Vicki Burkhart Served as a Transformational Visionary for Kids’ Chance of America

Two Decades of Service to Kids’ Chance Come to an End

Vicki Burkhart Served as a Transformational Visionary for Kids’ Chance of America

Vicki Burkhart Served as a Transformational Visionary for Kids’ Chance of America

Two Decades of Service to Kids’ Chance Come to an End

Over the past 22 years, Vicki Burkhart has been navigating the success of Kids’ Chance at both the state and national levels. At Kids’ Chance of America (KCOA), she led the transition from 19 loosely knit state organizations to an established national nonprofit organization that plays a transformational role in the lives of children with a parent who has been injured on the job.

Vicki is the recipient of the 2023 Robert M. Clyatt Distinguished Service Award, named for Kids’ Chance founder Bob Clyatt and presented annually to a member of the Kids’ Chance community who has gone above and beyond in service. Her crowning achievement was bringing Kids’ Chance to all 50 states, a goal accomplished in 2022 with the establishment of Kids’ Chance of Wyoming (KCWY).

“Reaching a presence in all 50 states seemed to be an almost insurmountable task,” Vicki recalled. “We developed a step-by-step guide including all the governmental paperwork needed to create a Kids’ Chance state organization. This significantly accelerated the expansion of Kids’ Chance into additional states by providing a strong process for volunteers to follow.”

A Look Back Through the Eyes of Past Presidents

Vicki credits much of her success to the incredible leadership at the board level which led to strong, effective partnerships between the board presidents and the executive director. Past presidents praise Vicki for her leadership and vision. 

In 2001, Vicki came to the organization after working with Suzanne Emmet and Kids’ Chance of Pennsylvania (KCPA). When Suzanne became president of KCOA, she recruited Vicki as executive director, who then implemented the organization’s first formal budget and strategic plan. 

“Vicki was instrumental in leading us through both of those processes and completing them was a huge step forward for the organization,” Suzanne said. “Vicki is an energetic, engaged, and focused leader. Her expertise and guidance have been invaluable to the progress Kids’ Chance has made during her tenure as executive director.”

Kevin Turner, who became president of KCOA in 2018, described Vicki as a fair and thoughtful leader who promoted consistency as Kids’ Chance grew from state to state, while raising the profile of the national organization.

“Vicki became a household name in the workers’ compensation community and, through her efforts, increased awareness of the Kids’ Chance brand throughout the industry. Brand awareness is the foundation for all our successes,” he said. 

John Goldwater, another former president, met Vicki in his early stages with Kids’ Chance, when Kids’ Chance of America needed an expanded vision and infrastructure to move forward. Vicki developed three-year strategic plans to build services for state organizations.

“Vicki has been a remarkable partner, turning vision into action items,” he said. 

Being Moved by Kids’ Stories and Resilience

Vicki has served nonprofits for more than 40 years. In her work with Kids’ Chance, learning the personal stories of families devastated by workplace accidents became her guiding light.

“I’ve seen siblings who have lost a parent, how that loss impacts a spouse, how the whole family has to adjust to deal with a crisis, a tragedy, and how difficult these circumstances are for people who are so young,” she said.

Ken Martino, who became the president of Kids’ Chance of America in 2020, said that a culture of caring is an integral part of the organization’s success.

“Vicki has not only been our executive director but a key member of the KCOA leadership. She took a personal interest in the kids and made sure we had the organization to support our goal of More Money for More Kids,” he said.

Looking Forward

Dana Genheimer, the current president of Kids’ Chance of America, said Vicki laid the foundation for Kids' Chance to expand its mission and deepen its impact for decades to come.

“We’re focused on sustainable growth and Vicki has helped to make the future brighter for kids and families across the country,” she said.

Vicki sees leadership, passionate and dedicated volunteers, committed funders and dedicated staffing as the key elements to the continued success of KCOA. “We have learned, I believe, through the experiment launched by Bob Clyatt 35 years ago, that we are more powerful together than apart,” she said. “The Kids’ Chance community will achieve the overall goal of ‘More Money for More Kids’ because, we are … Kids’ Chance.”

Photo: Allison Scardino, Ken Martino, Jim Hudak, Suzanne Emmet, Kevin Turner, Don Terry, John Goldwater, Kathy Fisher, Bob Keefe, Bob Clyatt, Jennifer Wolf, Dana Genheimer, and Vicki Burkhart (center).

About Kids’ Chance

Kids’ Chance gives the kids of workers who have been injured on the job a chance at a better future by providing scholarships and support. Since 1988, Kids’ Chance organizations have awarded over 9,300 scholarships totaling over $33.2 million dollars. To learn more about Kids' Chance, visit our website at