WKU receives grant money for education outreach

Jackson French

The PNC Foundation has awarded WKU  a $150,000 grant, propelling the school one step closer to completing a three-year challenge from the James Graham Brown Foundation.

Rick Dubose, executive director of the WKU Alumni Association, said the school received a $500,000 grant three years ago from the James Graham Brown Foundation, a trust based in Louisville that funds projects to promote economic development, education and health standards in Kentucky. The foundation also challenged WKU to raise an additional $500,000.

Dubose said that with the PNC Foundation’s grant, WKU is now on the last step of the James Graham Brown Foundation’s challenge and has until the end of 2014 to raise the rest of the money. 

Kathryn Costello, president of the WKU Foundation, said PNC’s gift is important to the school’s i4 Initiative.

She said the goal of the i4 Initiative is to help children in the public schools in Kentucky become more knowledgeable in the STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering and math.

“They’re very interested in young children — preschool and elementary school children,” she said. “They understand that the future of our state depends on children having opportunities and being prepared and being able to learn.”

Dubose said PNC gave its grant to WKU based on a proposal from the school that he said called for “a lot of education, a lot of outreach to parents and teachers…of young children who are just beginning their educational journey.”

“It gives them pointers and tips on how to prepare their children to be successful, in particular in the math and science areas,” he said.

The main component of the proposal, Dubose said, is making videos that will be distributed to parents and teachers, offering them some of the tips. 

Julia Roberts, executive director of the Center for Gifted Studies, said WKU will use the grant money to produce six videos.

“We will make them available to early childhood programs,” she said. “They have a special interest in children from lower to moderate income families.”

Costello also said WKU will submit a report to the James Graham Brown Foundation to show what the grant helped fund. 

“We hope that they’ll be pleased and one day in the future, we’ll apply to them in the future for another grant for some purpose,” she said.