General Mills Foundation – Supporting Partner through 25 Years

General Mills Foundation – Supporting Partner through 25 Years

General Mills Foundation – Supporting Partner through 25 Years 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

In 1989, Way to Grow was created to be an integral part of community efforts to improve the quality of life for Minneapolis children and families through its provision of critical school readiness and health education services.  Since 1989, the General Mills Foundation has been a key partner, sustaining this all important work.

When we consider the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”, we think of all the ways General Mills is part of our “village”, helping to raise a community of educated children living in stable, healthy families.  This General Mills “village” has included funding over the years to support continued Way to Grow programming, volunteerism by their employees, and being the first foundation to support our 2009 “Great by Eight” expansion, which enabled us to extend programming to children through the third grade (age 8) by 2014.

“Strong communities begin with high quality education for every child”, said Nicola Dixon, associate director of Community Action at General Mills, and program officer for education at the General Mills Foundation. “Here in the Twin Cities, there is still a tremendous opportunity to ensure all kids are developmentally on track and ready to thrive in kindergarten and beyond. Way to Grow remains at the forefront of advancing this vital work”, Dixon said.

General Mills corporate employees from multiple divisions have worked alongside Way to Grow staff to ensure families receive necessary resources to stabilize their homes and raise healthy children ready to succeed in school. They have volunteered at family events, adopted families during holidays, delivered thousands of backpacks filled with school supplies and provided baby items, served as board members, and orchestrated high chair drives so that young children have their own place to eat healthy meals.

Back in 2006, thirty-eight percent of our early learners were ready for kindergarten. With the support of foundations like General Mills, we have worked with families to steadily increase the number of children ready for school. The result? Beginning in 2010, 80% or more of our early learners have consistently passed assessments and are kindergarten-ready. These same racial groups of students are ready for kindergarten an average of 60% of the time (Minneapolis Public Schools, 2010-2013). In addition, 71% of our elementary students, spanning kindergarten – 2nd grade, were reading at or above grade level during the 2012-2013 school year, with 96% of our parents attending parent-teacher conferences.

General Mills has played a pivotal role in helping Minneapolis families achieve greater health, education and well-being, impacting a generation of parents and children throughout north and south Minneapolis.

Thank you General Mills for partnering with us, creating a village for our Minneapolis community for the last 25 years!

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