The president of the Lilly Foundation says Indianapolis' recently-approved pre-kindergarten program will “change the long-term fabric” of the community. Rob Smith calls the effort a public-private partnership in its “purest form.” The five-year, $40 million program includes $20 million from the city, $10 million from philanthropic organizations and $10 million from private sources. Smith is leading the private fundraising effort, and says he has secured more than $6 million in commitments so far. Smith and United Way of Central Indiana Chief Executive Officer Ann Murtlow discussed the program's implementation on Inside INdiana Business Television. The United Way of Central Indiana will implement the program. Murtlow says low-income children often suffer from an “attainment gap.” She believes early childhood education can go a long way to bridging that gap by increasing the affordability and accessibility of pre-k education.

The Indianapolis plan comes in addition to a pilot, state-funded pre-kindergarten program. That effort has begun in Allen, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh counties.

March 2, 2015

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. — Tonight the Indianapolis City-County Council passed Proposal 46, investing more than $4 million to provide a high-quality pre-K education for more than 1,000 students from some of the city’s neediest families. The money will be used to provide scholarships to attend highly-rated pre-K programs.

Approval of the Preschool Scholarship Program funding proposal allows the city to leverage $4.4 million already raised from the corporate community.

Council President Maggie A. Lewis and Vice President John Barth released this joint statement: “We are proud of the action taken by council tonight and of the true community effort that helped launch this program. Making quality pre-K available to students who need it most will level the playing field and help them start school ready to learn and be high achievers. We look forward to building a successful program.”

Source: Indianapolis City-County Council

March 2, 2015

Statement from Mayor Ballard Regarding Passage of Indianapolis Preschool Scholarship Program by Full City-County Council:

“Tonight's vote is a perfect example of the progress that is made when all parties work together to do what's best for our city,” Mayor Ballard said. “Thanks to the priority this issue has been given, thousands of Indianapolis children will have access to high-quality preschool that will provide a solid start in their education. We would not be here without our generous corporate and philanthropic partners who share in our commitment to creating opportunity for every child.”

Source: Office of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard

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