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New Board, New Momentum

The Children’s Movement of Florida is proud to announce its expanded board of directors - 13 influential business and community leaders who are committed to making Florida the best state in the nation for young children.

The board will provide strategic leadership and oversight of the non-partisan organization, whose mission is to advocate for making young children the state’s highest priority through increased investment in their early education and health care.

David Lawrence Jr., retired publisher of The Miami Herald, will continue as chair of the non-profit movement, which he began in 2010. His many achievements include leading the 2002 campaign for a constitutional amendment that created a free, Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) program to better prepare 4-year-olds for their K-12 schooling and beyond.

"I've served on a bunch of boards over many decades,” said Lawrence, of Miami. “Never have I served with so many good people who have lived lives of success and are committed to all children having that same chance."

The other board members include:

  • Carol Jenkins Barnett, of Lakeland, chair and president of Publix Super Markets Charities and longtime benefactor of the statewide ReadingPals early literacy program.
  • Wesley Barnett, of Lakeland, an entrepreneur who holds key leadership positions in several technology, retail and entertainment companies.
  • Tony Carvajal, of Tallahassee, executive vice president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which helps find solutions to future challenges facing the state.
  • Gary Chartrand, of Jacksonville, executive chairman of Acosta Inc., and a member and former chair of the Florida Board of Education.
  • George Fernandez, of Miami, a health-care industry entrepreneur and now founder and president of a medical transportation start-up called Ride2MD.
  • Toni Jennings, of Orlando, former lieutenant governor of Florida and state Senate president, who now chairs a family-owned construction services company.
  • Gerald Katcher, of Miami, former chair of United National and Mellon United banks and co-founder of the Early Childhood Initiative Foundation.
  • Dr. Jane Katcher, of Miami, a retired pediatric radiologist and co-founder of the Early Childhood Initiative with husband Gerald and Lawrence.
  • Ron Sachs, of Tallahassee, president and CEO of the Sachs Media Group and a former senior communications chief for Florida Govs. Reubin Askew and Lawton Chiles.
  • Bentina Terry, of Pensacola, vice president for customer service and sales at Gulf Power Co. She also serves on several boards, including Leadership Florida and the Florida Chamber Foundation.
  • Susan Towler, of Jacksonville, vice president of the Florida Blue Foundation and the company’s executive director of corporate social responsibility and philanthropic strategy.
  • Tom Van Straaten, of Miami, former chemical company CEO and a longtime supporter of early learning and music organizations, including the Aspen Music Festival and School.

More detailed profiles can be found at http://childrensmovementflorida.org/who_we_are/board/.

Children’s Movement CEO Vance Aloupis, who oversees the day-to-day operations, will report to the board.

For more information, please contact Communications Director Bob Radziewicz at 786-347-1137 (o) or 305-609-6018 (c).