About $5 million will be provided to Northwest Arkansas groups to improve early childhood education programs and health initiatives in the region, Endeavor Foundation announced today.
Building on the $2.9 million investment made earlier this year to expand Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) Pre-K programs for 200 new children, Endeavor is now committing an additional $4 million to bring ABC to 240 more preschoolers, including one-time grants for start-up costs such as furnishings, learning tools, and classroom renovation.
Endeavor will also award approximately $800,000 to support 280 students enrolled in existing ABC programs. In total, the new childhood education grants brings the Foundation’s investment to nearly $8 million through 2018, impacting the lives and future of more than 700 children from low-income families across the region.
Specific grantees will be announced in early 2015.
“The Foundation is proud of its commitment to both maintain and expand high quality early childhood education in Northwest Arkansas, and to advance a bold vision toward helping to support the more than 4,000 children in high-need families that do not have access to Pre-K programs,” said Anita Scism, president and CEO of Endeavor Foundation.
Beyond systemic change in the area of education, Endeavor is committed to addressing root causes behind inadequate access to health care. A $200,000 grant to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest (UAMS Northwest) will support the continued development of an internal medicine residency program poised to receive accreditation in late 2015. The program will create a pipeline of eight trained residents each year, with a goal of retaining at least 60 percent of the new internal medicine doctors in Northwest Arkansas.
“Internal medicine is the No. 1 primary care need in Northwest Arkansas, largely because of the broad spectrum of acute symptoms and chronic diseases which internists are specially trained to treat,” said UAMS Northwest Vice Chancellor Peter Kohler. “As a result of this important resident training program, UAMS expects to substantially reduce the shortage of internal medicine specialists in Northwest Arkansas in the very near term, resulting in improved economic and health outcomes, and lower overall costs of care.”
An additional health and wellness grant of $40,734 was awarded to the Northwest Arkansas Council Foundation to provide better access to drinking water near the Razorback Regional Greenway. The goal will be to install drinking water fountains at least every three miles near the trail, making proper hydration along the trails easier for those with a healthy, active lifestyle.
Endeavor Foundation, a professionally-staffed, grant-making organization, has a long history of supporting programs in Northwest Arkansas. Over the past 15 years, Endeavor has made almost 3,000 grants worth more than $80 million combined, helping create a thriving, vibrant Northwest Arkansas.