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The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Pushes for Pre-K Expansion in Georgia

ATLANTA, Sept. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation today announced it is awarding $100,000 through its Better Beginnings initiative to The Southern Education Foundation to fund a comprehensive study that will explore expanding access to pre-kindergarten learning programs in Georgia.

Georgia's Pre-K enrollment rates have stalled at around 50% of four-year olds over the last five years. In order to improve outcomes for children, high quality Pre-K programming must be accessible to all, especially low- income and minority.

The Georgia Pre-K Report, slated to be completed by the Southern Education Foundation prior to the 2009 Georgia Legislative session, is expected to provide an in-depth look at how expanding early learning programs can garner long-term economic benefits for the state.

"Providing more opportunities for early learning is not only fair and just for Georgia's children, it also protects the state's long term economic interests." Blank Family Foundation president Penelope McPhee said. "Our goal with this report is to give lawmakers the strong data they need to support additional Pre-K investments."

Separately, the foundation is awarding another child-centered grant -- $100,000 grant to Prevent Child Abuse Georgia (PCAG) to improve child care training for new parents and child care providers in Fulton County. With the foundation's investment, PCAG's First Steps program, designed to support new parents during the first stages of their baby's life, will continue in Fulton County and add home visitation services.

The Blank Foundation's Better Beginnings initiative seeks to strengthen the learning and caregiving environments for children from birth to age five. The strategy is to assist families in building the financial resources they need to better provide for their children.

Formed in 1995, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation is focused on improving early childhood development, enhancing education, preserving green space, sustaining the arts and sparking collaboration among its nonprofit partners, primarily in Atlanta.

Arthur M. Blank is owner & CEO of the Atlanta Falcons and Georgia Force. He co-founded The Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement retailer, in 1978 and retired from the company as co-chairman in 2001. Through his generosity, the foundation, along with Blank and his wife's personal giving, has granted over $220 million to various charitable organizations.

SOURCE The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation
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