Collaboration to provide 5,000 kits in four languages, featuring reading, math, and STEM curriculums, to pre-K students across Minneapolis-St. Paul area
Minneapolis, Minn. (July 21, 2020) – The Kids In Need Foundation (KINF), a national nonprofit dedicated to providing free school supplies and the support needed for teachers to teach and learners to learn, is collaborating with the PNC Foundation, ServeMinnesota’s Reading Corps, and the Science Museum of Minnesota to distribute 5,000 Little Learners Family Kits in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
Funded by a grant from the PNC Foundation, kit distribution began in June (photos can be accessed here). Little Learners Family Kits will be distributed across the area, including: Minneapolis Public Schools, St. Paul Public Schools, Minneapolis Crisis Nursery, PICA (Parents In Community Action), YMCA St. Paul, and several additional resource centers for underserved students. The kits include: a folder containing information about the partnership, three (3) books, a reading and math curriculum, a STEM curriculum and materials such as pencils, scissors, a watercolor paint set, a wide-ruled notebook and a children’s hygiene kit. The Little Learners Family Kits will be available in four languages: English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong.
Over 200,000 children in the Twin Cities metro live in households with incomes at or near poverty levels. With a focus on protecting the inherent dignity of students and their families, while also establishing equality in access to educational resources, this collaboration is a part of the commitment to ensure that all children have access to quality learning materials, regardless of demographics and circumstances.
“The passion and resources that PNC has provided for Little Learners Family Kits is giving us the opportunity to serve 5,000 pre-K students and provide them and their families with the resources to continue to learn,” said Corey Gordon, CEO of Kids In Need Foundation. “Bringing together two additional local partners in ServeMinnesota and the Science Museum of Minnesota to support these students is the type of collaborative partnerships that create positive change in our communities.”
The Little Learners Family Kits initiative builds on the foundation of PNC’s work in the area of early childhood education through its Grow Up Great® initiative.
“PNC’s commitment to Minnesota has never been more important as we collectively navigate the overwhelming challenges posed by this pandemic,” said PNC Regional President for Minnesota, Kate Kelly. “We recognize our role as a pillar of the communities we serve and actively work with organizations like the Kids In Need Foundation, ServeMinnesota and the Science Museum of Minnesota to provide solutions that meet fundamental needs of our local families and children.”
High-quality early childhood care and education programs can improve children’s chances for success in later life, as the brain develops most rapidly during the first few years. These critical years provide the foundation for a child’s physical and mental health, affecting everything from longevity to the lifelong capacity to learn, to the ability to adapt to change, to the capacity for resilience against adverse circumstances. In particular, providing learning opportunities at this stage can improve the lives of the most underserved and vulnerable children and their families, with profound consequences for societies at large.
“We are so grateful that PNC continues to lead the way with their commitment to our littlest learners,” said Audrey Suker, CEO of ServeMinnesota. “They have been an amazing partner for ServeMinnesota, helping us fulfill our mission to find solutions to tough problems through the power of AmeriCorps. This kit for families is just another example of how PNC is dedicated to getting all of our children ready for Kindergarten and ensuring they have the resources they need to be successful in school and life.”
“Every child has the inquisitive mind of a scientist. Asking and responding to ‘What will happen if?’ is a great way to begin exploring science. These kits introduce playful science learning experiences that children can do at home. Accessible materials and multilingual activity guides are designed to support adults and children as they ask questions and engage in activities together. Collaboration expands the possibility of what can be done individually, this collaboration supports and addresses our commitment to science, education and equity.” Added Joanne Jones-Rizzi, vice president Science, Equity and Education at the Science Museum of Minnesota.
For more information about Kids In Need Foundation, visit www.kinf.org.
About Kids In Need Foundation
The Kids In Need Foundation provides the support and tools needed for teachers to teach and learners to learn as a quality education is the best gateway to opportunity, and students cannot achieve their full potential without it. With a focus on supporting schools most in need nationwide, Kids In Need Foundation believes that every child in America should have equal opportunity and access to a quality education. Founded in 1995, Kids In Need Foundation, a national 501(c)(3) charitable organization, has distributed $1 billion in school supplies since its inception. For more information, visit https://www.kinf.org/, and join us on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram: @KidsInNeed.
About PNC Foundation
The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (www.pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.
ServeMinnesota creates positive social change by deploying the people power of AmeriCorps to translate research into on-the-ground implementation. Each year, thousands of individuals commit to transformative service opportunities focused on improving the lives of Minnesotans through education, affordable housing, employment, the environment, addiction recovery and police-community relationships. Two of its innovative strategic initiatives, Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps, demonstrate speed to implementation in their work to close the achievement gap and help struggling students become successful learners. By leveraging federal dollars, building strong community partnerships, and continually improving programs, ServeMinnesota ensures national service is positioned to make meaningful contributions to our state. For more information, visit www.serveminnesota.org.
About the Science Museum of Minnesota
The Science Museum of Minnesota is one of the state’s most beloved museums, with a reach that extends well beyond its riverfront location in downtown Saint Paul. Along with serving hundreds of thousands of people each year through its unique combination of cutting-edge technology, hands-on STEM exploration, and world-class collection of fossils and artifacts, the museum reaches schools in all 87 Minnesota counties; provides critical STEM workforce development and leadership training for youth; and conducts research on water quality, climate change, paleontology and archaeology in locations around the world. Equity work is in the Science Museum’s DNA, demonstrated through its commitment to being a resource to the entire community – at a time when science and scientific learning and equitable access to STEM and STEM careers is more critical than ever. For more information, visit www.smm.org.