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April 2015 | Grants Newsletter

A Free Key to the City

ON THE COVER: A Cool Culture staff member, Melinda Logan, shows Jeffrey Guaman, 5, some Greco-Roman treasures on his first trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Amy Wolf/The Trust

grant (including $25,000 from our Annual Fund)underwrites Cool Culture’s work to develop programs that bring low-income families with preschoolers in Harlem, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Corona, Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights to museums. Our grant deepens relationships with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Queens Museum.

A Jumpstart tutor gives a young girl one-on-one reading instruction.

Trust Grants Open Museum Doors to Children and Their Parents

New York’s sensory-rich museums can stimulate curiosity, boost literacy, and expand the world for young children—but only if they come. Often, though, parents or guardians can’t afford tickets, feel unwelcome, or are unaware of the treasures that await inside.

There’s an answer to this quandary: A nonprofit that provides a free pass for children and their parents to 90 institutions around the City. It’s called Cool Culture.

Danielle Sullivan, a busy single mother in East Harlem, rarely went to museums as a child. But she signed up for the pass at the Head Start preschool of her daughter Madison. They’ve made dozens of trips to museums in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Madison’s favorite exhibit: the mannequins and dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History.
“When she was in a stroller she would press her nose to the glass and name the colors she saw, Sullivan says. “Now she tells me about different types of bears and how they hibernate.”
Now a volunteer with the organization, Sullivan organizes group family outings that dovetail with school curriculums. “I believe you should expose your kids to more than you had,” she says.

Education From All Angles

Three related grants that we just approved:

We’re giving $120,000 to Jumpstart for Young Children to expand reading programs for Bronx children gearing up for kindergarten, and to start workshops to help parents sharpen kids’ reading skills at home. This follows our 2014 grant to help it create a summer reading program before kindergarten.

With $39,000 from The Trust to Bronx County Historical Society, seventh and eighth graders from low-performing Bronx schools will dive deep into local history. Using primary sources at the Museum of Bronx History, they’ll research topics such as the role of the Bronx in the American Revolution.

Staying organized, working with others, and taking on challenges are as important to success in school as academic ability. That’s why we gave Student Success Network-NYC $150,000 to help schools and youth development groups across the City use survey data to improve how they teach problem-solving and social skills.

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