The University of Central Florida has announced a grant of $2 million over eighteen months to help reduce barriers and improve access to education in Parramore, Florida, a largely African-American community that is undergoing significant development with the growth of nearby Orlando.
Funded collectively by the Helios Education Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, and the Kresge Foundation, the Parramore Education and Innovation District (PEID) initiative will support a K-PhD educational ecosystem in Parramore, including the creation of opportunities for continuing and adult education. Building on a 2017 planning grant from Helios that was used by UCF and its partners to examine the intersection of infrastructure, resources, educational needs, family community services, and data within the neighborhood, the university's College of Community Innovation and Education and the Center for Higher Education Innovation will use the grant to identify the kinds of resources that would best support residents from cradle to career.
Recommendations from the strategic plan include adopting a holistic approach to education that considers both informal and formal learning settings; connecting education-focused organizations and neighborhood assets that are currently disconnected from one another; and using data to identify primary obstacles to college success and sharing that data among education-focused partners.
"Urban colleges and universities can help create inclusive, equitable communities by thoughtfully engaging and providing opportunities to local residents," said Kresge Foundation education program officer Bethany Miller. "This partnership represents a thoughtful, place-based approach that will ensure both new and old Parramore community members benefit from the new urban campus."
(Photo credit: University of Central Florida)