$10M Donation Sends Kids to School After Shutdown

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Two philanthropists have pledged $10 million to keep programs like ABCD open during the government shutdown. (Published Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013)

    More than 1,000 students in the state have been out of school since the government shutdown cut off funding to Head Start programs, but a $10 million donation has changed everything.

    The gift from philanthropists Laura and John Arnold comes in the form of emergency funding to the National Head Start Association and will allow students in several states, including Connecticut, to head back to the classroom.

    This extended vacation has been an experience Geraldine Bryant would happily give up. Her boys have been out of their Stratford Head Start program for a week.

    "You know, keeping them occupied, doing activities with them where they're learning and trying to keep the curriculum as the school was going with them," said Bryant.

    Bryant's twins attend a program in Stratford run by Action for Bridgeport Community Development, or ABCD. The program has been closed since the shutdown.

    Representatives from Head Start said the schools should be able to open their doors again soon, thanks to the Arnolds' generous donation. The $10 million gift should help more than 7,000 across the country get back to class.

    On Monday, the Connecticut Food Bank donated 17,000 food items to families that ABCD usually feeds on a daily basis but hasn't been able to since the program shut last Tuesday.

    Bryant said she just wants her kids back in school as soon as possible.

    "I'm sure every parent, teacher and student are going to be happy," she said.

    The Arnolds established their foundation in 2008. Laura Arnold is a former oil company executive and John is an investor.

    Their areas of focus include maximizing opportunities for quality K-12 education across the country and trying to support school systems in under-served communities.