Press Release

Former First Lady of Kentucky Jane Beshear Joins Board of America’s Promise Alliance

WASHINGTON, D.C. - America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest network dedicated to improving the lives of young people, announced today that the Former First Lady of Kentucky, Jane Beshear, has been elected to its board of directors. Beshear has dedicated her life to the service of others in her many roles as a businesswoman, educator, and community leader.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jane to our board,” said Alma J. Powell, board chair. “Jane is someone who leads by example taking her own motto of ‘personal responsibility’ and channeling it outward through her community service and philanthropic efforts.  Her unwavering enthusiasm for keeping young people a top priority as well as her ongoing support to increase graduation rates in the Commonwealth are just some of the ways she has served as a state leader.  We look forward to continuing this work with her in the years to come.”

During her years as First Lady, Beshear, a former teacher, committed herself to improving graduation rates and literacy in the Commonwealth, especially among vulnerable populations.

In 2008, she organized ‘Graduate Kentucky: A Community Approach,’ where she conducted regional summits at which advocates brought attention and solutions to the dropout crisis in Kentucky. These efforts led to a statewide action plan and ultimately the passage of legislation that raised Kentucky’s dropout age from 16 to 18. As part of these efforts, Beshear also hosted a GradNation Community Summit in Knox County, Ky., in June 2015.

In the area of literacy, Beshear sponsored an array of initiatives to encourage reading among both children and adults, including a week-long Kentucky Literacy Celebration; an annual “Feed the Mind” event that brought nearly 8,000 fourth and fifth grade students to the University of Kentucky’s Rupp Arena in 2015, her last year in office; a quarterly book list called “First Lady Reading Recommendations” that featured titles appropriate for ages 2-16; and partnerships with Scholastic Books and others that expanded libraries in impoverished school districts and regions. 

Beshear said she looked forward to working with the dynamic board at America’s Promise because it would let her continue her lifelong efforts.

“I have always admired America’s Promise both for its vision and for its commitment to helping all young people succeed,” Beshear said. “Kentucky has made great leaps forward in education over the last couple of decades because the public and private sectors collaborated to form a veritable army of education warriors. America’s Promise has been and will continue to be a key partner in Kentucky's success.”

As First Lady, Beshear showed a passion for community engagement and sustainability, including improving energy efficiency and conservation in state buildings; expanding breast cancer awareness and screenings; creating tourism attractions like horse-riding, biking and hiking trails; strengthening protections for dating couples against violence; expanding access to substance-abuse treatment, especially for youth; and promoting locally grown produce through the statewide Governor’s Garden project.  

The America’s Promise board, which now consists of 22 directors, provides strategic counsel regarding the organization’s mission and work, including the GradNation campaign, a national movement to raise the national high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020 and increase college enrollment and completion.  

For a full list of America’s Promise Alliance board members visit: www.AmericasPromise.org/board.

America’s Promise Alliance leads more than 400 organizations, communities and individuals dedicated to making the promise of America real for every child. As its signature effort, the GradNation campaign mobilizes Americans to increase the on-time high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020 and prepare young people for postsecondary enrollment and the 21st century workforce.  www.AmericasPromise.org