As president and CEO of Heifer Project International, she led the organization’s global program and helped expand programs and projects that have provided food security to impoverished people in the U.S. and more than 50 countries around the world. Through Heifer, she has devoted her life to empowering women and enhancing the lives of their children. Prior to Heifer, she served as executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism for 10 years.
Luck attended Hendrix College and majored in education. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree from David Lipscomb College in Nashville, then went on to get her master’s degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
She served as assistant director in the Governor’s Office of Volunteer Services. And in 1978, she became the first executive director of the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. In 1979, she became executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism as Gov. Bill Clinton’s first cabinet appointee. Under her direction, the economic impact of tourism in Arkansas doubled from $1 billion to $2 billion.
In 1989, she became Global Services Director of Heifer Project International, and by 1992, she was the president and CEO where she served until 2010. She expanded the nonprofit’s budget from $7 million to over $100 million. The new sustainable LEED award-winning headquarters and campus in Little Rock were designed and built under her leadership.
She was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, which advises USAID administrators on agricultural development priorities and issues as they relate to global famine and hunger. She served on many other councils and committees to further the dialogue on food and agriculture in the 21st century.
In 2010, she was awarded the World Food Prize, an international award recognizing individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food. She’s received Forbes magazine’s “Trailblazer Award” and was the recipient of several honorary doctorate degrees for her humanitarian service. In 1992, she was official delegate to the U.N.’s Conference on Environment and Development in Brazil and an official participant in the PVO/NGO Earth Summit — the only individual listed as a participant in both gatherings.