensboro, Daviess County and surrounding area. The Foundation continues under the leadership of Board members Sally Hager Wood, Bruce Hager, Susie Hager Alford, Stewart Hager, William Speciale, and Foundation President Rodney Berry.

PLFO revitalized and provided administrative support for the Citizens Committee on Education (CCE), an advocacy group that was instrumental in attracting the Owensboro Community College and advancing many educational projects in Owensboro – Daviess County.

The CCE commissioned a study to examine the needs and opportunities in local higher education. Consequently, Daviess County government purchased land to construct a new Western Kentucky University – Owensboro building and campus to better accommodate and attract students for their final two years at a public institution.

PLFO was one of the first institutions to endorse the merger of the state community college system and the state vocational schools.

Among the education projects PLFO has very generously supported:

· New Tech school (project-based learning) to serve Owensboro Area High School Students from surrounding counties

· BOLD scholarship fund with matching incentive

· Imagination Library providing free books to children from birth

· The Owensboro Public Schools Summer Reading Camp in 2014 and funding the Owensboro READS literacy initiative

· Town Meetings 2007 and 2010 one of the top subjects was education

· Provided grant for stipend Regional Alliance for Education

· Early childhood education meeting June 2013

· Step up for Kids (in collaboration with Kentucky Youth Advocates) October 2013

· Reading Symposium November 2013

Thank you to the PLFO for their work, making a difference in the lives of children.

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