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Prichard Committee awarded $500,000 early childhood grant from Public Life Foundation

The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence has received a $500,000 multi-year grant from the Public Life Foundation of Owensboro to fund high-level early childhood policy and practice work throughout the coming years.

“Support from the Public Life Foundation of Owensboro will provide a base for continued focus on the importance of early childhood policy and practice, with the goal of expanded high-quality early childhood programs statewide,” said Brigitte Blom Ramsey, Prichard Committee President and CEO. “The exciting innovation in this grant is the opportunity to support Owensboro and Daviess County in establishing a strong, community-driven early childhood ecosystem that becomes an exemplar statewide, and possibly nationally.”

David Boeyink, Executive Director of the Public Life Foundation, says this grant is a fascinating opportunity to provide sustained focus on early childhood policy at the state level and implementation of best practices in Owensboro.

“For nearly 25 years, the Public Life Foundation of Owensboro has supported civic participation in community life. This deep engagement of citizens resulted in significant progress in Owensboro,” said Boeyink. “We are committed to ensuring Kentucky leads the nation in preparing its youngest learners for success in school and life.”

The grant to the Prichard Committee is part of a $4-million Early Childhood Education Initiative being funded by the Public Life Foundation. The Prichard Committee will be hiring a senior-level early childhood policy and practice expert to lead this work. A job description can be found at prichardcommittee.org; resumes will be accepted through Feb. 12.

Bruce Hager, chair of the Public Life Foundation of Owensboro, said institutional support to the Prichard Committee will enable the foundation to carry out John and Marjorie Hager’s aspirations to seize opportunities that bring together the community through civic engagement. Also, a strong history of supporting education and the Prichard Committee exists with the Hager family and the foundation. This legacy, along with the board’s desire to move the needle in kindergarten readiness, makes the grant a perfect fit.

“The Prichard Committee has a long-standing commitment to improving education outcomes for students in the Commonwealth,” Hager said. “We are thrilled to support them in work that will have roots in Owensboro but will expand throughout the state to benefit early learners from Pikeville to Paducah.”

Owensboro native and Prichard Committee board vice-chair Clay Ford says strong local leadership will be key in building sustainability of this ecosystem. A local collaborative group will be formed to guide the process of developing quality programs in Owensboro/Daviess County.

“The Prichard Committee has worked in the early childhood space for years; this grant will allow us to mobilize a community as a pilot for community-driven best practice,” said Ford. “I am excited to be part of this and to see the work unfold in my home community.”

Prichard Committee Board Chair Wynn Radford says this early childhood ecosystem work has the potential to be a catalyst for sustained and continual progress in the years to come.

“Early childhood is the passion of The Public Life Foundation and they found the Prichard Committee to be a worthy partner in their drive to build a better Owensboro for every family. By partnering with Prichard, they are confident that Owensboro will benefit from their best-practice knowledge,” said Radford. “This best-practice model will be an excellent template for other communities to duplicate.”

From Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

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