LEF’s Innovation Celebration:
Celebrating and Supporting Creativity and the Entrepreneurial Spirit
The Ladue Education Foundation (LEF) hosted its annual spring fundraiser at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center on April 28, 2017. This year’s event was entitled Innovation Celebration and brought together approximately 250 Ladue School District parents, alumni and community members to celebrate and support innovation in the district.
The featured speaker was Jim McKelvey, Ladue Horton Watkins High School (LHWHS) class of 1983, an entrepreneur best known for co-founding the mobile payments company, Square. Jim is also the founder of Third Degree Glass Company, co-founder of Cultivation Capital, and the founder of the nonprofit LaunchCode Foundation, which addresses the worldwide shortage of programmers.
Jim says he holds the belief that “nothing is impossible and that problems are beautiful things.” He relishes opportunities to address big challenges with breakthrough ideas, driven by his personal motto: “If not you, then who; if not now, then when.”
In recounting his experience as a student in the Ladue Schools, Jim says: “Ladue taught me how to learn and how to acquire knowledge. I also learned to write well.” Jim says his writing skills gave him access to opportunities and “people smarter than me” which he says has been key to his success.
The event also featured an “Innovation Corridor,” composed of interactive booths to showcase innovation in the St. Louis region -- as represented by Monsanto, Climate, 39 North, and Arch Grants, as well as by district students and staff. The corridor also displayed potential opportunities that will be offered through the establishment of a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) Learning Library, one of the fundraising goals of the event.
The STEM Learning Library will provide teachers, grades preK-12, with classroom activities, learning opportunities and specialized equipment to create additional student engineering/technology experiences and cross-curricular integration, as well as support an inquiry-based teaching model.
Guests were also treated to a live music performance by the band Los Hacienda Boys comprised of Ladue School District parents.
Proceeds generated by event sponsorships, raffle sales, and a live auction will be used to help enhance educational programming and opportunities in all district schools.
Keynote Speaker: Jim McKelvey, Ladue School District alumnus and Co-Founder of Square.