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Walmart Donates $25,000 to Project GRAD Kenai Peninsula

Project GRAD Kenai Peninsula, an Alaskan non-profit that works in seven underserved, primarily first generation Kenai Peninsula school communities to improve student achievement and help prepare high school graduates for college success has announced that it received a $25,000 donation from the Walmart Foundation through its State Giving Program.  This donation will go toward PGKP's College Access Program, which provides structural, motivational and experiential support targeting college/career awareness, academic rigor, college readiness and affordability so that students successfully transition to and persist in postsecondary education.

PGKP's College Access Program shares Walmart's vision in that by supporting education, we support the lives and well being of all Americans, and ensure that the leaders of tomorrow have access to the quality education opportunities they need to be successful today.  Through its partnership with the school district and local communities, Project GRAD reliably increases academic achievement, high school graduation rates, college attendance rates, and student achievement in each community it serves.

Opportunities provided by PGKP's College Access Program, and supported by the Wal-Mart award include:

1)             Summer Institute and College/Career Awareness activities that provide high school  academic enrichment designed to introduce college preparatory level learning in Math, Applied Science and Language Arts, build career awareness and a college-bound culture;

2)             Middle School Bride program which intervenes early to help students recognize the connection between college credentials and employment opportunities, express a commitment to postsecondary education through a six-year academic plan and develop leadership skills that help keep underserved and first-generation college students on a college-going track.

A formal presentation of the grant award will take place at the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education meeting on Monday, November 7th at 7:00 PM at the Kenai Borough Administration Building Chambers.

Quotes:

"We are honored to receive this donation from the Walmart Foundation Alaska State Giving Program," said Mike Petersen, Executive Director of Project GRAD.   "One of Alaska's greatest challenges today is effectively educating its youth and building a strong in-state workforce.  Project GRAD invests in Kenai Peninsula communities, helping to build capacity so that each student has the opportunity to achieve their educational dreams and successfully enter high demand occupations that support rural economies.  We thank Walmart for their extraordinary vision and investments in the Kenai Peninsula."

"Project GRAD is an excellent example of an organization that is truly committed to helping our local community by providing for Alaska's said Angie StonerWalmart representative "We are proud partner with Project GRAD and are excited to see the impact that this organization is having in our local communities."

About Walmart

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally, supporting initiatives that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods.   Through financial contributions, in-kind donations and volunteerism, the Walmart Foundation enhances opportunities in four main focus areas:  Education, Workforce Development, Environmental Sustainability and Health and Wellness.

In 2010, Walmart stores, Sam's Club locations and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $378 million to local communities in the United States.  Of that total, more than $1.7 in cash and in-kind donations were granted to organizations in the state of Alaska.   Through additional funds donated by customers, and Walmart and Sam's Club associates throughout the state, the retailer's contributions in Alaska totaled more than $1.8 million. For more information, visihttp://walmartstores.com/communitygiving.

About Project GRAD Kenai Peninsula

Project GRAD (which stands for Graduation Really Achieves Dreams) is a nationally acclaimed model for education reform serving over 133,500 economically disadvantaged youth in 213 schools across the nation.  It began sixteen years ago in Houston, Texas' troubled inner-city schools and has since established a nationwide track record in increasing high school graduation and college attendance rates for low-income students.  GRAD schools outperform comparison schools on nationally-normed achievement tests, and GRAD students are significantly more college ready than their non-GRAD peers. In the longest-served group of schools, GRAD students are completing college at a rate 92% above the national average (51.5% of GRAD students are completing college versus 26.8% for students from similar low-income backgrounds.)

In July 2003, Project GRAD expanded into Alaska at the recommendation of former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens and with support of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD).  They believed a Project GRAD Kenai Peninsula initiative could successfully address the alarming academic achievement gap in rural KPBSD schools and provide a model for other challenged schools in Alaska. It is the first pilot of the GRAD model in rural locations.

Working in partnership with seven Kenai Peninsula communities, the KPBSD and local college campuses of the University of Alaska, PGKP implements an innovative and comprehensive K-14 school reform model that ensures quality education for children in economically disadvantaged communities such that high school graduation rates increase and graduates are prepared to enter college and succeed.
 

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