This week the PNC Grow Up Great program marked its seventh anniversary. The program was launched by the PNC Financial Services Group in 2004 as a 10-year, $100 million school readiness program to help prepare at-risk children for school and life.
Since the program’s inception, more than 1 million children have been served by the more than $30 million in grants and programs that have assisted numerous early childhood education centers and other non-profit organizations. PNC employees have volunteered more than 176,000 hours at early education programs and donated more than 260,000 items to enhance early childhood classrooms. With expert early education partners like the Fred Rogers Company and Sesame Workshop, the program has created and distributed new resources to support parents and educators in their efforts to prepare children for kindergarten.
As we continue to look for ways to expand the programming offered through Grow Up Great, our attention was caught by research that shows that very young children are capable of understanding basic financial concepts. At the same time parents and caregivers report that they want to address financial matters with their children, but feel they lack the tools and resources to do so. The subject seemed relevant given a heightened awareness of the need for financial education before adulthood and the decrease in public funding for such programs. Working with our partners at Sesame Workshop, we felt that we were uniquely positioned to address this topic as part of the Grow Up Great program.
On Wednesday, PNC announced a new financial education initiative. The $12 million initiative features a new multimedia education kit created by Sesame Workshop. Entitled For Me, for You, for Later: First Steps to Spending, Sharing and Saving, the bilingual kits feature an original Sesame DVD, a parent/caregiver guide, and activity book. PNC produced 1 million kits that will be distributed for free. The kits are available at PNC branches and online at pncgrowupgreat.com or sesamestreet.org/save. An educator’s guide and additional materials are also available on-line. The initiative also includes $5 million in grants for non-profits to provide financial education based on the materials Sesame Workshop created. PNC will also conduct a public awareness campaign throughout the spring and summer to highlight financial basics and the availability of the new materials.
We feel this new initiative is an important addition to the Grow Up Great program. As we look over the last seven years at all of the meaningful work that has been done to help prepare children for school, we are confident that this new initiative will not only prepare them for school, but also for life.
Program Manager, Grow Up Great