26th Annual Ezra Jack Keats Foundation Minigrants Call for Proposals--Applying Is Fast and Easy

Jan 15, 2014, 09:35 ET from Ezra Jack Keats Foundation

More Than $800,000 Given Directly to Educators at Public Schools and Libraries Across the United States

Past Winning Projects Inspire and Delight

NEW YORK, Jan. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, which fosters children's love of reading and creative expression in our diverse culture, celebrates the 26th year of its Minigrant Program with a call for proposals.  Approximately 70 grants of $500 each will be awarded to qualifying teachers and librarians at public schools and libraries across the United States.  The deadline for grant submissions is March 15, 2014, and decisions will be emailed to all applicants by May 1, allowing educators to plan for the next academic year accordingly.  

"We are in awe of the extraordinary programs designed by the Minigrant award-winning teachers and librarians," says Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.  "These educators go above and beyond, inspiring their students to create amazing pieces of art, writing, and even scientific experiments.  In the past year, students mounted projects involving food and math, wrote sequels to Keats' classic The Snowy Day, and made Peruvian-style cloth artwork to map their community.

"We are dedicated to continuing our direct support to exceptional educators whose program ideas will foster creativity, cooperation and interaction with a diverse community," adds Pope. 

Since 1987, the Foundation, established by the late Caldecott award-winning children's book author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats, has provided more than $800,000 in support of Minigrant programs spanning the 50 states and the U.S. Commonwealth.  To learn more about the Ezra Jack Keats Minigrant Program and to apply, visit www.ezra-jack-keats.org/minigrant-program/.

Featured on the Foundation's website is a gallery of past outstanding Minigrant programs, including these, which can be viewed at this link: www.ezra-jack-keats.org/

  • The Next Snowy Day—Jennifer Smith, Teacher, Carlin Springs Elementary School, Arlington, Virginia. Fourth-graders read The Second Snowy Day, written the year before by third-grade English learners as a tribute to Ezra Jack Keats' beloved classic. They then worked in groups to brainstorm, write and illustrate their sequels, which proved as imaginative as their predecessors'. Some stories detail new adventures, while others envision the characters grown up…and even married!
  • Mapping Our Community—Arpillera Style—Helen Geglio, Teacher, McKinley Primary Center, South Bend, Indiana. Children observed and identified people, places and things in their community that were important. Then, using Peruvian arpilleras (cloth scenes of everyday life embellished with small three-dimensional details) as inspiration, they designed a mural on a canvas panel, and sketched, painted, made figures and used handmade paper, decorative details and plenty of glue to create a lasting work of art.
  • Tales of Our Forefathers—Susan Gerhart, YA Librarian, Calcasieu Parish Public Library's Summer Teen Reading Program, Lake Charles, Louisiana. A summer reading project grew into a living history as nine local teens interviewed five older family and community members—people who survived the Great Depression, fought in the Second World War and adapted to changes in the rural South over the past 90 years. The result is a wonderful album of reminiscences and photographs of country life in the last century.
  • African-American Shadow Plays—Jill Waltz, Teacher, Geeter Middle School, Memphis, Tennessee. The Geeter Middle School packed a lot of culture into its Black History program, with students adapting African and African-American folktales into shadow plays and performing them with puppets and sets they created themselves.

About the Ezra Jack Keats Minigrant Program
Public education is one of the greatest legacies of our country, one that benefits children from every walk of life.  For Keats, it was at public school that he received his greatest encouragement to pursue his vocation as an artist and at the public library that he found a haven that introduced him to the wonders of art history.  To offer a similar experience to new generations, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation created the Minigrant Program.

About the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation fosters children's love of reading and creative expression by supporting arts and literacy programs in public schools and libraries; cultivating new writers and illustrators of exceptional picture books that reflect the experience of childhood in our diverse culture; and protecting and promoting the work of Keats, the preeminent author-illustrator whose book The Snowy Day broke the color barrier in mainstream children's publishing.  Keats. Imagination. Diversity. 

For more information about the Foundation, please visit www.ezra-jack-keats.org.  

Sheree Wichard / Donel Young    
718-788-9585 / 732-295-2406             
sheree@wy-pr.com / donel@wy-pr.com


SOURCE Ezra Jack Keats Foundation