PNC Grow Up Great Advisory Council Strengthened Through Two New Additions

Wendy Lewis Jackson, Michèle M. Mazzocco join group of highly regarded experts guiding PNC’s long-established early childhood education initiative.

Wendy Lewis Jackson and Michèle Mazzocco

Wendy Lewis Jackson

Michèle Mazzocco

PNC Grow Up Great was established in 2004 as PNC’s signature philanthropic initiative. The now $500 million comprehensive, bilingual program helps prepare children, particularly underserved children, from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. To date, the program has reached more than 7 million children.

At the heart of PNC Grow Up Great, since its inception, has been the Advisory Council. Comprised of leaders in the early childhood education field, the council provides ongoing strategic direction and guidance for the PNC Grow Up Great program. The Council offers insight that positions PNC Grow Up Great as a leader in advocating for early childhood education, identifying opportunities for strategic partnerships, tracking progress and ensuring that all PNC Grow Up Great efforts reach, resonate with and benefit young children in their early development phases.

“We have said from the start that we are bankers, not educators,” said Sally McCrady, president and chair of the PNC Foundation. “Relying on expertise has been essential to the success we have seen over the past 17 years. As PNC Grow Up Great continues to evolve and grow over time, it’s important that our Advisory Council do so as well. We are excited about the addition of two members to the council - Wendy Lewis Jackson and Michèle Mazzocco.”

As Managing Director for the Detroit Program at The Kresge Foundation, Wendy Lewis Jackson leads efforts to revitalize Detroit and to strengthen its social and economic fabric. Her work supports organizations providing economic opportunity for low-income people and addresses the needs of vulnerable children and families.

Prior to joining Kresge in 2008, Wendy was a program director for Children and Family Initiatives and executive director for education initiatives at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation in Grand Rapids, Mich. She taught at Grand Valley State University and has co-authored and assisted in the publication of several reports and publications that address community needs and problem-solving. 

Wendy is an American Marshall Memorial Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Association of Black Foundation Executives named her an Emerging Leader in 2008.  In 2018, she received the Dr. Gerald K. Smith Award for Philanthropy by the Michigan Forum for African-Americans in Philanthropy, an affinity group of the Council of Michigan Foundations.

“Wendy is no stranger to PNC Grow Up Great,” said Ric DeVore, PNC regional president for Detroit and Southeast Michigan. “Over the years, we’ve partnered on a number of early childhood education initiatives, including a $2.5 million program announced in 2019 to bolster Detroit childcare facilities.  It’s exciting to have someone of her caliber and experience in a position to influence and help guide this critical work in a national capacity. The expertise and perspective she brings will be significant in advancing the PNC Grow Up Great mission across the country.”

Michèle M Mazzocco is Professor of Developmental Psychology at the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota and Director of the University of Minnesota’s Math and Numeracy Lab. Dr. Mazzocco's research focuses on typical and atypical numerical thinking, with an emphasis on individual differences that affect learning and math achievement trajectories. She studies numerical cognition in children and adults, and mathematics learning difficulties in childhood.

Dr. Mazzocco’s first study on mathematics skills was a longitudinal study following a cohort of students from kindergarten to 12th grade. That study ultimately demonstrated that numerical skills in early childhood were predictive of long-term math success or challenges, and that the nature of math difficulties varies across children. As a former classroom teacher herself, Dr. Mazzocco is particularly interested in the practical implications of her work, so she is now focusing her research on understanding ways to support and strengthen mathematical thinking in all young children including children with mathematics learning difficulties.

Dr. Mazzocco earned her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Arizona State University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental neuropsychology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She was an SRCD Congressional Science Policy Fellow in 2007-2008, became a fellow of the American Psychological Association in 2009, and has been a member of the Development and Research in Early Mathematics Education (DREME) Network since 2014.

“Dr. Mazzocco’s work is influencing the introduction of math concepts to early learners. We’ve long known her to be an asset here in Minnesota,” said Kate Kelly, regional president of PNC Bank in Minneapolis. “And I am so glad that she has been tapped to serve PNC Grow Up Great in a national capacity. It’s a win for us, but more importantly, a win for early childhood education and the progress that she and the collective Advisory Council will help to bring about.”

Mazzocco and Jackson join an accomplished group of national early education experts spanning various industries.

PNC Grow Up Great Advisory Council Members

Barbara A. Wasik, Ph. D.
PNC Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Education, Temple University

Maureen Barber-Carey, Ed. D.
Barber National Institute

W. Steven Barnett, Ph. D.
National Institute for Early Education Research

Barbara Bowman, M.A.
Erikson Institute

Jerlean E. Daniel, Ph. D
Early Childhood Consultant

Wendy Lewis Jackson
The Kresge Foundation

Michèle M. Mazzocco, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota

Felicia Cumings Smith, Ed.D.
National Center for Families Learning

Robert DeHaas, Ed.D.
Dallas College

Kathy Glazer
Virginia Early Childhood Foundation

Marcia Egbert
The George Gund Foundation

Deforia Lane, Ph. D.
Early Childhood Consultant

Michael L. López, Ph. D.
NORC at the University of Chicago


Ex Officio Advisory Council Members

Jeanette Betancourt, Ed.D.
Sesame Workshop

Paul Siefken
Fred Rogers Productions

Yasmina S. Vinci
National Head Start Association