$5.4 Million to Boost School Readiness & Future Workforce in Danville & Pittsylvania County
Richmond, VA (November 22, 2010) – The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) announced today that the Danville Regional Foundation (DRF) has awarded an unprecedented five-year grant of over $5.4 million for Smart Beginnings Danville-Pittsylvania County to dramatically expand the region’s commitment to school readiness for thousands of young children. This sizable investment, which represents one of the largest grants ever awarded to further early childhood development initiatives in the Commonwealth, will also advance future workforce development in South Central Virginia.
Smart Beginnings is a community partnership with leadership and support provided by the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and United Way Danville-Pittsylvania County.
“We believe that this is an extremely worthwhile investment that creates the foundation for educational achievement, a strong regional workforce, and actively engaged citizens that will build a solid future for our region,” said Karl Stauber, President & CEO of the Danville Regional Foundation. “Our board was passionate about helping the Smart Beginnings community partners and early childhood stakeholders achieve the early learning goals and objectives that have been established for the Danville and Pittsylvania County region.”
A 2008 investment by the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, combined with General Assembly funds from the VECF, had provided seed money to help build an infrastructure of quality early learning programs and services in South Central and Southwest Virginia. The success of those initial investments leveraged the DRF’s decision to significantly raise the bar on the region’s early childhood development efforts with a multi-million dollar financial commitment.
Governor Bob McDonnell praised the Danville Regional Foundation and the Tobacco Commission for their vision, along with support from the General Assembly and the leadership of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. “It is through these types of public and private partnerships that Virginia continues to move forward in educational and workforce excellence,” he said. “Two years ago, the Tobacco Commission stepped beyond their usual funding to invest in the VECF’s long term strategy that boosts the region’s long-term economic prospects. That support helped leverage this investment from the Danville Regional Foundation. This is Virginia entrepreneurship at its best.”