TAMPA, Fla. (March 30, 2017) – The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay has selected 10 educational programs to receive grants totaling more than $128,000. The funding largely supports early learning and literacy programs for youth in the Tampa Bay region.
The grants fund projects ranging from summer programs and reading campaigns to culinary arts training. The organizations receiving the grants share the Community Foundation’s focus on supporting literacy programs and eliminating the education achievement gap for disadvantaged students because of their race, gender, geographic location or economic status.
Berkeley Preparatory School received $25,000 for the school’s Berkeley Academy, a free program for low-income students that alleviates summer learning loss and helps students in achieving their dream of going to college. Berkeley Academy is a six-year program that starts the summer before a student’s seventh grade year and ends upon completion of high school. Selected students are mentored and guided on the weekends and during summer breaks by college students who are studying education. Programming and its curriculum includes interactive learning in Berkeley’s state-of-the-art STEAM labs, programming to cover core class topics and team-based athletic activities to foster collaboration and leadership skills.
During the inaugural summer of 2016, 40 seventh grade students from mostly Pierce Middle School, Webb Middle School, and Redlands Christian Migrant Association began the program, and they have demonstrated growth in all measured areas including academics, self-efficacy, social intelligence, self-control, curiosity and gratitude. With this grant, the Berkeley Academy plans to grow the program by 40 students each year.
The Pinellas Education Foundation received a $6,000 grant for its Super Reader Campaign to Close the Gender Literacy Gap. With this grant, Pinellas County Schools’ executive director of elementary education Shana Rafalski will work with teachers at 12 elementary schools to break down gender stereotypes that impede learning for young boys.
The extensive rubric for the campaign focuses on development, relationship building, motivation and engagement, and serves as a guide for the teacher’s lessons and curriculum delivery. Teachers will be able to identify milestones in each student’s development through their daily activities.
The YMCA of Suncoast was awarded $15,000 for An Early Start to Success through Early Learning Readiness, which focuses on the education achievement gap that exists for low-income students even before they enter kindergarten. The Early Learning Readiness (ELR) program brings together at least 24 caregivers and 26 students twice a week for 38 weeks at the High Point YMCA at no cost to parents or caregivers.
Caregivers provide care of nearly half of the country’s young children, especially in lower-income neighborhoods with a high minority population like the High Point area in Clearwater. Often times these caregivers are isolated and don’t understand the role they play in the early cognitive development or skill building of young children. The weekly ELR meetings build supportive relationships, provide opportunities for children to interact with each other, and give caregivers leadership skills and educational materials on how to positively influence a child’s development.
After participating in ELR, 89 percent of caregivers report they understand more about helping children learn through reading, playing and interacting together. In nationwide results, 85 percent of children increased their self-confidence, 78 percent knew more of their ABCs, and 82 percent knew their numbers after participating in the ELR program.
“We’re very proud to facilitate grants that fund such impactful programs for our community’s youth,” said Marlene Spalten, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. “These organizations are filling gaps in education and development for children that are crucial to building a better future for Tampa Bay through increased educational attainment and workforce readiness and participation.”
Additionally, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay has awarded the following education grants:
• Champions for Children, Inc. received $10,000 for its ‘Kids on the Block’ program, which presents puppet shows inside of schools to talk about trauma and other sensitive topics. The puppets teach children how to recognize child abuse and bullying, and teach children how to be safe.
• Metropolitan Ministries, Inc. received $10,000 for its Culinary Arts Training Program. The free program produces employees who are prepared to work in the hospitality industry. The grant will be used for scholarships to ex-offenders who will gain skills and work ethics that encourage them to lead a life of self-sufficiency.
• Parents and Children Advance Together (PCAT) Literacy Ministries, Inc. received $24,262 for its PCAT Literacy program, an after-school literacy program for underserved children and families living in distressed neighborhoods in Hillsborough County.
• Pepin Academies in Pasco County, an exceptional needs charter school that offers a standard diploma for children with learning and learning-related disabilities, was awarded $6,000 for its All Talented Learners Acquiring Success (ATLAS) Enrichment Program.
• The Kiwanis of SouthShore received $5,000 for two local high school Key Clubs. Student members of Key Clubs at East Bay High School and Lennar High School perform acts of service in their communities and learn leadership skills by running meetings and planning volunteer projects.
• The Military Order of the World Wars Chapter 226, was awarded $7,000 for its Youth Leadership Conference, which develops leadership skills in students and provides education on the U.S. government, history, economy and the Constitution.
• Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay, Inc. received $5,000 for its Foster Grandparent Program. The grant will help fund background checks and training for seniors who are interested in mentoring a student in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
About the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay
Founded in 1990, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay connects donors, nonprofits, community and business leaders, professional advisors, volunteers and residents to make the maximum positive impact in the Tampa Bay region. For the last 25 years, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay has been dedicated to making giving easy and meaningful for donors as a way to strengthen nonprofit organizations and build a better, more vibrant community. Since its inception, its donors have enabled the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay to award more than $185 million in grants to nonprofit organizations across the country.