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PNC Grants to the Dr. Phillips Center and Orlando Science Center

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ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 28, 2014 – Arts and science education for Central Florida preschoolers received a financial boost today with a $400,000 grant from the PNC Foundation.

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and the Orlando Science Center (OSC) will partner on a three-year grant to launch Project WoW - “World of Wonder” for 4-year-olds, their families and teachers in Orlando. Project WoW enhances access to arts and sciences for hundreds of pre-k students and their families through classroom and home activities, support of teachers through training and mentors along with special family events at the two centers.

“Children have a better chance of succeeding when there’s instruction outside of the classroom that include hands-on learning before the age of 5,” said PNC Regional President Joe Meterchick, speaking on behalf of the PNC Foundation. “We will all benefit from Project WoW because in the long run, it’s an investment in the future of Central Florida and inevitably, one that helps children broaden their opportunities for social and economic mobility.”

Dr. Phillips Center President Kathy Ramsberger states that the Project WoW partnership ties directly into the performing arts center’s vision of Arts For Every Life – providing a place to inspire people of all ages to learn and experience in creative ways.  "The arts positively affect our lives by building self-esteem and enhancing communication skills such as speaking, interacting, listening and interpretation,” Ramsberger said. “We are happy to partner with PNC and the Orlando Science Center to make an immediate impact on Nap Ford Community School and Washington Shores Head Start pre-k students.”

JoAnn Newman, president and CEO for the Orlando Science Center, is also passionate about making science available to all, while building the workforce of tomorrow. “Science and math education for our children is a leading concern for this region and our country as a whole,” she said. “The Science Center is proud to play an integral role with the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and PNC in affecting change through Project WoW."

Highlights of Grant

The $400,000 grant from The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC), adds to PNC Grow Up Great programs in Central Florida. Arts and science activities planned by the grant recipients will be offered to children served by Nap Ford Community School and Washington Shores Head Start. Project WoW will include:

  • Familiarize parents with the project and present one family engagement workshop hosted by OSC and the Dr. Phillips Center for each class
  • Conduct 40-50 minute, weekly in-classroom workshops
  • Provide professional development to teachers through written lesson plans and mini-activities
  • Provide “Project WoW” backpacks for each child to take home for family activities and return to class
  • Host “Celebrate Science Night” at OSC for families this Fall
  • Host families at the Dr. Phillips Center to see “Ugly Duckling & The Tortoise and the Hare” in January
  • Access to an OSC and a Dr. Phillips Center “mentor” for 28 hours per year

Today’s announcement expands upon previous PNC efforts in support of school readiness through Grow Up Great, its $350 million, multi-year, bilingual initiative to improve early childhood education for children from birth to age 5. To date, the program has served more than 2 million preschoolers and PNC employees have recorded 400,000 hours through a progressive policy that permits 40 hours a year of paid time off for volunteerism.

In addition, PNC will donate 165 "Words that Help Me Grow” vocabulary tree posters to the organizations for each child participating in the program to help them learn new words and foster their verbal skills. The posters are the first element in a new “Words Are Here, There, and Everywhere” initiative developed by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame StreetTM, as part of a continuing partnership with PNC.

About Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to developing and operating a new $500 million performing arts center in downtown Orlando, Fla. This public-private partnership is funded by the City of Orlando, Orange County and private donors. Situated on a nine-acre site, the performing arts center complex will include: an amplified theater, a multi-form, acoustical theater, a community theater, educational facilities and a public performance plaza. Future plans also include mixed-use urban development. Inspired by the pillars: Celebration, Education, Participation and Destination, this mission-driven Center will be Central Florida’s destination of choice for arts, cultural and entertainment programming. The Center opens two of its three theaters in 2014. The Dr. Phillips Center is committed to the City of Orlando’s Blueprint Initiative, a standard for minority/women business involvement and local employment participation. For more information or to see live footage from the Dr. Phillips Center construction webcam, please visit www.drphillipscenter.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About Orlando Science Center

Located in Orlando, Fla., interactive learning and discovery await within the Science Center’s hundreds of exhibits, programs, labs, films and planetarium shows. The Science Center provides educational opportunities both within and outside its walls including field trips, family science nights at schools and community centers, and other outreach.

Orlando Science Center's mission is to inspire science learning for life. The Science Center strives to create lasting impacts on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and develop the next generation of creative innovators. Fully accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Science Center ranks as one of the most popular museum destinations in the region. Having served more than 11 million people since its inception in 1955 and more than 200,000 youth in the past year alone, the Science Center offers rich resources for lifelong learning.

About PNC Foundation

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (www.pnc.com) actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a $350 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.