Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1996-1997 index

Distributed December 13, 1996
Contact: Tracie Sweeney

The Annenberg Challenge to the Nation

Salt Lake City schools receive $4 million from Annenberg Foundation

Salt Lake City's public school district will receive a $4-million challenge grant from the Annenberg Foundation to begin a five-year education reform project. To meet the two-to-one challenge, the Salt Lake City-based Eccles Foundation has pledged $2.5 million; $2.5 million will come from the private sector; and $3 million will be reallocated from the district's budget.

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Annenberg Foundation of Philadelphia today announced a five-year, $4-million grant to Salt Lake City's public schools, the largest single grant ever received by the school district. The award is part of Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg's half-billion-dollar Challenge to the Nation to reform and revitalize public schools.

The grant, which has a matching requirement of $8 million from public and private sources, will go toward the city's Vanguard Initiative. The George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, based in Salt Lake City, has pledged $2.5 million in matching funds, and school officials will reallocate $3 million from existing budgets. Another $2.5 million must come from the private sector through a fund-raising campaign that school officials said they will launch immediately.

In particular, the initiative includes professional development to help teachers learn the strategies needed to implement education reform throughout the district's 36 schools. The project also promotes community collaboration to expand learning beyond school walls.

"The benefits will extend across the entire district," said Darline P. Robles, superintendent of schools. "I believe we can become a model for large urban school systems that want educational reforms to extend to every institution and every individual."

"The Annenberg Foundation is most pleased by the initiative shown by the civic and educational leadership of Salt Lake City on behalf of their schools," said Brown University President Vartan Gregorian, a pro bono adviser to Ambassador Annenberg and coordinator of the Challenge projects and initiatives. "In particular, we applaud the Eccles Foundation for its leadership on behalf of school reform."

"Salt Lake City is more racially, ethnically and economically diverse now than it was 10 years ago," Gregorian added. "In awarding this Challenge grant, the Annenberg Foundation believes that Salt Lake City's proposal to implement systemic education reform that takes into consideration its demographic transformation will serve as a national model for similarly sized school districts around the nation."

David Gardner, chairman of the Eccles Foundation, said his organization "welcomes the opportunity to join with Ambassador Annenberg to foster improvements in our nation's schools. Working together, the two foundations can help improve the quality and effectiveness of schooling for every student enrolled in public education in Salt Lake City."

Salt Lake City's school district has the fewest pupils - about 25,000 - of any Annenberg Challenge grant recipient. Challenge grants also have been awarded to projects in Boston, Chattanooga, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area and Philadelphia, and to a national rural school initiative.

For more information on the Vanguard Initiative or to arrange interviews, contact Sherri Clark of the Salt Lake City School District, (801) 578-8352.