Audrey Suker Receives 50 Over 50 Award

ServeMinnesota CEO recognized for leadership of AmeriCorps programs in Minnesota

 Minneapolis, Minn. – Audrey Suker, CEO of ServeMinnesota, joins 49 other Minnesotans recognized by AARP Minnesota and Pollen Midwest in celebration of their innovations and improvements to the community. Suker, nominated by her staff and members of the ServeMinnesota board of directors, received a 50 Over 50 Award in the Nonprofit category.

Now in its second year, the 50 Over 50 Award recognizes ten leaders over age 50 from across the state in each of five categories: Disruptors, Arts, Nonprofit, Community, and Business. AARP and Pollen celebrate the positive impact these people have on our businesses, nonprofits, and communities today as they “are shattering myths about aging and writing their own rules.”

Suker leads ServeMinnesota, the state’s administrator for AmeriCorps programs. During her tenure, the number of opportunities for Minnesotans to serve their community has more than tripled, state support for AmeriCorps has increased from $900,000 annually to more than $7 million, and private funds have increased from $75,000 to $2.5 million. The nomination called Suker a “fierce advocate for finding innovative solutions that address unsolved problems,” such as the rate of early literacy failure in Minnesota. Suker’s vision led to the creation of Minnesota Reading Corps, a statewide initiative to ensure all children are reading proficiently by the end of third grade. Today, the program has tutors in 900 elementary schools and early learning centers across Minnesota, 11 additional states and Washington, D.C., making it the largest AmeriCorps tutoring program nationally.

The success of Reading Corps led to ServeMinnesota’s other strategic initiative Minnesota Math Corps to address wide achievement gaps in math. A recent study shows Math Corps helps students make progress 2-3 months in advance of their expected trajectory within a semester. Through these two programs, Suker has influenced the lives of thousands of children across the state.

Suker knew about the nomination only after it was submitted and found the gesture by the staff and board members who contributed as rewarding as the award itself. She said she’s not one for the spotlight. “The people who have served our state as AmeriCorps members are deserving of an award,” she said. “They’ve invested their energy and passion – and millions of hours – to support the education of Minnesota’s children, protect our environment, and help adults find stability in work and housing.” She adds that many of them are over 50, too!

Celebrating with Audrey Suker at the ceremony was Alice Seagren, former Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education and a driving force behind the creation of Reading Corps (photo).

Celebrating with Audrey Suker at the ceremony was Alice Seagren, former Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education and a driving force behind the creation of Reading Corps (photo).

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About ServeMinnesota

ServeMinnesota is a catalyst to address critical needs in Minnesota by working with AmeriCorps members and community partners. As a nonprofit organization, it improves the lives of Minnesotans by offering life-changing service opportunities to thousands of individuals who focus on education, affordable housing, employment, or the environment. Because of its strong partnerships with private and public funders, including the Minnesota Department of Education, ServeMinnesota has created two innovative strategic initiatives, Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps, that are working to close the achievement gap and help struggling students become successful learners. Combining the people power of AmeriCorps with research-based strategies, ServeMinnesota addresses the most intractable problems and shares its proven practices nationally. For more information, visit www.serveminnesota.org.