Working together through continuous learning to improve the quality of life for all in DeKalb County, Indiana
An education initiative of the Community Foundation of DeKalb County

Program to promote early education

Written March 14th, 2014 by
Categories: In The News

The Star, Friday, March 14, 2014

AUBURN — Business and community leaders in DeKalb County will learn the economic benefits of early childhood education March 25 from 5:30- 7:30 p.m. at Metal Technologies’ corporate headquarters, 1401 S. Grandstaff Drive, Auburn,

Hosts for the event are Vicki James, co-founder of the Rick L. and Vicki James Foundation Inc., and Jeffrey Turner, senior vice president of Metal Technologies. They are joining with Learning Link DeKalb County and United Way DeKalb County to provide an opportunity to view last month’s early childhood education summit, held in Indianapolis and streamed statewide.

Guests will view the video, “Are We Crazy About Our Kids?” that describes the long-term economic impacts of early childhood education.

It will be followed by a prerecorded commentary from keynote speaker Robert Dugger, cofounder of ReadyNation, and questions and answers moderated by Gerry Dick, host of Inside Indiana Business.

“We have to invest in our kids if we expect to sustain economic growth in DeKalb County. It starts in their early years to provide a base for success in school and in their careers,” said Turner, a member of the Learning Link Steering Committee.

Judy Sorg, director of Learning Link, an education initiative of Community Foundation DeKalb County, plans to use the presentation to educate and motivate DeKalb County leaders to act.

“Business and community leaders play major roles in our community,” said Sorg. “Every business and community leader can impact the education of our youth. It’s not just the responsibility of our educators.”

Dugger is a venture capital investor and a retired partner in a hedge fund. He started seeing the need for better early childhood education and decided to act.

His main goal now is to get business leaders to support high-return investment spending in children, prenatal to age 5, to boost the economy and future workforce.

“Quality is critical. We need to graduate as many ready-for-life 18-year-olds as possible; the starting point is delivering ready-for-school 5-year-olds,” Dugger said in his address last month.

Studies cited in the video, such as the Perry Preschool Study, showed a 50 percent drop in crime and a 7-10 percent return per year from each child who received quality early education.

To learn more about the impact of early childhood learning, people can visit and watch “The Raising of America: Are We Crazy About Our Kids?”, or go to

For more information about the March 25 event, contact Sorg at the Community Foundation office, 925-0311, or by email at

To register for the meeting, contact Julie Isbell at the community foundation,, or phone 925-0311, by Friday, March 21.