Wednesday, May 18, 2011

PNC awards grant for arts and cultural education to Sangamon Auditorium

The PNC Bank Foundation awarded its first Grow Up Great grant in the Springfield area to Sangamon Auditorium, UIS during a May 18, 2011 press conference. The $90,000 grant will be awarded to the auditorium over a three-year period.

The grant will provide funding to allow over 600 Springfield Urban League Head Start students to attend two live school matinee performances each year at Sangamon Auditorium. The grant will also help provide pre-show materials that prepare children for the performances and helps foster social and emotional development.

“Although UIS’ mission is higher education, we want to be collaborators with those providing education at all levels in central Illinois and this is one more way of doing so,” said Harry Berman, UIS Chancellor.

Additionally, PNC funding for professional development will enable teacher trainers endorsed by the John F. Kennedy for the Performing Arts, Partners in Education program to conduct arts education training for 60 Head Start teachers. The grant will also help Head Start families and caregivers to attend the UIS Family Series to experience learning through the arts.

“A child’s first experiences with fine arts represent an introduction to the world of humanity,” said Nina Harris, CEO of Springfield Urban League Head Start. “This gift serves as a gateway that will motivate and undergird the imagination of deserving children and enhance their quality of life.”

Grow Up Great is PNC’s 10-year, $100 million bilingual program to improve early childhood education.

“For every $1 that is spent on a quality early childhood education program, society reaps $16,” said Doug Stewart, PNC Regional President for central Illinois. “You don’t have to be a banker to understand that a 16 to 1 kind of return is pretty phenomenal.”

Bob Vaughn, director of the Sangamon Auditorium called receipt of the grant “great fun” thanking PNC for their support and speaking about their common goals.

“How fortuitous that the missions of PNC Bank Grow Up Great program, the Urban League, Sangamon Auditorium, and UIS overlap so nicely,” said Vaughn. “How remarkable that each institution with the necessary resources now brings special elements to the table to make the partnership possible.”

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