JA names future OCC student-training center after Karl & Mary Flemke
Below the noprofit organization's name are the words, in raised letters: “Karl & Mary Flemke Center for Free Enterprise.”
The sign was unveiled July 11 after a brief dedication ceremony with 50-some attendees that included John Suthers, mayor of Colorado Springs; Thayer Tutt and Bill Hybl, president and chairman/CEO, respectively, of the El Pomar Foundation; and several members of the Flemke family.
From 1982 until his death in 1994 at age 63, Karl Flemke was the national president of Junior Achievement USA, greatly expanding the organization's reach, according to speakers at the dedication event. Flemke's tenure included the 1987 relocation of JA USA's national headquarters from Connecticut to Colorado Springs.
“He had an impact on millions of kids,” commented Ted Mossman of Colorado Business Bank, the current board chair of Junior Achievement of Southern Colorado. “It's a noble and worthy way to spend your life.”
JA is a nonprofit that provides programs about entrepreneurship to elementary and secondary students.
JA USA is the parent organization of JA SoCo, which has existed in the Pikes Peak region since 1954. Serving nearly 50 Colorado counties, the latter organization moved to 2320 W. Colorado Ave. in 2014 with the plan to remodel part of the building's interior for a “Center for Free Enterprise,” which will consist of an interactive “Biz Town” for fifth-graders and a “Finance Park” for eighth-graders.
Mary Flemke was the head of Colorado Springs School from 1989 to 2000, worked with the Boys & Girls Club and also served as a cabinet member for the ongoing, multi-year, $4 million capital campaign to build the center. She was unable to attend the dedication because of a lingering illness, according to Carrie McKee, the president and CEO of JA SoCo.
The decision to name the center after Mary and Karl was based in part on the number of campaign donations people had made in their behalf, McKee said. The dedication program showed more than 20 contributing sources.
The Finance Park was named last year for Gilbert E. Johnson, founder of the local GE Johnson Construction Company, following a large donation.
McKee clarified that the capital campaign's fundraising goal, which previously had been announced as $3.9 million, is now “closer to $4 million” due to increased costs and “unforeseen needs.”
All but $500,000 has been raised at this point, McKee said, adding her hope that the campaign will meet its goals by spring 2018, which would allow the remodel to begin.
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