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National Math and Science Initiative Appoints First Chief Development Officer

New role puts focus on diversifying funding to reach more students

DALLAS – Sept. 29, 2020 – The National Math and Science Initiative has named veteran fundraiser Laure O’Neal as its first chief development officer, charging her and a restructured fundraising team with diversifying the organization’s funding sources.
NMSI was founded in 2007 with generous support from the ExxonMobil Foundation, Texas Instruments Foundation and other corporate and philanthropic organizations. It continues to receive financial support from those and other organizations and is expanding its fundraising to more quickly reach additional students, teachers and school systems across the country.
“Laure brings two decades of experience in connecting corporate, foundation and individual givers with academic institutions and other organizations that support individuals and communities,” said NMSI CEO Bernard A. Harris, Jr. “I’m excited about the energy and expertise Laure brings to secure new support to reach more communities with our programs.”
NMSI started a transition in 2018 from primarily in-person supports and trainings for teachers, students and school leaders to a blended approach that incorporates more on-demand and digital learning. The organization accelerated that transition in March. In July, the organization reached a record number of educators participating in summer professional development programs with NMSI.
“One of the things that excites me about NMSI is that it actually sped up and delivered more service during this unprecedented time,” O’Neal said. “No one was prepared for everything that the pandemic has thrown at us, but NMSI was already on a smart path to reaching more students and teachers and NMSI staff showed incredible flexibility and innovation in not missing a beat in service of our mission.”
For more than 12 years, NMSI has increased access and achievement in math, science, computer science and English education for students across the country, particularly for students furthest from opportunity. The organization is committed to doing the hard work needed to eradicate opportunity gaps and increase college access and success so our next generation can more successfully realize its dreams.
“We believe the fight for social justice starts with education and we believe STEM education is the greatest lever to unlocking student potential,” Harris said. “By increasing access and achievement in STEM education, particularly for Black, Latino and female students, we are opening more opportunities for all students.”
O’Neal has more than 25 years of experience as fundraising professional for a variety of organizations. A Fort Worth native living in Mesa, Ariz., she will oversee the organization’s fundraising, business development and external affairs, marketing and communications teams.
“The work we are doing is having generational impact,” O’Neal said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to help raise awareness about the results our program partners are seeing and to working with donors of all sizes to illustrate the value of their investments in NMSI.”
NMSI has top-ratings from Charity Navigator and GuideStar. Its audited financial statements show that 86 cents of each $1 supports program development and delivery.
About NMSI
NMSI’s work creates increased opportunities and better outcomes for all students, contributing to the foundation of anti-racism, social justice, economic prosperity and national security. The non-profit engages with school systems based on local priorities and uses evidenced-based programming and constantly evolving best practices. NMSI focuses on the ecosystem, engaging communities and families and changing leadership mindsets and local practices to embed equity into NMSI schools. Learn more at nms.org.
Media Contacts
Juan Elizondo, jelizondo@nms.org or 214-346-1249