Posted July 2022

Janet Verden is well aware of the positive impact high-quality early education can have on children’s learning and development.

The KU Board Member’s three children, Will, Hugo and Gemma, all attended KU John J. Carroll Preschool in Surry Hills from 2009 – 2016.

“We had an amazing experience at KU John J. Carroll. The talented and nurturing educators ensured every child felt a sense of worth and belonging. They forged strong partnerships with parents and carers to help each child thrive,” said Janet.

The family’s positive experience at the preschool inspired Janet, a highly experienced Strategy and Transformation Executive, to apply for a KU Board position where she now serves as Chair of Education Committee and Member of Audit and Risk Management Committee.

“Seeing the value of early childhood education first hand and the impact it had on my children, while learning not all children can assess early childhood education, made me want to join KU in 2011 and I’m privileged to still be a Board Member today,” said Janet.

This September, Janet is challenging herself by taking on a six-day trek through part of the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory to help raise funds for the KU Marcia Burgess Foundation. The charity helps improve access to early education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

“I enjoy doing multi-day treks as a way of experiencing different parts Australia with friends and this will be my first trip to central Australia,” said Janet. “So, I’m looking forward to experiencing the rugged and spectacular ancient landscape and learning about its rich Indigenous history.”

Janet will be walking the 120km trail with her husband and friends and together they have set the goal of raising $10,000 for the KU Marcia Burgess Foundation.

Janet decided to support the Foundation as she is passionate about the idea that access to high-quality early education can hold the greatest potential for improved outcomes for children.

“During my time at KU, I became aware and saddened that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 2.5 times as likely as other children to be developmentally disadvantaged when they start school,” she said.

“By providing them with access to quality early childhood education, it is one important way to help address this issue.”

“And I can make an impact by taking part in this trek and raising some much-needed funds. It will help the Foundation to continue their important work,” said Janet.

Donations made to the KU Marcia Burgess Foundation help strengthen opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to succeed now and in the future by improving access to early education; providing culturally safe and positive learning experiences; and supporting the development of career pathways that increase the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the early education sector.

The Foundation is realising this through a range of initiatives including supporting community-led programs and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; alleviating the costs for health assessments for children’s access to NDIS benefits and paediatric allied health services; fee relief assistance for early education and care to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families; and more.

You can help Janet reach her fundraising goal of $10,000 by visiting

Your donation will help make the KU Difference where it matters most.

For more information about the Foundation and its initiatives visit