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Foundation Collaboration on education and commitment to rural communities

Attributed to Sterling K. Speirn, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – At the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, we believe there is no separation between the future of children and the future of our nation. Our focus is on vulnerable children, and on helping communities create the conditions where children can thrive.

To that end, we’ve been investing in education innovations for many years. Now, we have reached a critical moment when the future of our children, our economy and our nation depend on dramatically transforming our public schools and finding more innovative and effective ways to help all students become successful learners.

That’s why we are so proud to be working together with 11 other major foundations in an unprecedented collaboration and the U.S. Department of Education to make a more than $1 billion commitment to innovation in education. This commitment includes a combined $506 million investment from the 12 foundations, in addition to the $650 million through the Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) fund.

Through this Collaboration, the participating foundations are working towards our common goal of improving our nation’s schools by encouraging and rewarding schools, school districts and nonprofits that are developing fresh ideas, growing promising programs and taking proven practices to a larger scale so that more students can benefit.

The Kellogg Foundation has a longstanding commitment to supporting rural communities across the country, and is helping school districts in high-poverty rural communities serving more than four million students take advantage of the i3 funds.

The Kellogg Foundation believes that all schools – including those in rural communities – should have the opportunity to take advantage of this exciting opportunity. But as school districts across the country prepare their applications for the i3 grant competition, many rural school districts are experiencing greater challenges because they do not have the necessary professional guidance and grant-writing expertise. As a result, the Kellogg Foundation is partnering with the nonprofit Rural School and Community Trust to provide customized technical assistance for rural school districts seeking i3 grants. This $1.4 million grant will help remove obstacles to these rural districts’ participation and provide the support necessary to make the application process easier.

Secondly, often rural schools don’t have access to large private funding in their communities. So the Kellogg Foundation will invest $4 million in a match fund, combined with at least another $7 million from other foundations, for rural schools applying for i3 funds.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports children, families, and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. To ensure that all children get the development and education they need as a foundation for independence and success, we seek opportunities to invest in early child development (ages zero to eight), leading to reading proficiency by third grade, high school graduation, and pathways to meaningful employment.

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