Stories of Investment and Impact

Pugh Family Foundation’s commitment to PRIME TIME in Lafayette reaches nearly $100,000

Prime Time reading programA recently-announced second partnership between the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) and Pugh Family Foundation will significantly expand the PRIME TIME program’s impact across Lafayette Parish. A $30,110, two-year grant will support PRIME TIME Home Room, the LEH’s newest PRIME TIME initiative, which will provide teacher professional development in proven methodologies for an estimated 60-plus Lafayette-area educators, who will, in turn, impact hundreds of children and families. The program will run concurrently with and also reinforce an ongoing three-year PRIME TIME Preschool initiative funded at $69,450 by the Pugh Family Foundation. Therefore, the Pugh Family Foundation’s combined support for this integrated, parish-wide PRIME TIME initiative will reach $99,560—making the Foundation one of PRIME TIME’s largest supporters in Acadiana.

“While the Preschool program is having a significant positive impact on preschool children and parents across several targeted elementary schools in Lafayette Parish, adding a newly developed teacher professional development program—PRIME TIME Home Room—will further institutionalize the program’s methodologies across these (and other) schools,” stated Miranda Restovic, President/Executive Director of the LEH. “Our customized teacher training will enable 60-plus educators to enhance student learning by: promoting skills in text-based critical thinking and analysis; fostering a lifelong love of reading for families; and improving delivery of state educational standards. We are deeply grateful to the Pugh Family Foundation for their generous and highly strategic support for improving both preschool and educator quality in Lafayette.”

The ongoing Pugh-funded PRIME TIME Preschool initiative is currently in year two of a three-year implementation cycle, and is on track to impact an estimated 225 families, or some 570 individuals, through 2016, in close partnership with the Lafayette Parish School System (LPSS). Nearly 100 families have already been impacted. Based on the LEH’s long-running, outcomes-driven PRIME TIME Family Reading Time afterschool family literacy program—the only evidence-based program of its type implemented across Louisiana, as well as in 40 additional states—PRIME TIME Preschool’s primary goal is to ameliorate the negative effects of intergenerational illiteracy and increase school readiness for children of educationally and economically vulnerable families.

“The Pugh Family Foundation is pleased to be expanding its support of the PRIME TIME program across Lafayette Parish, to include both PRIME TIME Preschool early literacy/kindergarten readiness programs and PRIME TIME Home Room teacher professional development seminars,” stated Nan Pugh, Foundation director.  “As educational standards rise to stay competitive on a global scale, so do teachers’ methodologies, even at preschool and kindergarten levels. Additionally, the Pugh Family Foundation supports the integration of the two programmatic elements because ever larger numbers of Lafayette’s children, parents, and teachers will be positively impacted by the proven PRIME TIME methodologies.  This is a partnership we are proud to be expanding.”

PRIME TIME and BHP Billiton partner to improve preschool education and family health across Louisiana

bhplogoThe Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) is pleased to announce that global resources company BHP Billiton has committed $540,000 over three years to support our innovative PRIME TIME Preschool program. More than 2,500 children and their parents will be directly impacted across 19 sites in seven parishes, via the new “BHP-Billiton/PRIME TIME Preschool Early Literacy and Healthy Lifestyle Initiative.” The parishes benefitting from the new partnership include: Orleans, Terrebonne, Lafourche, Caddo, Bossier, Red River, and Desoto.

“I want to thank BHP Billiton for its generous and uniquely strategic investment in early childhood education and healthy lifestyle promotion,” said Miranda Restovic, LEH President/Executive Director. “A vast and expanding body of research demonstrates that pre-K is one the most proven and effective areas of education, in terms of return on investment over the life of a child. Thus, through its investment of more than half a million dollars in PRIME TIME Preschool, BHP Billiton is demonstrating a long-term commitment to improving educational and health outcomes for youth and families across Louisiana.”

Approximately 100 PRIME TIME Preschool programs will be implemented at 19 different sites across these parishes, including early childhood centers, Head Start facilities, and diverse public and charter schools serving preschoolers. Developed and implemented by the LEH since 2010, PRIME TIME Preschool is an outcomes-based early literacy program designed to enhance long-term, life quality outcomes for 3-5 year-old children and their families. The initiative’s primary goals are as follows:

  • Increase the school readiness and nutritional awareness of preschoolers;
  • Enhance parent/caretaker skills for facilitating school readiness and healthier eating; and
  • Increase positive attitudes about reading and nutrition/lifestyle with adult participants.

