'Add It Up For Families' to Help Lower Income Families Become Financially Self-Sufficient

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with PNC Financial Services Group has launched the "Add It Up For Families" math initiative in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "Add It Up For Families" is a unique pilot program resulting from a collaboration between corporate, ACF grantees and government entities to support a multi-generational math curriculum for children enrolled in Head Start and their parents.

 

WASHINGTON, DC – The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with The PNC Financial Services Group (PNC) today announced a new "Add It Up For Families" math initiative in Philadelphia, PA.

"Add It Up For Families" is a unique pilot program resulting from collaboration between corporate, ACF grantees and government entities to support a multi-generational math curriculum for children enrolled in Head Start and their parents.

Parents participating in this new initiative will be able to increase math literacy along with their children through activities provided by PNC. PNC has funded an enhanced math curriculum implemented by a local Head Start grantee and will be providing financial workshops for Head Start parents. Parents will also be able to take advantage of free tax preparation sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service and enroll in financial literacy workshops. Eligible parents may also open individual development accounts which match their savings up to $2,000.

"This program is one more step in using education to offer low-income families the tools they need to achieve their dreams," said Pat Brown, ACF's acting director of the Office of Head Start. "Financial literacy is the key to attaining financial independence."

PNC Launches 'Add It Up For Families' to Help Lower Income Families Become Financially Self-Sufficient

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 24 /PRNewswire/ – The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children & Families (ACF) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), today announced a unique initiative, called "Add It Up For Families," to help lower income families become financially self- sufficient.

In addition, PNC, in its continued partnership with Sesame Workshop, presented a gift of 10,000 new Happy, Healthy, Ready for School: Learning is Everywhere kits to Head Start programs in Philadelphia County. The educational kits were created by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, as part of the PNC Grow Up Great initiative to help prepare young children to succeed in school and, ultimately, in life.

Governor Edward G. Rendell spoke in support of Add It Up For Families, the initiative that will serve approximately 450 preschool children and their families at the North Philadelphia Head Start Program, the site of today's announcement, and several other locations. The program will focus on early childhood education, math skills, financial education and income tax preparation. It is believed to be the most comprehensive collaboration between two federal agencies and a public company on financial education to assist lower income families.

"This collaboration between the public sector and PNC is further progress in our commitment to become a leading state in early childhood investment," Governor Rendell said. "The quality of education that we provide today will directly affect the future success and strength of our economy and workforce."

The initiative grew out of the North Philadelphia Head Start program's successful math program, which was funded through PNC Grow Up Great, the financial services firm's 10-year, $100 million investment in early childhood education. Building on this successful model, PNC, ACF, which administers Head Start nationally, and the IRS collaborated to develop an initiative that would coordinate their combined services to make it easy for families to take advantage of these opportunities.

"Comprehensive services that address the needs of underserved families are the best way to set them on a path to financial self-sufficiency," said James E. Rohr, chairman and chief executive officer at PNC, and co-chair with Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pre-K Counts, the state's public- private partnership that funds block grants to create and/or improve pre-k programs. "Today's economy is transforming into one based on knowledge and skills and the foundation starts in the early school years. Access to quality early education, like this program, is critically important and will result in long-term benefits for our nation's children, society and economy."

New Initiative: Add Up the Benefits

Add it Up for Families will incorporate teacher training in core- competencies for mathematics. In addition, this unique collaboration brings together key partners in the community, each with their own area of expertise. The numerous benefits for the Head Start children and their families include:

  • Enhanced math curriculum funded by PNC to establish a foundation of skills for children and their families, including activities such as the "Math Backpack" with take-home activities that are fun and engaging for the entire family. ACF is funding an independent evaluation of the math curriculum. One aspect of the evaluation is to determine if the math program could be replicated in other Head Start programs.
  • Free tax preparation through a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (V.I.T.A.) program at the site. IRS trained and certified Head Start staff will prepare tax returns and help families determine if they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (E.I.T.C.) of up to $4,000 per family. Across the country, tens of thousands of families earning less than $40,000 per year miss this financial support due to lack of awareness.
  • Free financial education workshops, hosted by PNC bankers. Topics include: managing a budget, keeping checking and savings accounts, and buying a home.
  • Assistance in setting up Individual Development Accounts (IDA), a program funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and ACF to encourage low-income families to save towards buying assets, such as a home, education or job training.

Gift of Kits: Success in School

As part of the efforts by PNC and Sesame Workshop to continue to help children reach their highest potential, Rohr presented Philadelphia Head Start centers with a gift of 10,000 Happy, Healthy, Ready for School - Learning Is Everywhere kits. The presentation included a surprise appearance by Sesame Street's Rosita, who entertained the center's preschoolers. Accepting the kits was Donna Piekarski, Officer, Early Childhood Education, of the Philadelphia Public School system, which operates the largest Head Start program in Philadelphia.

The free bilingual, multimedia kits will be distributed to children and parents in all Head Start centers throughout Philadelphia County, as well as every PNC Bank branch. The kits include a magazine for parents and caregivers, a children's activity book and cards, along with an original Sesame Street DVD that follows Elmo, Abby Cadabby, and their friends on a learning adventure through the everyday moments they have at home and on the go. Learning is Everywhere materials will be available at www.sesameworkshop.org and, at no charge, on iTunes.

"A child's education starts long before they enter school and we want to help them develop the fundamental skills they need to enter school ready to learn," said Mel Ming, chief operating officer, Sesame Workshop. "These new kits provide helpful tips and fun activities for children and families to turn everyday moments into learning opportunities."

About the Organizations

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (http://www.pnc.com/) is one of the nation's largest diversified financial services organizations providing retail and business banking; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management; asset management and global fund services.

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization that changed television forever with the legendary Sesame Street. As the single largest informal educator of young children, local Sesame Street programs produced in countries as diverse as South Africa, Bangladesh and India are making a difference in over 120 nations. Using proprietary research to create engaging and enriching content, Sesame Workshop produces programs such as Dragon Tales and Pinky Dinky Doo. In addition, multimedia needs-driven initiatives provide families tools for addressing such issues as children's health, military deployment and emergency preparedness. As a nonprofit, product proceeds and philanthropic donations support Sesame Workshop's educational research and creative content for children around the world. Learn more at http://www.sesameworkshop.org/.

'Add It Up For Families' to Help Lower Income Families Become Financially Self-Sufficient. PNC. CNNMoney. 2007. English.

Last Reviewed: December 2010

Last Updated: November 13, 2014