BELL Receives $4 Million Grant from The Walmart Foundation to Support Summer Learning Programs in Six Cities
BOSTON - June 13, 2012 - Today, BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) announced that it has received a $4 million donation from The Walmart Foundation, which will be used to expand its summer learning programs in Charlotte, NC and Springfield, MA and to launch new partnerships with schools and school districts in San Jose and San Rafael, CA; Spartanburg, SC; and Winston-Salem, NC.
"Summer learning makes a world of difference for students," explains BELL CEO Tiffany Cooper Gueye, Ph.D. "Our goal is to deliver world-class educational experiences for students who can't afford or lack great programs in their community. Walmart's grant is enabling BELL to form new partnerships with schools and school districts and create new summer learning opportunities for thousands of scholars and families."
While most children look forward to the summer season, recent research shows that children who do not engage in educational activities during the summer months experience learning loss. It is also well-documented that young people's health may decline in the summer due to lower levels of physical activity and lack of access to healthy meals. Low-income children are particularly vulnerable, as data report larger losses in health and academic achievement during summer months compared to their more affluent peers.
Walmart's investment is meant to help eliminate summer learning loss by providing high-quality learning opportunities to the students most at risk. The BELL Summer program is proven to increase participant's academic skills and help them transition into the next grade successfully. Participants - called "scholars" by BELL - engage in small-group academic instruction, enrichment courses, physical fitness, and field trips. The program operates up to eight hours per day, five days per week, for six weeks.
"At Walmart, we recognize the need to support the development of our nation's youth," said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the Walmart Foundation. "We know that providing access to summer learning programs during the summer months will enable students to return to school healthy, prepared and ready to succeed. By working closely with BELL, we can help kids have better summers and ultimately, better lives."
Funds from the grant will support instruction, curriculum, field trips, parent outreach, teacher training, evaluation and other BELL Summer program activities. The investment will also allow BELL and its school and district partners to create jobs for teachers and aspiring educators, and meet the needs of families by delivering free nutritious meals for youth and engaging scholars in health education and physical fitness.
BELL, founded in 1992, is one of the nation's leading providers of quality summer and after school educational programs. It is committed to transforming the academic achievements, self-confidence, and life trajectories of children living in under-resourced, urban communities. BELL serves more than 15,000 students - whom BELL recognizes as "scholars" - in public schools throughout Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Detroit, MI; Newark, NJ; New York City, NY; San Jose, CA; San Rafael, CA; Spartanburg, SC, Springfield, MA; and Winston-Salem, SC. BELL's summer learning program has been independently proven by the Urban Institute to increase children's reading skills and parental involvement. BELL employs more than 2,000 teachers and tutors across the nation. Please visit www.experienceBELL.org for more information.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better around the globe. In May 2010, Walmart and its Foundation made a historic pledge of $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger in the U.S. The Walmart Foundation also supports education, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness initiatives. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.