Walmart Foundation pledges $20 million for summer programs
June 14th, 2012
02:30 PM ET

Walmart Foundation pledges $20 million for summer programs

By John Martin, CNN

(CNN) – About 14 million children will participate in summer programs across America this year. An estimated 24 million more children “are on the outside, looking in,” Gary Huggins, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association, told CNN. Their parents would enroll them in these programs if they were available and affordable.

Walmart and its philanthropy arm, the Walmart Foundation, announced on Wednesday that it is giving $20 million to support youth summer programs that promote healthy meals, educational opportunities and employment and skills training.

The six grant recipients are the YMCA of the USA (Y-USA); National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA); National Summer Learning Association (NSLA); Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP); Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL); and Brandeis University. They operate or support summer programs in 350 communities.

NSLA, ICP and BELL will focus on summer learning initiatives. A Johns Hopkins study shows that low-income students can lose two months of math and reading ability over a nonproductive summer.

NSLA’s Huggins told CNN "there is a growing recognition among [school] district leaders that students are losing ground, and we have to stop that."

Huggins’ organization is using its Foundation Award to support summer programs in five school districts: Houston; Pittsburgh; Providence, Rhode Island; Jacksonville, Florida; and Oakland, California. NSLA’s funds would support more than 7,000 middle school children this summer and next through these districts' summer programs, Huggins said.

Huggins told CNN that while traditional summer school is punitive and remedial, the students in the NSLA-supported programs aren't enrolled just for flunking a class or missing a benchmark on a standardized test. The students in these programs voluntarily sign up. The free summer programs do try to seek out students who are struggling, Huggins said.

The districts that partner with NSLA will have engaging activities for participants, including physical activities and hands-on projects.

Huggins said, "It can't be another two months of school. The kids have to want to be there." According to Huggins, effective summer programs not only stem learning losses, they produce academic gains.

This summer, Y-USA and NRPA will use their Walmart Foundation funds to provide meals to 160,000 children, while Brandeis University will receive $5 million to support 3,000 young people in employment programs in seven American cities from New York to Los Angeles. The summer meals grants are part of a $2 billion pledge Walmart and its foundation made to fight hunger through 2015.

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Filed under: At Home • Extracurricular • Lunch • Practice • Summer learning
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Gratis advertentie plaatsen?

    I do believe all of the ideas you have introduced in your post. They're really convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very brief for novices. May you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  2. LaDirectora

    It's time to retire the tranditional school calendar and give kids in America an opportunity to compete globally. We are falling further and further behind in the education of our kids... this is going to cost us in the long run!!

    June 24, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  3. 2CME911

    [NSLA’s Huggins told CNN "there is a growing recognition among [school] district leaders that students are losing ground, and we have to stop that."]

    It's way past time for us to get over whatever fears we have and do everything we can to help our children succeed in the global economy.

    June 21, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  4. Stoodius

    There are very few programs that focus on learning and advancement/reinforcement of academic skills during summer. Apart from a few businesses like Kumon, Mathnesium and such, there are few free resources/choices for parents to keep up academically during the summer time.

    Editor, Stoodius Blog

    June 19, 2012 at 5:53 pm |