The Chicago-based Robert R. McCormick Foundation has announced grants totaling nearly $5 million over two years to support a system of quality early care and education initiatives.
Grants were awarded for principal preparation, teacher training, and public policy and advocacy initiatives, as well as to help at-risk children and families succeed. Awards include a total of $1.24 million to Illinois State University, the National Governor's Association, National-Louis University, and New Leaders in support of efforts to integrate early childhood education and other content areas into principal preparation programs. In addition, the foundation awarded $845,000 to the Illinois Network for Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies and the Rush Neurobehavioral Center to boost the competence of early education teachers.
The foundation also awarded grants totaling $775,000 to the Erikson Institute, UC Berkeley, Zero to Three, and the DuPage Children's Museum in support of early learning programs for at-risk children. And it awarded a total of $1.8 million to Advance Illinois, Illinois Action for Children, the Ounce of Prevention Fund, and Voices for Illinois Children to help ensure the effective implementation of programmatic and policy proposals, maintain public and legislative support for early education, and advocate against cuts that could cause long-term harm to a large number of of children and families in the state.
"We are pleased that McCormick's board has approved almost $5 million of grants over two years at a time when the continued economic crisis and state budget cuts threaten the early education system," said Sara Slaughter, director of education at the foundation. "These grants will help Illinois address critical areas, such as principal preparation and the achievement gaps for Latino and African American children."