Best Practices
May 6, 2009

PNC Acts as Advocate for Quality Early Childhood Programs

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The PNC Financial Services Group is committed to help fund and advocate for policies in support of quality early childhood education for children – especially underserved children – from birth to age five. As firm believers that investing in preschoolers will increase their chances of educational and career successes later in life, PNC views school readiness as a significant factor in preparing the future workforce to make long-lasting contributions to society.

From this commitment, PNC has developed Grow Up Great - a 10-year, $100 million investment in early childhood education. Begun in 2004, it is a comprehensive, bilingual corporate-based school readiness program committed to helping produce stronger, smarter and healthier children, families and communities. Grow Up Great supports early childhood education through a four-fold initiative, including grants, volunteerism, advocacy, and awareness.
 
Through the PNC Foundation, PNC has committed more than $17 million in grants to Head Start and other initiatives in support of early childhood education.  Many of the grants support innovative preschool demonstration projects that explore new curriculum and teaching practices. Additionally, PNC encourages employee involvement through a progressive policy that permits 40 hours a year of paid time off to volunteer at a qualified nonprofit early education center.  Employees that volunteer at least 40 hours per year to one preschool facility earn a $1,000 grant in their name towards that preschool.

PNC has also initiated discussions between the corporate community and policymakers about public-private partnerships to provide consistently high-quality early childhood education for all children. The support of the private sector lends credence to the necessity of finding solutions to the challenges in the workplace through investments in school readiness, and encourages policymakers and politicians to make the decisions and allocate necessary resources to create meaningful programs.

"Equal access – for all children – to quality preschool programs is critical and will result in long-term benefits for our nation's children, society, workforce and economy," said Eva Blum, director of Community Affairs for PNC Bank and chair of the PNC Foundation. "Others in the business sector join us in understanding the importance of early childhood education. Together, we are committing to investments to ensure that the future workforce provides us the capable employees needed to compete and succeed in an economy – that is more and more – transforming into one based on knowledge and skills."

Learn more about PNC's Grow Up Great program online at www.pncgrowupgreat.com