PNC Bank employees’ clothing drive benefits DPS pre-K students

Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542
Kisha Verdusco at 313-873-4546

Robert Darmanin

More than 1,200 pairs of boots, socks and underwear collected by PNC employees at 116 branches in the bank’s Detroit market were distributed on Valentine’s Day to students at seven Detroit Public Schools as part of the $2.1 million Grow Up Great early childhood initiative.

Grow Up Great in Detroit is a partnership with the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, the Detroit Science Center and the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts to establish new programs in science and the arts. The program has equipped classrooms with musical instruments and art supplies, and students are being exposed to a variety of arts programs through field trips. The program is made possible by the largest donation to date to the DPS Foundation.

DPS Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb and Ric DeVore, PNC regional president for Detroit and Southeast Michigan helped distribute the clothing items to pre-kindergarten students at Emerson Elementary. Across the city this morning, PNC employees also distributed items at Beard Early Childhood Center, Beckham Academy, Blackwell Institute, Burton International, Priest Elementary and Schulze School.

“Volunteerism is a key component of Grow Up Great,” DeVore said. “More than 95 percent of our employees contributed to this effort, which demonstrates just how committed the PNC team is to the community and early childhood education.”

“The evidence of PNC’s generosity is clearly visible in this classroom and others like it around Detroit, where Grow Up Great is ensuring that our students are exposed to the art and music that will not only inspire them, but make sure they have a solid foundation in math, science, reading and the other areas as they continue their education,” Bobb said.

Grow Up Great leverages the experience of the Detroit Science Center and the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts to create new programs in preschool teacher training, add activities to enhance the arts and sciences curriculum and engage parents in their children’s learning experiences. Following completion of the pilot this year, the program will continue for an additional two school years and will include an independent evaluation of its success.

All 1,375 employees in the Detroit market are eligible to participate in the volunteerism. About 25 percent are now currently going through the clearance process so they can work directly with children. Employees from 116 branches and other PNC work sites contributed to the collection drive. Boots socks and underwear were provided for the 192 children in the Grow Up Great program, and over 1,200 items of clothing were collected and delivered to DPS schools for children outside the grant program as well.

The company offers a generous 40-hour-per-year paid-time-off policy and innovative volunteer incentives to fully engage employees in volunteerism. Employees who volunteer 40 or more hours at one early education center receive a $1,000 grant for the center. Groups of employees may also volunteer as a team and may apply for grants of up to $3,000. Between March 2004-2009 PNC employees volunteered over 100,000 hours on behalf of PNC Grow Up Great.

About the Organizations involved in Grow Up Great:

The Detroit Public Schools Foundation is a tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to supporting Detroit students. Our mission is to raise, manage and steward funds and other resources to support value-added programs and activities for the benefit of the Detroit Public Schools and its students. Our program areas include early childhood investment, enhancing fine and performing arts programs, principal development/teacher enhancement, college preparatory investment, science and math enrichment, building academic athletic leadership, business and professional executive engagement and other activities for the benefit of the Detroit Public Schools.

The Detroit Science Center is a hands-on museum that inspires its visitors to pursue and support careers in engineering, technology and science. The Science Center features five theaters, including Michigan’s only Chrysler IMAX

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