Jon Ellis was recently selected to receive the Business Leader Advocate Award from the Missouri Alliance for Children, Youth and Families. Mr. Ellis will receive the award at the 36th annual Missouri Child Advocacy Day, scheduled for April 3 in Jefferson City.
Mr. Ellis has been a supporter of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District for several decades. He was nominated by Kerry Boehm, principal of the Great Beginnings Early Education Center, who praised Mr. Ellis for his positive impact on children and families involved in the district’s early childhood programs.
His partnership with the early education program began when his children were enrolled in Parents As Teachers. Both Jon and his wife, Juli, have made numerous donations to the early childhood program ranging from a copy machine to funding for a speech/language pathologist to better serve children. The speech/language pathologist funded through the Ellis family has benefitted close to 3,600 children and their families since 2002.
Mr. and Mrs. Ellis served as co-chairpersons for the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation’s capital campaign that raised approximately one third of the funding for Great Beginning Early Education Center. One-third of the cost of the center came as a matching grant challenge from an anonymous donor with the remaining third funded through a voter-approved no-tax-increase bond issue. This charitable capital campaign for a school district facility is unique among public school districts.
Currently, Mr. Ellis serves on the Community Advisory Board for Great Beginnings and has served as a Lee’s Summit R-7 School District business partner for more than 20 years. Through Paradise Park, Mr. Ellis frequently hosts professional development opportunities for school staff while allowing Lee’s Summit R-7 early childhood programs access to Paradise Park at a reduced or no-cost rate.
“Jon’s continued connectedness brings our early education community grant and advocacy opportunities on a very regular basis,” said Mrs. Boehm in the nomination. “ We believe his knowledge, passion and dedication to early education has and does significantly impact families and children in our community.”
A Lee’s Summit resident, Mr. Ellis is the owner of Paradise Park. He has also been active in the community for many years including serving as an officer and member of numerous civic organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Council, Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation, Rotary Club, Commerce Bank Advisory Board, Lee’s Summit R-7 Citizens’ Advisory Committee, City of Lee’s Summit strategic planning committee and Lee’s Summit R-7 Business Roundtable. Mr. and Mrs. Ellis are also active members of the Lee’s Summit Optimist Club and participate in numerous organization efforts designed to assist schools and students.
Jon Ellis is pictured with Tracy Halphin, Lee’s Summit R-7 lead parent educator, following the state presentation.