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Rural school districts eligible for Federal i3 grant application assistance

For Immediate Release

Contact: Robert Mahaffey, Rural Trust
703.243.1487 x114
Stacey Finkel

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Provides $1.4 Million Grant to Rural School and Community Trust

Battle Creek, Mich. — As schools across the country prepare their applications for the Investing in Innovation (i3) grant competition, rural communities with school districts serving high poverty regions may be experiencing greater challenges in the development of their applications, with less access to professional guidance and grant-writing support. Without targeted assistance, these districts will likely face increased challenges in their efforts to educate a large and growing segment of the nation’s children.

Through a new $1.4 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Rural School and Community Trust (Rural Trust) will address these challenges and provide customized technical assistance for rural school districts seeking i3 grants. On-site workshops and other outreach efforts will ensure that rural applicants are informed of the i3 requirements and application process. The Rural Trust will also assist rural school applicants in identifying promising innovations, completing applications, and building long-term capacity to complete competitive grant applications in the future.

“This support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation comes at a crucial time for rural schools and communities,” said Dr. Doris Terry Williams, executive director of the Rural School and Community Trust. “Our partnership with the Kellogg Foundation will provide vital support to strengthen rural districts’ capacity to secure funding for innovations aimed at reducing dropout rates, increasing graduation rates, and improving teacher and principal quality in high-needs schools.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, during the 2007-2008 school year 19% of U.S. public school students were designated as living in rural areas. This includes more than 25,000 schools and 9.2 million students, of which 41% are economically disadvantaged (as measured by free and reduced school meal rate).

“We believe that every student – including those in rural communities – should have access to the finest education available,” said Sterling K. Speirn, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “The funding allocated as part of the Investing in Innovation i3 effort provides an unusual and exciting opportunity for rural students, but the application requirements at first glance could have some districts deciding not to participate. We have partnered with the Rural Trust to help remove obstacles and provide the support necessary to make the application process easier and doable. We would strongly encourage rural schools to seize the opportunity to apply for i3 funds.”

To learn more about the Rural Trust’s technical assistance program and how your school district can receive support, visit http://www.ruraledu.org/i3.html. To learn more about other education and learning programs the Kellogg Foundation supports, visit http://www.wkkf.org/what-we-support/educated-kids.aspx.


The Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) was established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and provides competitive grants to applicants (schools, school districts, and partnering nonprofit organizations) with a record of improving student achievement and expanding the implementation and investment of innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates.

These grants will (1) allow eligible entities to expand and develop innovative practices that can serve as models of best practices, (2) allow eligible entities to work in partnership with the private sector and the philanthropic community, and (3) identify and document best practices that can be shared and taken to scale based on demonstrated success. Application deadline: May 11, 2010

The Rural School and Community Trust is a national nonprofit organization addressing the crucial relationship between good schools and thriving communities. Our mission is to help rural schools and communities grow better together. Working in some of the poorest, most challenging places, the Rural Trust involves young people in learning linked to their communities, improves the quality of teaching and school leadership, and advocates in a variety of ways for appropriate state educational policies, including the key issue of equitable and adequate funding for rural schools. For more information, visit www.ruraledu.org

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, established in 1930, 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. Grants are concentrated in the United States, southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.


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