Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1996-1997 index

Distributed August 9, 1996
Contact: Tracie Sweeney

The Annenberg Challenge

Boston University/Chelsea Partnership to receive $2-million grant

The Annenberg Foundation has awarded a three-year $2-million grant to the Boston University/Chelsea Partnership for an education reform project to be conducted with the Chelsea, Mass., school department. The project targets school staff development, the Intergenerational Literacy Program, and a new arts curriculum.

PHILADELPHIA -- The Annenberg Foundation has awarded a three-year, $2-million grant to the Boston University/Chelsea Partnership. The grant, which has a matching requirement of $2 million, will support the partnership's extensive staff development initiative, its Intergenerational Literacy Program (through which adults acquire literacy skills along with their children), and a new curriculum project in the arts.

The grant is part of Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg's half-billion-dollar Challenge to the Nation to reform and revitalize the nation's public schools.

In announcing the grant, Ambassador Annenberg said, "It gives me great pleasure to provide support for this unique university and public schools partnership. The grant represents a vote of confidence in that partnership, an acknowledgment of the substantial progress that has been made in Chelsea's educational program, and an investment to encourage even greater accomplishments in the years ahead."

Vartan Gregorian, president of Brown University and a pro bono adviser to Ambassador Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation, said, "Excellent public schools are the precondition for equality of opportunity. They are essential to democracy. We are confident that the Chelsea school system will continue its progress under the Boston University/Chelsea Partnership. Initiated by John Siber, as president of Boston University, the Boston University/Chelsea Partnership represents an extraordinary, imaginative commitment on the part of a major private university to the revitalization of a neighboring public school system. During the past eight years, Boston University's administration, faculty and various professional schools have contributed greatly to the progress of the Chelsea schools."

Douglas Sears, superintendent of the Chelsea schools and president of A Different September Foundation (the fiscal agent for the grant), echoed these sentiments. "We are most grateful and fortunate that the Annenberg Foundation has decided to support the partnership through a Challenge grant. We are committed to fulfilling the expectations that are expressed by this grant."

Said Guy Santagate, Chelsea city manager, "I am greatly encouraged by this expression of confidence in our city and our schools. The city's partnership with Boston University is bearing fruit. This city - after a period of struggle - is poised to take off, economically and educationally. The Challenge grant from the Annenberg Foundation will help us immensely. We thank Ambassador Annenberg for his vision, his philanthropy, and his leadership on behalf of our nation's public schools."

The Annenberg Challenge

Walter Annenberg, editor, publisher and former U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, designed the Annenberg Challenge to energize and support promising efforts at school reform across the country. President Bill Clinton announced the extraordinary $500-million gift for this purpose at a White House ceremony in December 1993. In addition to the Boston University/Chelsea Partnership grant, other grants to date include:

In addition, grant proposals are being shaped by organizations in southeastern Florida, Houston and Detroit, the largest of the remaining urban sites originally invited to submit plans for Challenge consideration.