University Circle Inc. (UCI) is receiving $65,000 in grants over two years from the PNC Foundation to expand its Early Learning Initiative (ELI) education program to reach new audiences.
ELI is designed to promote school readiness, with an arts-infused educational program that builds essential literacy skills and expands vocabulary by serving more than 900 economically disadvantaged Northeast Ohio preschool students. Key activities include monthly visits to University Circle cultural institutions, pre-classroom visits by UCI staff members and delivery of literacy kits and other materials through a newly acquired van. Materials are provided for use by 100 teachers at 32 participating preschools and daycare centers representing 55 classrooms throughout University Circle, Maple Heights, East Cleveland and Lorain County.
“Programs like ELI are critical to fostering vocabulary and retention skills that help provide young learners a solid start to their formal education,” said Chris Ronayne, president of UCI. “The grant allows us to expand the program’s reach and reflects PNC’s strong support of early childhood education initiatives throughout the region and across University Circle in particular.”
The grant was made in support of Grow Up Great, PNC’s signature $350 million, multi-year bilingual initiative to improve early childhood education, with a focus on underserved populations.
To date, PNC has provided approximately $4.5 million in grants in Cleveland to dozens of local kindergarten readiness programs and initiatives including funding to the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Museum of Natural History. PNC Grow Up Great has served more than 100 local pre-school classrooms, 30,000 students and 1,600 educators.
“Our support of the Early Learning Initiative at University Circle is a strategic investment in the future of our area,” said Paul Clark, PNC regional president for Cleveland, speaking on behalf of the PNC Foundation. “Research has shown that children who are ready for kindergarten are more likely to graduate from high school, strive toward higher vocational aspirations and contribute to society later in life.”
Source: University Circle, Inc. and PNC