Focus Area: Education
Endeavor believes every child deserves an equal chance for quality education and supports programs that provide opportunities for all children to succeed in school and in life.
Grantee Spotlight: Northwest Arkansas School Districts
Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) Pre-K Programs
Endeavor provided three-year grants to eligible school districts to create the first new ABC program slots in our region in six years, while also helping to maintain existing ABC slots at local schools. A program of the Arkansas Department of Human Services, ABC provides free Pre-K education to children who live at 200 percent or below the federal poverty level. However, ABC has received no increase in its funding from the state legislature since 2008, while the poverty rate in the region has continued to climb.
Many significant economic and social issues—such as crime, teenage pregnancy, dropping out of high school, poor labor productivity, and adverse health conditions—are linked to low levels of skill and ability due to a lack of education and engagement at an early age. In Northwest Arkansas, less than half of the approximately 4,000 children that live at or below the 200 percent federal poverty level have access to Pre-K. By maintaining and expanding ABC programming, Endeavor brought an existing, effective intervention to the children in our community who need it most to better prepare them for success in all aspects of their lives.
- Providing underserved children the tools they need to be successful through early childhood education programs that teach academic skills and “soft skills,” such as such as motivation, perseverance, self-regulation, time management, teamwork, and other interpersonal and coping skills. A growing body of research shows that proficiency in these areas is just as important to success as intelligence, and employers are placing more and more value on workers’ ability to interact socially.
- Investing more effectively in the future prosperity of the community by funding high quality preschool learning, which studies have shown to be more successful and less costly than later interventions with struggling students. And the more prepared students are to succeed after high school, the less society has to spend on additional support services (e.g. job training, law enforcement, health care, welfare, and rehabilitation programs).
- Addressing the shortage of early childhood education for underserved children by creating up to 440 new ABC program slots, helping maintain up to 280 existing ABC slots, and providing “start-up costs” to eligible schools that would otherwise lack the infrastructure to implement ABC programs.