PNC Foundation donates $100,000 for FCPS early childhood initiatives
The PNC Foundation is awarding a $100,000 grant to Fayette County Public Schools and a $50,000 grant to the Lexington Public Library as part of the 15th anniversary celebration of PNC Grow Up Great, the bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. The two-year grants are designed to support the specific needs of preschool learners by providing community-based educational experiences for families with young children or professional learning and skill development for current or future early childhood educators.
“Empowering society’s youngest minds is the best investment a bank can make,” John Gohmann, PNC regional president, said during the June 7 news conference at the library’s Eastside branch. “As a Main Street bank, we recognize that we have an important role to play in helping ensure that all children have the opportunity to acquire and strengthen the skills they need to succeed so that our communities prosper.”
FCPS will use the grant money to expand its First5Lex – Read, Talk & Play from Cradle to Kindergarten program, which gives families and caregivers access to information about early learning and connects them to fun, stimulating, age-appropriate activities that will support their young children’s development. As one example, First5Lex will be able to add 10 more locations for its neighborhood Read to Me Libraries, an outreach that encourages adults to interact with young children while waiting at the doctor’s office and other public areas. “Learning takes place everywhere, so parent interaction with children builds their brains and prepares them for kindergarten,” said Alice Nelson, the school district’s Early Childhood family/community coordinator.
“I am overjoyed, and I want to acknowledge PNC’s investment. The magnitude of this grant speaks volumes about PNC’s commitment,” FCPS Superintendent Manny Caulk said in thanking Gohmann. “Your investment is a perfect example of the type of partnership we need to make a difference in the lives of children and families.” Nelson agreed, adding, “We are so excited! It will boost everything we’re doing.”
The Lexington Public Library’s Destination Kindergarten, which launched this year, will also benefit from PNC’s gift. “The initiative will make it fun for children to learn as they read, talk, play, write, and sing their way to kindergarten readiness,” said Heather Dieffenbach, the library’s acting executive director.
In addition to the $150,000 investment, Gohmann announced that in April, PNC customers, employees, and other community members collected 1,881 children’s books that will be distributed to area organizations and FCPS as part of the “Great Big Book Drive.” PNC also purchased three iPads for The Nest: Center for Women, Children & Families and two iPads for Fayette County Public Schools.