Kansas City’s popular Science City attraction received good news on Wednesday in the form of additional funding for its early childhood initiatives. The hands-on science center gear toward kids was the lucky recipient of a $1 million grant courtesy of the philanthropic PNC Foundation. The Union Center attraction will receive the money spread out over five years. Although the generous donation will reach over the hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, the money will specifically target 14,000 preschool-aged children in an effort to encourage science literacy in kids as young as three years old.
The bulk of the grant will fund science programming at Science City through the roll-out of free books, field trips, and professional development for young child educators. The grant aligns nicely with the October Science City announcement detailing a renewed focus on early childhood learning with a $4 million grant from the Hall Family Foundation. The Hall grant provided for 35,000 square feet of space sponsoring activities and demonstrations aimed at children younger than eight years old. Combined with the PNC grant, the two efforts will have a significant impact on the development of new programs and initiatives geared at cultivating a curiosity for science in Kansas City’s youngest citizens. The Science City initiative is part of a larger PNC grant program spread across 35 US cities. The PNC Foundation is the charitable division of the PNC Financial Services Group.
The donation was praised by Kansas City Mayor Sly James, a well-known advocate of childhood literacy initiatives. The announcement was made in front of an audience of over 150 preschoolers from United Inner City Services downtown and Growing Futures Early Education Center in Overland Park. The kids delighted in the educational activities including dry ice bubbles with PNC volunteers and Science City workers.