PNC’s groundbreaking education program puts young learners on track for lifetime success
The push for universal pre-K is predicated on a surprising but verifiable statistic: 90% of a child’s brain develops during the first five years of life. That simple fact says everything you need to know about PNC Financial Services Group’s Grow Up Great® program.
Created by the Pittsburgh-based financial institution in 2004, Grow Up Great is a far-reaching effort aimed at preparing children from early infancy through age five—particularly underserved children—for success in school and life. It comprises a vast array of resources and programs—individualized and community-based, virtual and in-person—that assist families, educators, researchers and nonprofits in enhancing children’s learning and development. Its impact today is felt in homes, schools and communities across the nation.
In 2014, for example, PNC announced a $19 million, multi-year vocabulary initiative to be rolled out across 17 states. The funding supported three initiatives, among them the University of Chicago’s Thirty Million Words® project for underserved pre-kindergarten children and their families and teachers. The project name is derived from a research study that found that an at-risk child will typically have heard 30 million fewer words by age four than a child from a higher-income family.
At Carpenter Group we note that PNC’s commitment to bring its experience and expertise to bear in helping individuals and families achieve financial goals isn’t confined to its clients and indeed extends across socioeconomic boundaries. “It’s really a huge investment in our collective futures,” says Phoenix, Arizona, Regional President Cathleen Walker. “Research has shown that for every dollar spent on quality early education, society can reap up to $16 in long-term savings.”
To date, Grow Up Great has supported more than 7 million children through grants of more than $200 million and working partnerships with some of the nation’s most highly regarded early childhood experts and nonprofits, including Sesame Workshop™, Fred Rogers Productions and National Head Start Association.
Volunteerism figures importantly in Grow Up Great. A progressive corporate policy gives employees up to 40 hours a year of paid time off to volunteer—as virtual and on-site classroom readers, facility beautification crews and translators, and in other roles. By last December, the program had logged 1 million volunteer hours—a milestone all the more remarkable for having been reached during the COVID crisis. Although schools have reopened, the pandemic continues and volunteerism remains largely virtual. No one—neither the volunteers nor the children and families they serve—seems to have a problem with that.
“Reading to the children – even virtually – makes a big difference in their lives,” says Candice Frazier, an Atlanta-based a branch and business center assistant manager. “And it brings me a lot of joy,”
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About Brand Acts of Kindness®
Brand Acts of Kindness® is a series from Carpenter Group that spotlights companies across industries that are living their brand values in addressing the unprecedented challenges facing the world today.
The series initially headlined companies assisting healthcare workers and first responders, as well as communities, businesses and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also highlight brands taking the lead in supporting social and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, sustainability and the environment. Their stories show how innovation, resolve and action, built on a solid value proposition, can both strengthen a brand and help create a better world.
About Carpenter Group
Carpenter Group is an independent, woman-owned strategic branding, messaging and marketing communications firm that has delivered results-driven solutions to financial, professional services and technology firms for 30+ years.
Our broad cross-discipline experience enables us to craft brand messaging and carry it through to the channels that most effectively connect with our clients’ target audience, from editorial content to advertising to event marketing and more.