York Elementary School in Raleigh got a huge boost to its playground recently with a $219,700 grant from the John Rex Endowment.
The grant, given to the school's PTA, will go toward developing an interactive discovery playground, outdoor classrooms and an Americans with Disabilities Act-approved exercise track.
The playground will fuse physical activity with science, technology, engineering and math-focused learning and creative play, according to a press release. The paved track will be used by after-school programs such as Girls on the Run and a co-ed running club, physical education classes and the community. The money also will go toward creating outdoor classroom space where teachers can incorporate outside learning and additional physical activity.
"This grant will positively impact students’ opportunities to exercise and be physically fit. The playground is going to be one-of-a-kind and will also enhance our STEM program. Because of the creative elements being incorporated into the playground, our students will be exercising, learning and experiencing the natural world simultaneously,” said Keith Richardson, principal of York Elementary, in a press release. York is part of the STEM Schools Collaborative Network (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math).
The John Rex Endowment aims to help children and families in the Wake County area lead healthy lives and works with the community to support the physical, mental and emotional well-being of kids. A new five-year plan guides the group's work. The plan calls for it to seek projects that focus on healthy weight; injury prevention; mental health; social and emotional well being; and nonprofit capacity building.
While the endowment doesn't just fund school groups and PTA projects, it's definitely something those groups should consider as they look at the needs in their school or community - whether it be playground upgrades or something else that fits into one of the group's goals.
For more about the grant process, click here to see the endowment's grant award cycle and here to see the current funding opportunities.
Another grant opportunity that schools should consider is the BCBSNC Foundation's Healthy Active Communities Physical Activity Equipment Grant. This is not related to the John Rex Endowment grants, but is another opportunity for schools to win support for projects. The deadline is Oct. 7. Click here for details.
And the N.C. PTA has a Just ASK! Healthy Schools grant opportunity for PTAs. The deadline is today, Sept. 20, but even if you can't get things together today, it's definitely worth investigating for future grants.
Congratulations to York PTA!