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An Extraordinary Day Benefits Thousands of Pre-K Children

Grow Up Great Day 2018 builds on the success of an alliance with DonorsChoose.org.

After her pre-K students were dismissed for the day, Saphronie Harrell and her fellow pre-K teachers at Barnaby Manor Elementary School in Oxon Hill, MD, were asked to gather for a meeting with the school’s principal. But, when a PNC team arrived in the classroom bringing balloons, flowers, gifts, a photographer and a video crew, shock turned to tears when Ms. Harrell found out she was a PNC Grow Up Great® / DonorsChoose.org “Teacher Hero.”

The school administrative staff and entire pre-K team were on hand to see Ms. Harrell’s recognition. Her award included a $2,000 DonorsChoose.org gift card to support her next classroom projects and another $2,000 gift card to help support project requests from other teachers. Her fellow pre-K teachers were each given a $100 DonorsChoose.org gift card as well.

For Harrell, it was a happy ending to a rewarding process.

If not for the DonorsChoose.org support, we would not be able to bring the classroom to life and make it more engaging.

Saphronie Harrell

Ramamurthy family
Saphronie Harrell receives her Teacher Hero award from PNC’s Stacey Collins

When it comes to teaching young children, the slogan for Harrell and her pre-K co-workers is “We’re the welcome mat to education.”

Scenes like this were repeated many times as PNC celebrated Grow Up Great Day and highlighted its $5 million alliance between the PNC Foundation and DonorsChoose.org. This is the second year that the alliance is providing new resources to Head Start and public pre-K classrooms across the communities PNC serves.

Gift Cards and Matching Funds for Projects

Every teacher who submitted a pre-K project request through DonorsChoose.org since April 4, 2017, received a $100 electronic gift card on Grow Up Great Day. There also are dollar-for-dollar matching funds from PNC for DonorsChoose.org projects submitted through May 31, 2018, subject to restrictions and a maximum dollar amount.

School principal and teachers with PNC representatives
Pictured from lef to right: Belle Stone Principal Charla Malone, PNC Akron regional president Kevin Thompson, pre-K teacher Amanda Tressler, Canton City School District Early Education Director Linnea Olbon, PNC Akron Director of Client and Community Relations Jennifer Fox. 

In Amanda Tressler’s Akron, OH pre-K classroom, the project that has had the most impact on her young students is “We will master the alphabet in pre-K!”

To accomplish her teaching goals, Tressler’s young students used alphabet sounds teaching tubs, which includes tubs of colorful things that begin with each letter. For example, the “W” tub includes play pieces such as a watermelon, a watering can and a walrus.

“At the beginning of preschool, almost half the class did not know any letters or sounds,” recounts Tressler. “Now that we are getting close to the end of the year, all of my students have shown growth on uppercase letters, lowercase letters and letter sounds.”

An Extraordinary Day

Throughout the markets where PNC does business, employee volunteers took an ordinary day and made it extraordinary by doing special work projects at schools, reading stories to pre-K students in their classrooms, working on Daniel Tiger Masks for the children and donating books. But for PNC, the passion to support early childhood education doesn’t end on Grow Up Great Day.

Grow Up Great Day 2018 builds on the momentum started in 2017 when PNC contributed more than $2 million to fund 7,500 DonorsChoose.org projects. Two hundred forty-four thousand children across 21 states and the District of Columbia received new classroom materials and educational opportunities last year as a result of the DonorsChoose.org alliance.

For Grow Up Great Day in Florida, two new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) learning labs were unveiled at elementary schools in Broward and Palm Beach counties with the help of the Palm Beach State College (PBSC) Institute of Excellence in Early Care and Education.

The labs were created with a two-year, $420,000 grant from the PNC Foundation, as part of PNC Grow Up Great. Through the initiative, PBSC's Institute of Excellence collaborated with PNC, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, The Young At Art Museum and the Broward and Palm Beach County school districts to bring more STEAM education to preschools. The spaces will serve as museums within the schools, where children can develop curiosity and interest in STEAM fields.


Learn more about PNC's alliance with DonorsChoose.org »

More than 3,700 pre-K and Head Start teachers received funds in 2018 from the PNC Foundation to support new projects on DonorsChoose.org.

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