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Economic Expert Predicts High Returns on PNC Investment in Kids

September 8, 2003

A leading early childhood education expert today applauded the PNC Financial Services’ Grow Up Great initiative, the largest corporate financial commitment to early education, saying “it will dramatically improve the lives of children – while the rest of society gets a payoff as well.”

PNC will fund early education programs in the states in which it operates – Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“By committing $100 million over 10 years PNC represents a model for corporate America to follow,” said Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research. “By creating a 10-year strategy, PNC brings the long-range planning perspective of business to this issue, which is critical if children and the nation are to experience the rewards,” said Barnett at the ceremony in Pittsburgh.

The benefits of early education go well beyond the benefits to the children, he said. “Studies prove that the economic and social returns on the investment in preschool are significant and long lasting.

“Research shows that children in high quality preschool programs reach higher levels of intelligence and experience greater educational achievements that result in higher earnings as adults. Further those children were less likely to cause added expenses to the school districts in the form of being held back in classes throughout school or requiring more costly special education classes,” said Barnett, a nationally recognized specialist in early education economics.

He said foundations such as The Pew Charitable Trusts also recognize the societal need for improved early childhood education and have committed funds to this extremely important issue. The Trusts launched an early education initiative in 2001.

“We all have a role — corporate America, foundations, non-profits, government, universities – in creating a better future for the nation’s children,” he said.