Steve Pastor, Conventional Asset President for BHP Billiton’s Petroleum business, commented, “BHP Billiton has a clear vision for the company’s core values and how our efforts can impact the communities in which we live and work. Every child needs a support system, and as an extension of that system, we are proud to partner with the LEH PRIME TIME Preschool initiative in making such a widespread difference in children’s lives across the state of Louisiana.”

The PRIME TIME Preschool model builds upon more than two decades of successful PRIME TIME Family Reading Time program experience and impact, including more than 1,700 programs implemented in all 64 Louisiana parishes, as well as 40 other U.S. states (see: primetimefamily.org). Founded in Louisiana in 1991 and recognized today as a national leader, PRIME TIME is the only humanities-based family literacy program in the United States that is proven to positively impact both family reading behaviors and long-term academic performance in children, across all disciplines, including math and science.

 PT Girl Reading“This is a path-breaking and visionary approach for a major corporation. Through its sustained, three-year commitment, BHP Billiton recognizes the centrality of PRIME TIME’s ‘two-generation’ family literacy approach, as well as the importance of improving quality of life via modern, research-based nutritional awareness and healthy eating/lifestyle programming. By reaching families at a critical phase in the parent-child relationship, as well as in the child’s overall development, enormous potential exists for PRIME TIME Plus to have a positive influence on the life trajectories of children, as well as the overall health of families, across Louisiana.”

 —Dr. Jeff A. Hale 

Shell-PRIME TIME Partnership Exceeds $1 Million in Combined Investment and Impact

shellAn historic milestone in the LEH’s 43 year history was recently achieved, via the fourth year renewal of the “The Shell-LEH National Gulf States PRIME TIME Initiative.” This unprecedented multi-year initiative is delivering outcomes-driven family literacy/critical thinking (PRIME TME Family Reading Time) and teacher professional development programming (PRIME TIME HomeRoom) to thousands of children, parents, and educators across Louisiana, as well as in four other Gulf South states: Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

The Shell Oil Company and Foundation’s latest gift of $175,000 for Year Four of the partnership brings the company’s total investment in PRIME TIME to $808,000. When combined with more than $400,000 in matching support from the LEH and its partnering institutions, the initiative easily surpasses the $1 million mark for total investment and impact.

“On behalf of President/Executive Director Miranda Restovic and the entire staff and Board of the LEH, I want to express my sincere and deep gratitude to Shell for the company’s longstanding support, which is improving educational outcomes for hundreds of children—literally transforming their lives for the better—as well as improving the classroom skills and strategies for teachers,” stated Dr. Jeff A. Hale, LEH Vice President for Institutional Advancement. “We are honored that Shell, an exemplary corporate citizen in Louisiana and across the Gulf South, has become the largest private donor in LEH history, and certainly among the nation’s largest corporate supporters of elementary education and teacher professional development. This is the definition of visionary philanthropy dedicated to measurable results.”

“Literacy is a critical building block for academic achievement. The humanities-rich literature used by Prime Time keeps young children interested in reading, which not only improves language and cognitive skills but also influences their success in math and science.”  

 Frazier Wilson, VP Shell Oil Company Foundation and Manager Shell Social Investment 

A few recent highlights from the partnership include:

  • The successful pilot implementation of a PRIME TIME HomeRoom teacher professional development workshop in Shreveport, attended by 40 teachers and school administrators from five partnering schools.
  • The renewal of PRIME TIME programming in Mississippi (commencing in the fall of 2014), following a 15 year hiatus, implemented through the Mississippi Humanities Council.
  • As part of its robust delivery of PRIME TIME programs statewide, the Florida Humanities Council implemented a unique Bilingual English-Creole/Haitian French program in Miami, via the Little Haiti Cultural Center.
  • In Carrizo Springs, Texas, two inaugural PRIME TIME programs received accolades from the School Board, as well as the enthusiastic endorsement of participating teachers and families. Two additional programs are scheduled for the fall of 2014.
  • In the fall 2013 and spring 2014 program cycles, a total of 15 Shell-funded PRIME TIME Family Reading Time programs were implemented in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, and Florida. These programs directly impacted more than 1,000 children and parents.
  • In Louisiana alone, Shell support leveraged in excess of $200,000 in matching public and private funds in the following parishes: Orleans, Ascension, Caddo, Bossier, St. Bernard, Lafayette, Desoto, and Sabine.

