“We can’t believe it,” and “This good news made my day,” are some of the reactions by school administrators’ to news their school – after a rigorous selection process – will receive grant monies totaling $1 million.
Building on school success that is “moving the needle” towards closing the largest education disparities gap in the country between low-income students of color and white students, Target and Greater Twin Cities United Way last summer jointly announced the Spotlight Schools initiative – a grant awarded to 10 kindergarten through 12th grade public or charter schools to augment their work.
More than 40 Minneapolis and St. Paul charter and public schools were invited to apply based on demonstrated success with low income students of color. However, only 10 schools were selected in the highly competitive process. Each school will receive $100,000 to fund a year-long project aimed at accelerating the pace of successful student achievement.
Those schools received an in-person special delivery of a personal congratulatory letter from Target and United Way executives and packages loaded with treats to celebrate the schools’ success. Spotlight Schools’ administrators had no idea what was in store for them when the packages and letters were delivered by United Way staffers.
Target and United Way leadership said the Spotlight Schools is a product of involvement from academic and thought leaders representing charter associations, community organizations, education coalitions, foundations and school districts.
The leadership also indicated these awards are a game-changer for these schools.
“Spotlight Schools’ teachers will now have the technology – from Smartboards to iPads – that are necessary to help students be on an even academic field. It’s a win-win: enriched classroom experiences in which students can excel and thrive equal a stronger educational foundation. United Way is deeply committed to equity for all students. These grants put us another step closer to achieving that goal,” said United Way president and CEO, Sarah Caruso.
“At Target, supporting communities through giving has always been a cornerstone of our business and the Spotlight Schools grant is one example of how Target will achieve our goal of giving $1 billion to education by the end of 2015. The 10 schools being recognized by receiving the Spotlight Schools grants are amazing schools serving in-need students in our community, so we’re excited to see how the grants will help accelerate academic achievement for more students with greater urgency,” said Target executive vice president and chief corporate social responsibility officer Laysha Ward.
Spotlight Schools will receive the grant monies in time for the 2015-2016 academic year.