November 9, 2011

Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland Announces $20,000 Grant for Reading Room, Scholarships for Promise Neighborhood

In celebration of its 15th anniversary, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland is providing $20,000 to fund a reading room and scholarship opportunities for students in the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood. The foundation is establishing both initiatives through the Carson Scholars Fund, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded in 1994 by world renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin S. Carson and his wife to encourage academic excellence. 

“The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland shares my passion to discover promise and encourage excellence in young students,” said Dr. Carson, who serves as keynote speaker November 3rd at an event for Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood students and later at the foundation’s anniversary celebration in downtown Cleveland. “By investing in children’s minds, we reward today’s role models and prepare tomorrow’s leaders.”

Through a $15,000 grant from the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, the Carson Scholars Fund will install Ohio’s first Ben Carson Reading Room at Carl and Louis Stokes Central Academy. When completed, the reading room will be a nurturing and attractive environment for children to discover the joy of reading and develop reading skills. Annually, 60 existing Ben Carson Reading Rooms across eight states generate 15 million minutes of reading and place more than 30,000 books in students’ hands. The new reading room at Stokes Central Academy will be filled with hundreds of books for students to explore from a variety of authors, topics and genres, and will open for use by students and their families in 2012.

Additionally, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland has granted $5,000 to the Carson Scholars Fund to create the opportunity for Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood students to vie for a 2012 Carson Scholarship. The program awards students who strive for academic excellence and demonstrate a strong commitment to their communities with $1,000 college scholarships. Funding from the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland creates the opportunity for educators to nominate three 4th through 8th grade students each from Marion-Sterling, George Washington Carver, and Carl and Louis Stokes Central Academy.

“Scholarships like those we are funding through the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland remove a barrier and provide an incentive for young students to strive for the lifetime of rewards gained through reading and higher learning,” said Geoffrey Mearns, chair of the board of directors for the foundation, and provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Cleveland State University.

Carson Scholarships are invested in a trust until recipients attend a four-year college or university. To date, the Carson Scholarship Fund has awarded more than 4,800 scholarships in 42 states.

“The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland’s funding of the reading room and scholarships opens another door to show Central’s children how to dream and connect those dreams to a love of learning,” said Susanna Krey, president of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland. “Increasing the quality of education is fundamental to the foundation’s mission to improve the lives of those most in need. This mission is as relevant today as 15 years ago when the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine established grantmaking foundations. We continue to have a singular focus on systemically addressing the root causes of poverty.”

Among other initiatives, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland is the lead applicant on behalf of many partners for a federal Department of Education (DOE) grant to implement in the Central Neighborhood a Promise Neighborhood—a transformative program that wraps children in high-quality, coordinated health, social, community and educational support from the cradle to college and career. An announcement from the DOE regarding grant awards is expected in December.

Additionally, since 2008 the foundation has awarded more than $800,000 in grants to improve access to exposure and enrichment opportunities to support academic achievement for 6th through 8th grade students at George Washington Carver, Marion Sterling, and Carl and Louis Stokes Central Academy. These important efforts continue in concert with numerous community partners.

“The resources provided by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland significantly support our efforts to foster a love of learning among our students at these schools,” said Eric Gordon, CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. “We appreciate our partnership with the foundation and look forward to continued collaboration.”

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland improves the lives of those most in need with special attention to families, women and children living in poverty. The foundation works to end homelessness in Cuyahoga County and to reduce health and education disparities in Cleveland’s Central Neighborhood. As a faith-based organization, the foundation extends the values of Jesus Christ through the mission of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine and also works to sustain the ministries of women religious. The Sisters of Charity of Cleveland was endowed in 1996 from the proceeds of a partnership involving St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. Previously, the sisters used the proceeds of the sale of Saint Ann Hospital in 1973 to endow the Saint Ann Foundation, the first health care conversion foundation in the United States. In 2006, the two foundations merged and blended their missions. For additional information, visit www.socfcleveland.org.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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