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7:59 am
Wed November 9, 2011

Huge Grant to Early Childhood Programs

Tulsa, OK – Early childhood education programs in Tulsa County received a major boost in funding today thanks to a $22 million grant to Community Action Project (CAP) from George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF).

CAP's vision is to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by improving the prospects of long-term economic success for very young, low-income children, their families, and the communities in which they live. CAP serves more than 2,000 of Tulsa's low-income children in 13 early childhood centers across the county.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi was on-hand for the grant announcement at CAP's Early Childhood Education Center at McClure in the Tulsa Public School district. She helped a student complete a mural of handprints representing the 68 additional students who the center will be able to serve as a result of the grant.

"Voluntary early childhood education programs can be an important part of efforts to help children develop the skills they need to become successful students," said Barresi. "CAP is a provider of the kinds of high-quality early childhood education programs that Oklahoma is known for. I am proud to be here today to recognize the hard work that made this day possible."

A portion of the grant provides the match for the overall State Pilot Program support of the CAP programs. In addition to funding operations of new classrooms at McClure, the contribution will support operations of additional classrooms for more students at CAP's Disney Early Childhood Education Center and Union Public Schools' Early Childhood Education Centers.

"We are honored to receive this generous grant from George Kaiser Family Foundation, which will support the growth of our early childhood education programs," said Steven Dow, executive director of CAP. "These funds will allow us to greatly increase the number of families and children served by our programs in the Tulsa community."

GKFF has been a strong supporter of CAP's early education initiatives, having contributed more than $92 million to the organization since 2004. The mission of CAP is consistent with the foundation's goal of breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty in Oklahoma.

"We know that the earliest years of a child's life are critical to their future success. Investing in the first five years of a child's life is the best investment we can make as a society," said Ken Levit, executive director of George Kaiser Family Foundation. "We applaud CAP, an organization which delivers an extraordinarily high quality of service to our community's most vulnerable young children and their parents."

The Kaiser Foundation is also a contributor to Public Radio Tulsa.