The Joe Foss Institute (JFI) announced a $100,000 grant from The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation. The grant will help promote civics education in select urban Phoenix schools through a unique partnership between JFI and Elevate Phoenix. Funds will help expand the reach of the Veterans Inspiring Patriotism program to 10,000 Phoenix students, provide curriculum resources for students in the character education program and will allow the organization to purchase much needed laptops.
“Support from The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation will allow this partnership to better prepare the students we serve to become civically-engaged and responsible community members,” said Dr. Lucian Spataro, JFI president and CEO. “These students are the future leaders of our communities and country. With the support of Bob and Renee Parsons we are better able to ensure students have the tools to fully understand their civic duties, their rights and responsibilities as American citizens, the importance of public service, and America’s core values.”
Since 2001, JFI has worked to advance civics education in schools and help bridge the learning gap created by the emphasis and funding for proficiency in the hard sciences – science, technology, engineering and math. Elevate Phoenix works with students in grades 2-12 who struggle with gangs, drugs, dysfunction and generational poverty by providing high-quality supplementary education. The program seeks to increase the number of students graduating and entering post-secondary schools, as well as preparing them to become civic-minded and responsible adults.
“Students in the Elevate Phoenix program have a 90% high school graduation rate and an 85% postsecondary entry rate historically over 32 years with over 30,000 students nationally. Locally in just four years, we are at 98% graduation and 90% postsecondary entry rates,” reports Elevate Phoenix Executive Director Tim Cleary.
“Renee and I believe every person deserves a shot at the American dream – but, to achieve the American dream you have to understand what it means to be an American,” said Bob Parsons. “By failing to teach the significance of our civic duties and the rights we possess as Americans, the education system is under-preparing students for their societal responsibilities. The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation is investing in the future of this community by enabling Valley schools, through the Joe Foss Institute and Elevate Phoenix, to effectively reintroduce civics education.”
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation was established in 2012 by award-winning business leader Bob Parsons and his wife Renee. To date, the Foundation has awarded $28 million in critical funds to charitable organizations. Though best known as the founder of GoDaddy, Parsons is also the founder and CEO of more than seven Greater Phoenix Area businesses and is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, recipient of the Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and Purple Heart Medal.