Jeremiah Program Austin Launches Partnership with Child Inc, Support from Luci Baines Johnson

Ms. Johnson during her keynote address.

Jeremiah Program Austin and Child Inc have entered into a partnership to expand services at Jeremiah’s Child Development Center.
The partnership has allowed Jeremiah to open a classroom for toddlers aged 18-24 months and was initiated by a substantial gift from Luci Baines Johnson.

The partnership is aligned with Child Inc’s goal of establishing innovative collaborations with existing nonprofits to leverage Early Head Start resources, training and standards as well as to create additional access for quality early childhood development.

Ms. Johnson made her gift to honor the legacy of her father, President Johnson and his establishment of the national Head Start program in 1965. In celebration of Head Start Awareness Month and to launch the toddler classroom, the organizations hosted an Open House on October 12 at Jeremiah’s campus at 1200 Paul Teresa Saldana Street, and Ms. Johnson gave a brief keynote address and read to the children in the new classroom.

Shannon Moody, Jeremiah Program Austin Executive Director, Luci Baines Johnson, and Albert Black, Executive Director Child Inc. 

Jeremiah Program Announces New Chief Advancement Officer

Jeremiah Program is pleased to announce its new hire, Debra Wilken, as the Chief Advancement Officer (CAO). Wilken has spent the better part of three decades with The Salvation Army Northern Division Minnesota & North Dakota, where she previously served as the Executive Development Director.

“A hallmark of an effective development professional is an ability to inspire others, said Jeremiah Program CEO, Gloria Perez. “Deb is mission-aligned and a believer in the power of education and community to transform lives, two generations at a time. Her enthusiasm for Jeremiah Program’s strategic direction and her desire to partner with colleagues across the country will make us stronger.”

In addition to extensive expertise in fundraising, Wilken brings marketing and communications, training, and volunteer development experience to Jeremiah’s national office. Prior experience also includes Professor of Record at Olivet Nazarene University. Wilken earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in Organizational Management from Concordia University, Saint Paul, Minn.

With a proven track record for fundraising, including major and planned gifts, endowments, corporate and foundation giving, Wilken is the ideal fit for continuing Jeremiah’s mission and vision for national expansion.

“Miraculous transformations are happening for families through the Jeremiah Program,” said Wilken. “It’s an honor to help donors align their desires with the outstanding outcomes of Jeremiah.”

Wilken will officially start with Jeremiah on October 29, 2018.

Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Mette

This month we are kicking off our Volunteer Spotlight series, to honor our volunteers who give so much of their time and talent to Jeremiah Program. Our first profile is on Mette Lundsgaard, Jeremiah Program Volunteer Extraordinaire.


Mette Lundsgaard, Jeremiah Program Austin, Volunteer

How did you hear about Jeremiah Program?
My sister, who lives in Minneapolis, was familiar with the program and recommended I look into the Austin efforts.


How long have you been volunteering at Jeremiah Program?
Started fall of 2015, three years!


What do you love most about volunteering at Jeremiah Program? 
The program itself – the focus on education for both moms and kids.


Please share a favorite memory/funny story while volunteering. 
My favorite memory is August 2017, super-hot days, moms coming in about 5:30 worn out from work, school, bus riding, all of the above – and then the joy on their faces when they pick up their child.


Please share a fun fact about you!
Travel, travel, travel.  I have been to 63 countries – and planning a few more in 2019!


Thank you so much, Mette, for all that you do to help Jeremiah Program families. Stay tuned to see our next Volunteer Spotlight, and please visit if you’re interested in becoming a Jeremiah volunteer.