Dr. Don Pemberton grew up in São Paulo, Brazil. At an early age, he witnessed firsthand how a child’s life circumstances impact long-term success and well-being—for better or for worse. Incited to improve the lives of children, he moved to the United States and earned his PhD in Counselor Education from the University of South Florida. For a decade he taught and counseled children of all ages in the Pinellas County School District, many of whom faced serious life challenges. Since then, Don resolved to enact widespread and lasting change in the lives of all children through access to excellent education.
Don has been extremely successful in achieving this goal. For almost a decade, he was the president of the Pinellas Education Foundation, which creates innovative programs to enable tens of thousands of public school children to advance their educational, artistic, and cultural development. In 1995, Don founded Take Stock in Children, which has guaranteed college scholarships for more than 24,000 children in all 67 Florida counties, equating to $149 million dollars in Florida prepaid foundation scholarship assets.