The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced two grants totaling $4 million to Project L.I.F.T. (Leadership and Investment for Transformation), a public-private partnership in Charlotte, North Carolina, that aims to accelerate student achievement in some of the city's lowest-performing schools.
The funding from Knight pushes the initiative past its $55 million fundraising goal. A portion of the foundation's funds will be used to hire a community engagement coordinator to ensure that West Charlotte residents are involved in decision making eevery step of the way. The remaining funds will be used to provide laptops and training to thirty-two hundred K-5 students through the One Laptop Per Child organization.
Announced in January 2011, Project L.I.F.T. is an initiative of the Foundation for the Carolinas' Robinson Center for Civic Leadership, which convenes leaders, experts, and funders to address pressing community needs.
"Project L.I.F.T. is an example of what Charlotte does best — gather resources from the city's public and private sectors to address our toughest challenges," said Anna Spangler Nelson, co-chair of the Project L.I.F.T. board and a member as well of the Knight Foundation board. "Thanks to the generosity of so many people, including Knight Foundation with this latest gift, this innovative program will bring enhanced educational opportunities and boost student achievement within the L.I.F.T. zone."