Students across the Cedar Valley will benefit from Leader in Me for years to come thanks to a $150,000 John Deere Waterloo grant awarded to Leader Valley.

Over the past decade, John Deere Foundation and John Deere Waterloo have provided a cumulative $708,000 to expand Leader in Me from just two schools and under 1,000 students to 25 schools and 11,000 students and counting. John Deere’s generosity has changed the way schools are equipped to prepare their students to find success both in school and after graduation.

“On behalf of our Leader in Me schools and students across the Cedar Valley, we are grateful that John Deere Waterloo recognizes Leader Valley as compatible with their corporate priorities and worthy of continued investment,” says Dr. Melissa Reade, Director of Leader Valley. “This gift provides renewed support to existing Leader in Me schools, but it also allows us to expand the reach of leadership to other deserving schools and budding future leaders.”

John Deere Waterloo’s most recent grant award will help Leader Valley focus on expanding the reach of Leader in Me to low-income, at-risk schools in Waterloo. It will also help enhance programming for existing Leader in Me schools across our communities, including renewed efforts around social-emotional learning and resilience-building, career-based leadership opportunities, and equity.

“John Deere believes that the Leader Valley and their Leader in Me program provides a competitive advantage to the Cedar Valley,” says Matt Meyers, Business Unit Manager at John Deere Drivetrain Operations and Leader Valley board member. ‘The regional approach to the Leader in Me program is helping instill employability and leadership skills in our youth. This benefits the students that are learning these valuable skills and is an advantage for the local businesses these future leaders may someday work at. John Deere is proud to be a partner of Leader Valley.”