<!--:es-->Big thought issued $270,000 Ford Foundation Grant for Family Initiative<!--:-->

Big thought issued $270,000 Ford Foundation Grant for Family Initiative

New comprehensive plan that will educate and motivate parents

DALLAS – The Ford Foundation has issued a $270,000 grant to Big Thought for Dallas ArtsPartners’ Family Initiative program, a new, comprehensive plan that will educate and motivate parents to become advocates for arts in education within their urban community and throughout the Dallas Independent School District. The Ford Foundation grant will be applied toward the implementation of the Family Initiative through March 2007.

In 2003, Ford Foundation made an investment in the future of Dallas ArtsPartners, the remarkable community partnership created several years ago by the City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs, Dallas Independent School District and the cultural community for the research and development of the Family Initiative. Two years later, this new investment will help to build upon the work our community has accomplished.

The Family Initiative is designed as a community partnership with the City of Dallas, the Dallas Independent School District (DISD), and two new partners the Dallas Public Library and the North Texas Business for Culture and the Arts, as well as cultural providers and other grassroots community organizations.

The Initiative has three goals: to increase diversity in the access and use of the city’s cultural resources by families, to promote parental involvement and support of arts education to improve academic achievement in DISD, and to organize families to advocate and sustain funding of the arts and cultural learning opportunities.

Cyrus Driver, deputy officer, Ford Foundation said, “The Ford Foundation believes that Dallas ArtsPartners is uniquely positioned to build large-scale support and advocacy among parents for arts education across an entire city. And, to tie this support to on-the ground activities that are happening in their children’s schools and among the city’s cultural institutions.”

Dallas ArtsPartners’ Family Initiative is preparing to join together with parents, grandparents, and all others who care for our city’s children to spread the word about the value of arts and culture, how it can add to family life, and how families can become advocates for these programs in their neighborhood schools.

If you would like more information about the Family Initiative program and how you can be involved, please contact Erin Offord, Senior Family Programs Manager. To learn how you can help support Big Thought, contact Nancy Webb, Director of Individual Giving at 214.520.0023 ext. 221 or Patty Green, Director of Institutional Giving at 214.520.0023 ext. 213.

About Big Thought

Big Thought is one of the largest non-profit learning partnerships in the nation, inspiring, empowering, and uniting children and communities through education, arts and culture. Formed in 1987, the Dallas, Texas-based organization offers a diverse array of arts and culture-based performances, workshops, cultural excursions and multi-visit residencies for children and teens, and provides professional development and training to help adults use these programs. Big Thought’s programs reach an average of 400,000 students, teachers and family members each year in schools, libraries, museums, juvenile facilities and community centers. Programs are presented in affiliation with Young Audiences, Inc. More information on Big Thought can be found at www.bigthought.org.

About Dallas Arts Partners

Launched in 1998, Dallas ArtsPartners is a city-wide partnership with the Dallas Independent School District, the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and 65 arts and cultural agencies. Young Audiences of North Texas serves as the managing partner of the program, which impacts student learning and achievement and provides access to the city’s arts and cultural programming – something that was previously non-existent in 75 percent of DISD schools. ArtsPartners has proven to have a powerful effect in the classroom regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic conditions or geographic boundaries – teaching students about math and science; improving reading, writing and test scores; developing understanding, problem-solving, and critical thinking; building memory and even teaching life skills. ArtsPartners also provides 2,000 hours of professional development to 6,000 elementary educators, distributes funds for programming, and manages all aspects of program and delivery. Visit www.dallasartspartners.org or call Big Thought at 214-520-0023.

About the Ford Foundation

Founded in 1936, the Ford Foundation operated as a local philanthropy in the state of Michigan until 1950, when it expanded to become a national and international foundation. Since its inception it has been an independent, nonprofit, non-governmental organization. It has provided more than $12 billion for grants, projects and loans. These funds derive from an investment portfolio that began with gifts and bequests of Ford Motor Company stock by Henry and Edsel Ford. The foundation no longer owns Ford Motor Company stock, and its diversified portfolio is managed to provide a perpetual source of support for the foundation’s programs and operations.

The Ford Foundation has 13 offices in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Russia, enabling staff to address global problems by supporting those living and working closest to them. Their headquarters is located at 320 E. 43rd St., New York, NY 10017, 212-573-5000, www.fordfound.org.