Norwalk, Connecticut, Jun 03, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – The founding members of the Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity – Bank of America, First County Bank, Lapine Associates, Pitney Bowes, Synchrony, Tudor Foundation and Xerox – announced today ‘ hui the group distributed its first round of grants, totaling $ 300,000, to seven local nonprofits: Bridgeport Prospers (United Way of Coastal Fairfield County), Carver Foundation of Norwalk, Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County, Norwalk Community College Foundation, Person-to-Person, Domus Kids and Horizons Bridgeport.
Created in August 2020 in partnership with the Fairfield County Community Foundation, the Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity (“the Business Collaborative”) is a multi-year local impact and funding collective that aims to promote equity in matters education in Fairfield County by helping to reduce and eliminate the disparities that affect the area’s most vulnerable K-12 students, parents and guardians, as well as teachers and staff.
In December, to further solidify the group’s long-term commitment, Pitney Bowes and Synchrony spearheaded the launch of the Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity Fund, a scoping fund administered by the Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. Supported by contributions from each of the Founding Members, the Fund will provide grants for measurable short- and long-term education-related initiatives in the Greater Bridgeport, Danbury, Norwalk and Stamford areas with an initial focus on education from early childhood, high school children, and hunger relief for all students. The first cohort of fellows offers programs and services focused on summer learning, kindergarten and college readiness, and food insecurity.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed vast disparities that have long existed in our region, one of which is the educational inequalities that exist for our youngest residents and students who represent the future of Fairfield County” said Juanita James, president and CEO, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. “The vision and community spirit of the founding members of Business Collaborative to understand the greater impact of working together is an important step towards promoting sustainable solutions that will empower children to grow, learn and stay in. Fairfield County. We appreciate the leadership of Bank of America, First County Bank, Lapine Associates, Pitney Bowes, Synchrony, Tudor Foundation and Xerox in creating this new education-focused collaboration and look forward to more companies joining us.
Marc Lautenbach, President and CEO of Pitney Bowes, said: “The Fairfield County Business Collaborative for Education Equity was created last August to address some of the root causes of income inequality. We believe that children deserve equitable access to academic opportunities, regardless of their financial situation. In a very short time, we have seen the strength to work together and the promise that this partnership can fulfill. I invite all other businesses in Fairfield County to join in this effort and help build a better future for all of our children and communities.
“Improving access and educational opportunities for young people is essential to create a more inclusive society and a stronger financial future. This partnership builds on Synchrony’s Education’s initiative as an equalizer to advance educational equity for low- and moderate-income minority students. Working with the Fairfield County Community Foundation and local businesses, Synchrony is committed to deploying our collective resources to ensure that more students in underserved communities have the tools they need to succeed, ”said Brian Doubles, President and Chief Executive Officer of Synchrony.
“As a founding partner of the Fairfield County Education Equity Business Collaboration, Bank of America recognizes that the future of our region’s competitive workforce depends on our ability to identify current barriers to employment and gaps in opportunities. To address this issue, Bank of America is working with Business Collaborative to provide members of our community, including youth, with quality education, training, and skills development opportunities. This commitment will help put our region on a path to long-term success and promote greater economic inclusion, ”said Bill Tommins, president of Bank of America Southern Connecticut.
In late November, the Business Collaborative provided a $ 50,000 challenge grant to support Bridgeport Public School teachers and their students with DonorsChoose. The funding supported 249 projects from 122 teachers, reaching nearly 25,000 student experiences at 39 Bridgeport public schools. The Business Collaborative intends to fund similar campaigns with DonorsChoose in Danbury, Norwalk and Stamford.
Virtual invitation on Tuesday, June 15
A virtual meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 15 at 11 a.m., during which the first cohort of grantees will provide a brief overview of their supported programs and services focused on summer learning, kindergarten and college readiness, and food insecurity and its impact on education. Additionally, members of the Business Collaborative will share more about their partnership’s vision, the value of collective giving and encourage businesses of all sizes to consider joining the initiative.
Local businesses of any size interested in attending the virtual event or joining the Business Collaborative should contact Rebecca Mandell ([email protected]) or Khalilah Johnson ([email protected]) at the Fairfield County Community Foundation.
Recipients of grants of $ 50,000:
Bridgeport Prospers / United Way of Coastal Fairfield County: Funding will support the Greater Bridgeport STEM Learning Ecosystem which seeks to advance equity by providing STEM enrichment opportunities to young people in Bridgeport. The STEM ecosystem aims to ensure that young Bridgeport graduates are ready for college, but also equipped with the skills, opportunities and experiences to start meaningful careers.
Norwalk Carver Foundation: Funding will support The Carver Foundation’s Freshman Success Summer High School Transition Academy. The Summer Transition Program is designed to help new grade 9 students make a smooth transition to Norwalk’s two high schools in the fall. Students will receive academic support and receive help to develop strategies that will make them more successful students.
Fairfield County Children’s Learning Centers (CLC): Funding will support CLC’s family and community engagement strategies through increased use of the Blended Pre-K virtual platform. The Blended Pre-K virtual environment enables parents to support learning and development at home and provides virtual libraries, resources and experiences. This tool improved communications with families and partner agencies (Stamford Public Schools, Children’s Guidance Center) and enabled the organization to effectively deliver and tailor important services to improve preparation for kindergarten.
Norwalk Community College (NCC) Foundation: Funding will support the Summer Bridge program which gives new NCC students a head start. The Summer Bridge program will provide an intensive experience for students with placement in remedial math and English courses to prepare them for college courses in the fall.
Person-to-person: Funding will support summer midday meals for elementary school children. With this funding, P2P will serve more students and their families and reduce the number of children facing food insecurity.
Recipients of $ 25,000 grants:
Domus Kids: The funding will support summer school and credit recovery activities for students who struggled to pass their basic academic courses last year and who are at risk of not being promoted to the next level. Domus will offer a financial incentive to students who successfully complete its program to help replace the income that students will forfeit during the program session.
Horizons Bridgeport: The funding will support the development of a pilot high school pipeline program to support students from the Horizons program at Sacred Heart University. This pilot will be designed to adopt the most essential elements of the Greens Farms Academy curriculum.
CONTACT: Brynne Bartiromo Fairfield County's Community Foundation 9084622636 [email protected]