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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: , Public Education Director, 303-426-8900

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Grants $500,000 to Strengthen Family Engagement

April 16, 2014

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Research has shown that when entire families are engaged in their child’s education from an early age, the child is more likely to succeed in school. A $500,000 grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) to the American Indian College Fund will establish an 18-month program to engage Native families in the development and transformation of education practices and outcomes in their children’s education at early childhood education centers located at tribal colleges and universities.

The American Indian College Fund provides financial support for programs at tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) which are located on or near American Indian reservations to provide American Indians with affordable place-based education grounded in Native culture. The Ké’ Early Childhood Initiative: Strengthening Systems of Shared Responsibility among Native Families, Schools, and Communities positions TCUs to develop opportunities with Native families to engaging in and transform early childhood educational practices and outcomes by becoming informed educators, researchers, and advocates. Family engagement is a shared responsibility that will promote partnerships and methods to address racial, cultural, social, and systemic inequities embedded in educational systems, starting with early learning environments serving Native children from birth to eight years old. At each project site, Native families will play a central role in designing, implementing and examining the success of programmatic innovation. Families and kinship relations will ensure Native culture and language are central forms of knowledge that are aligned with academic knowledge presented in early learning program curricula.

This project will impact Native communities in powerful and transformative ways. Collaborations among the College Fund, TCUs, and families will generate a visionary movement that is urgently needed to shape the future for young children and families.

The College Fund plans to announce TCU grantees in June 2014.

“WKKF is proud to partner with an exceptional organization like the American Indian College Fund, which is clearly committed to ensuring families, schools and communities are working together to help children reach their full potential,” said Carla Thompson, vice president for program strategy at WKKF. “The College Fund’s focus on the importance of Native culture and language is an especially important reminder that all families are powerful assets for their children’s education.”

Dr. Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund said, “As tribal people, our kinship is the foundation of our understanding of the world. Our children are our most important assets and when the family and community surround our children with the best opportunities, partnerships, and resources then we pave the way for more prosperous and healthy tribal societies. The College Fund is pleased that the partnership brings resources to our students and their families in a manner that recognizes our understanding that education is a life-long experience and not only the opportunity to go to college.”

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF)
The WKKF was founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg. It is among the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work, and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.