Here's How PNC Foundation Targets Early Ed

When it comes to the PNC Foundation’s early childhood funding strategy, the focus is simple. They want every child to “Grow Up Great,” and the majority of their early education giving is driven by an initiative of the same name. (See PNC Foundation: Grants for Early Childhood Education).

Launched in 2004 with $100 million in funding, Grow Up Great features several key grant-making strategies, and PNC has continued to ramp up their early education support. The foundation recently bolstered the program with an additional $250 million, which will carry Grow Up Great into 2021.

For early education fundraisers, it's an important program, and understanding its defining grant-making strategies is imperative to receiving PNC funding.

In the simplest terms, Grow Up Great’s goal is to prepare children — from birth to five years old — for their education ahead. To that end, PNC focuses their giving on organizations that provide learning opportunities for kids, engage parents and families in the learning process, and support the development of early education teachers. Grow Up Great grants, which are awarded through the PNC Foundation, now totaled more than $43 million, and the program's grantees have reached roughly 1.5 million children. (Read PNC Foundation president Eva Blum's IP profile).

Early education fundraisers should also note that Grow Up Great emphasizes four key subject area: math, science, the arts, and finanical education. The program is also bilingual, focusing on English- and Spanish-speaking students.

So how should one go about earning funding from PNC? What criteria do they look for in potential grantees? What types of funding do they offer?

Throughout the year, PNC accepts proposals from grant seekers, and the foundation's website features an extensive list of what a proposal should include. It's a good place to start when looking into PNC's funding opportunties, and interested grant seekers can also reach out to PNC program staff.  

PNC prefers organizations that provide educational opportunities for underserved students, and the focus should be in any of their core subject areas. As for geographic focus, like many corporate foundations, PNC has the strongest interest in the communities their company serves. For PNC, that means the majority of states east of the Mississippi River. 

In terms of financial support, the foundation offers seed and program development funding, and they also offer plenty of services for organization, including leadership development, advocacy, and volunteer services.

The foundation, in partnership with the Sesame Street Workshop, has also supported the creation of learning resources for parents and educators. These resources contribute to student learning at home and at school, and they play an important part in the foundation's funding.

So there are plenty of different avenues for fundraisers to consider when looking into PNC support. And with their renewed commitment to Grow Up Great, the foundation will continue to be a leader in early education funding.