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Passing the Torch: My Journey as Executive Director of Spark Foundation Comes to an End


It is with mixed emotions that I inform you of my decision to step down as executive director of Spark Foundation, effective May 30th, 2023. In the wake of COVID-19 and its disproportionate impact on the population of students we support, it is clear that Spark Foundation has immense value and is a needed resource. Over the last few months, it has become evident that the best way for Spark to continue to grow in Des Moines is to have local leadership that will continue the mission we started five years ago.


I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served as Spark Foundation's executive director. I started Spark in February of 2018, after two years of working at scholastic book fairs and witnessing the lack of diverse books, the disappointed faces of children who were unable to purchase books, and the teachers who, without fail, would show up after conferences to buy books for students they knew would be unable to purchase their own. These experiences showed me that, as a community, there was an incredible opportunity to not only help the most underserved students in Des Moines Public Schools by removing the economic barrier of entry but also to ensure that all students get the opportunity to see themselves reflected within the books we promote. It is with your help that Spark was able to donate over 14,000 books within five years.

 

While I will greatly miss working with the teachers and administrators with whom I have developed close relationships, please know that Spark Foundation will continue to operate and serve the community under fresh leadership with exciting new ideas. I am pleased to announce that Larry Twitty will be taking on the role of executive director, effective June 1st. Larry has been part of Spark Foundation since the beginning and has demonstrated a deep commitment to our mission and the community we serve. I am confident he will continue leading Spark Foundation to new heights.

 

I cannot begin to thank our many donors, sponsors, and program champions for your unwavering support. Without your help and encouragement, none of what we have started would be possible.

 

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve as executive director of Spark Foundation. I wish the organization continued success and impact in the years to come.

 

Sincerely,

 

Akil Clark

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