The Parade Company and PNC hosted more than 1,000 guests made up of Detroit Public School preschool students from Grow Up Great-designated schools

PNC to Serve as Official Partner of Early Childhood Education for The Parade Company

The Parade Company and PNC hosted more than 1,000 guests made up of Detroit Public School preschool students from Grow Up Great-designated schools and their families at the first-ever PNC Grow Up Great Family Fun Day at the Parade Studio on Thursday, October 13.


Earlier this month, the Parade Company announced that it will kick-off a multi-year relationship with PNC Bank for the 85th America’s Thanksgiving Parade®, including naming PNC as the official partner of early childhood education for The Parade Company.


Beginning with this year’s Thanksgiving Parade, PNC will introduce a Grow Up Great float, named after the company’s 10-year, $100 million initiative to help preschool children prepare for success in school and life.

Some of the Grow Up Great educational elements will be included in materials from The Parade Company andAmerica’s Thanksgiving Parade®.

“The annual parade is a popular family event and a perfect opportunity to stress the importance of early childhood education,” said PNC Regional President Ric DeVore“After introducing PNC Grow Up Great last year in the Detroit Public Schools, we are expanding the program to include educational opportunities for a broader group of preschool children at The Parade Company studio.”


The partnership was made possible by the PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group.  In support of Grow Up Great, a 10-year, $100 million bilingual initiative to improve early childhood education, the PNC Foundation pledged $2.1 million in May 2010 to the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, theDetroitScienceCenter and theMusicalHallCenter for the Performing Arts. Together, they have established new programs in science and the arts for underserved preschool children in the Detroit Public Schools.

“America’s Thanksgiving Parade is a cherished tradition that has created memories for millions of adults and children alike over the last 85 years,” said Tony Michaels, President & CEO, The Parade Company.  “We are thrilled to partner with PNC to help build upon our Parade traditions and enhance and create new educational opportunities for the children in our community.”

PNC Parade Studio Tours

Each year, thousands of visitors, including hundreds of preschool children and families, participate in PNC Parade Studio Tours, which offer guided, behind-the-scenes visits to a real working art studio.  For the 2011 Parade season, the PNC grant will enable preschool-aged children and families to experience new “teachable moments,” which include a papier-mâché area, material touch boards, a foam rod sculpting area and more.  These program areas will also allow tour guides to provide students a greater understanding of the artistic process behind creating the major elements of a Parade, such as floats, big heads and costumes, as well as the creation of the Parade, itself. 

“I am very proud of the partnership we have with PNC because of their unwavering commitment to early childhood education,” said Chacona Johnson, President & CEO of Detroit Public Schools Foundation.   “Through Grow Up Great, PNC has provided outstanding opportunities for DPS pre-kindergarten students, teachers and parents.  This new collaboration with the Parade Company is yet another way they continue to expose DPS students and their families to unique learning experiences.”

DPS Preschool Student, Family and Teacher Opportunities

Throughout the 2011 parade season, there will be a number of special opportunities customized for Detroit Public Schools preschool students, families and teachers who take part in Grow Up Great.  In October and November, all of the preschool students will participate in a guided PNC Parade Company Studio Tour and participate in hands-on learning activities at each station.

Working with the DetroitScienceCenterand Detroit Children’s Museum, The Parade Company will create both an Educator and Parent Guide for participating preschool teachers and parents.  The guides will provide activities and educational lessons so that students can take their experiences from the guided Parade Studio Tour and continue learning at home and in the classroom.  The guide will include activities that can be replicated with recycled materials and household items.  The various materials will be provided to all of the teachers to produce each activity in their classroom at least once. The DPS preschool teachers will also attend an in-service at The Parade Company studio in early October to review the materials and lessons in advance.

In addition, The Parade Company and PNC will invite all DPS preschool students of Grow Up Great designated schools and their families to PNC Family Fun Day on Thursday, October 13 at the Parade Company’s studio for a free afternoon and evening of parade fun, food and entertainment. The students and parents will even participate in a hands-on activity that will allow them to “leave their mark” on the new PNC Grow Up Great float that will be featured in the 85th America’s Thanksgiving Parade®.  The new float will be unveiled on Friday, November 4th at The Parade Company’s annual VIP Pancake Breakfast at their studio.

About The PNC Foundation

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through its signature cause, Grow Up Great, PNC has created a 10-year, $100 million initiative to enhance early childhood education and school readiness. For more information on Grow Up Great, please visit

About Detroit Public Schools Foundation

The mission of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation 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. Detroit Public Schools Foundation is a 501 ©3 non-profit operating independently of the Detroit Public Schools. Visit


About The Parade Company

Founded in 1984, The Parade Company is a not-for-profit organization governed by the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation whose board of directors is comprised of key civic and corporate leaders in the greater Detroit region.  The Parade Company is celebrating 85 years of Parade tradition in Detroit.  The mission is to fund, create and execute the best family events in metro Detroit.  The Parade Company staff, the board of directors and thousands of parade volunteers work year-round to bring a wide variety of magnificent events to the City of Detroit, each year, including the Target Fireworks, Fifth Third Turkey Trot and America’s Thanksgiving Parade®.

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