Darr Family Foundation awards $1 million to early childhood advances

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - Darr Family Foundation, along with funding partners Community Foundation of the Ozarks and the Musgrave Foundation, is pleased to award $1,010,000 over a five-year period to Community Partnership of the Ozarks to systematically change how early childhood education is delivered in the Springfield community.

Since its inception in 2002, the Darr Family Foundation has awarded more than $2.3 million to 83 different organizations working to increase opportunities and decrease barriers for education, health, and basic need for local youth. In Spring, 2017 in an effort to focus funding toward lasting impactful change, the Darr Family Foundation made a decision to allocate 60% of annual funding to a new initiative focused on Early Childhood Education and Literacy.

“Students who come from low-income homes, face racial and language barriers, or have a disability are falling into an academic achievement gap, as outlined as a red flag in the Springfield-Greene County Community Focus Report,” said Darr Family Foundation Executive Director Heather Zoromski. “These children are historically less likely to attend a quality preschool or be ready for kindergarten, which unfortunately is a long-term predictor for low high school graduation rates, lower earnings, poor health outcomes and even incarceration. The Board of Directors of the Darr Family Foundation saw this as an opportunity to focus our efforts, allocating significant resources toward closing the achievement gap through increased access to quality preschool and literacy programs, along with increased parent engagement programming”

A check presentation will be made at an award presentation on Friday, January 5 at the Darr Agriculture Center, located 2401 S. Kansas Expressway, in Springfield.