The Forman S. Acton Educational Foundation announced that its Board of Trustees has appointed board member Larry Van Meter as its new President and Chief Executive Officer effective January 1, 2019. Current President and CEO of the Foundation, Kathryn Markovchick, will continue to serve on the Board of Trustees following her retirement.
Van Meter joined the Forman S. Acton Educational Foundation Board of Trustees in 2015, and during that time, he has served as the chair of the Foundation’s Scholarship and Grants Committees, leading the decision to choose each year’s cohort of Forman Scholars. In his new role as President and CEO, Van Meter will be responsible for developing effective programming, grant-making and grant management strategies, as well as asset investment management and financial administration strategies, that are aligned with the Foundation’s vision and mission.
“I joined the Foundation as a board member three years ago because I wanted to be a part of an organization that makes a significant impact on students and children in Salem, and because I believe deeply in the importance and value of higher education to today’s young people,” said Van Meter. “Moving forward, I am focused on reaching even more families in the area and furthering our ability to inspire, educate, and empower Salem youth. I couldn’t be more excited about the future of this organization.”
Van Meter has worked in education as a teacher and administrator for 31 years, most recently serving as Head of School at Moorestown Friends School in Moorestown, New Jersey, for 17 years before retiring from the position in the summer of 2018. Prior to that, his career included seven years as Headmaster of the Darrow School in New Lebanon, New York, five years as Director of Advancement at George School in Newtown, Pennsylvania, and two years as a teacher at The Mountain School in Vermont. In 2018, in celebration of his Headship at Moorestown Friends School, the Van Meter Camden Scholars Endowment was established by the Moorestown Friends School board as a permanent testament to his vision for and personal dedication to the Camden Scholars Program. To date, the school community of Moorestown Friends, led by the School Committee, has raised more than $1.75 million in honor of Van Meter to benefit students in the Camden Scholars Program.
“Under Kathryn’s vision and leadership during the past four years, the Foundation has grown tremendously and has greatly assisted students with scholarships and college savings plans,” said Van Meter. “As someone who knew Dr. Acton personally, she was the ideal person to lead this organization and build it from the ground up. While we’re all sad that she is stepping away from leading the Foundation, we are fortunate that she will remain on our board to be a trusted resource for me, and the organization, as we work to fulfill Dr. Acton’s ’s vision to improve the lives of young people in Salem.”
Prior to becoming President and CEO of the Forman S. Acton Educational Foundation in 2014, Markovchick served for many years as a special education teacher, administrator, faculty member and president of the non-profit Syntiro in Readfield, Maine. In 2009, she began working directly with Dr. Acton to assist him as he anonymously funded college scholarships for a select Salem High School graduate each year from 2009-2014. Upon Dr. Acton’s passing in 2014, he left approximately $30 million to benefit Salem’s youth. A South Jersey native, Markovchick worked with her father and the executor of Dr. Acton’s estate, Herb Fithian, to establish a foundation that could fund programs to benefit Salem’s youth and continue providing scholarships to students for the long term.
Under her guidance, the Foundation has grown to support more than 900 students and children across Salem with college scholarships, college savings accounts, and grants for after school, summer programming and early childhood initiatives.
“I consider myself very fortunate to have worked closely with such a gifted and generous individual in Dr. Acton to identify and reward youth with high academic ability in Salem with college scholarships, and then, after his passing, to help bring his initial vision to reality with the creation of the foundation in his name,” said Markovchick. “This is the perfect time for me to step away to spend more time with my family and friends, and I know with Larry as our new President and CEO, I leave the Foundation in very capable and experienced hands.”
Since the Forman S. Acton Educational Foundation’s inception, more than $5 million has been allocated to fund college scholarships, grants and college savings accounts for children and important organizations across the Salem area. To date, nearly 900 Acorn Fund college savings accounts have been opened to help children and families currently living or attending public school in Salem City begin to save for college.