PT023The LEH’s award-winning, research-based, and outcomes-driven PRIME TIME Family Reading Time program is the only humanities-based family literacy and critical thinking program in the United States that is proven to positively impact both family reading behaviors and long-term academic performance in children, across all disciplines, including math and science. For additional information on the program, see: primetimefamily.org.

Air Liquide Supports Family Literacy in Iberville Parish

Air-Liquide-logoIn follow-up to our innovative educational partnership with Air Liquide Corporation in 2011 and 2012, the LEH is pleased to announce that the company will again fund PRIME TIME Family Reading Time in Plaquemine, Louisiana in the fall of 2014.  “We are delighted and excited to bring a PRIME TIME program to Plaquemine this fall.  I can’t think of a better way to strengthen Air Liquide’s presence and involvement in the local community, while also helping to make a difference in the long-term, positive, educational outcomes of children and families in Iberville Parish,” stated Christine George, V.P., Mississippi River Pipeline System.

“The LEH is very pleased to be entering into a new, more comprehensive relationship with one of Louisiana’s most educationally-minded companies,” added Dr. Jeff A. Hale, LEH Vice President for Institutional Advancement.  “On behalf of the many children and families that will benefit from this Plaquemine program, I want to express my sincere thanks to Christine, as well as her predecessor Luke Aass, now V.P. for Operations Control in Houston, and also Michael Rosen, the company’s V.P. for Communications & Public Affairs.”  Air Liquide offers industrial gases and related services to a variety of customers including those in large industry (refining, chemicals, energy, and metallurgy), industrial merchant (automotive, manufacturing, food, pharmaceuticals, technology and research), electronics, and healthcare marketplaces (for more information, see: www.us.airliquide.com.)

Preschool Education in Cameron Parish Given a Boost by Cheniere Energy

CheniereCheniere Energy, one of the largest corporate investors in Louisiana, has agreed to fund the LEH’s PRIME TIME Preschool early childhood education program in Cameron Parish in the summer of 2014. This first-of-its-kind partnership will fund two after-school, early literacy programs at different locations across the parish, which was hard-hit by Hurricane Rita in 2005, but has since completely rebuilt its schools and related infrastructure. “I want to thank Cheniere Energy for being such a great corporate citizen in Louisiana,” said Miranda Restovic, LEH President/Executive Director. “This is the first time that our PRIME TIME Preschool program will be implemented in Cameron Parish, and we are excited to be working closely with CPSS Superintendent Stephanie Rodrigue and her talented team to foster improved kindergarten readiness for the Parish’s children, ages three to five.”

Jason French, Director of Government and Public Affairs with Cheniere’s Houston office, adds: “Cheniere is proud to partner with the Cameron Parish School District and the LEH/PRIME TIME to bring this important reading and humanities program to preschool students in Cameron Parish.” Cheniere Energy, Inc. is a Houston-based energy company primarily engaged in LNG (liquefied natural gas) and related businesses. According to Louisiana Economic Development (LED) “The company’s $6.5 billion investment to expand the Sabine Pass facilities and incorporate exporting capacities to their services ranks as one of the largest capital investments in Louisiana history.” [Cheniere now estimates that their total investment will actually be $20 billion]. (See:www.cheniere.com; and www.opportunitylouisiana.com/page/cheniere-energy).

Entergy’s Support for PRIME TIME in NewOrleans Reaches $100,000

entergyThe Entergy Charitable Foundation (ECF) has recently renewed its support for PRIME TIME Family Reading Time in Orleans Parish. Since 2011, the Foundation has committed $100,000 towards the implementation of outcomes-driven PRIME TIME programming across Greater New Orleans, and has directly impacted an estimated 250 families across the region. “Entergy’s consistent, visionary support has enabled the LEH to respond positively to the many requests we receive each spring and fall cycle, from local schools, libraries, community centers, and other partnering institutions,” affirmed Shantrell Austin, Associate Director of the PRIME TIME program. “The company has become one of our largest supporters in the city, and we are very grateful to Entergy New Orleans CEO Charles Rice, as well as Patty Riddlebarger, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, and Jennifer Quezergue, Senior Analyst, Corporate Social Responsibility, for their longstanding friendship and support.”

Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. The company delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, and has approximately 14,000 employees. The goal of the ECF is to support initiatives that help create and sustain thriving communities. ECF has a special focus on low-income initiatives as well as educational and literacy programs. For more information, see: www.entergy.com and www.entergy.com/our_community/.