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JCPS receives 'game changing donation' from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

This is the school districts largest donation to date. Officials say some of the money will help pay for uniforms, musical instruments, college visits, etc.
Credit: Comugnero Silvana - stock.adobe.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) has received its largest donation to date.

Officials say novelist, philanthropist and billionaire MacKenzie Scott has sent $20 million to the Jefferson County Public Education Foundation, which provides direct financial support for JCPS. 

“This is a game changing donation to our community,” Dr. Marty Pollio, superintendent of JCPS, said. “We are enormously happy and grateful that JCPS is the latest entity to be on the receiving end of MacKenzie Scott’s incredible generosity.”

Pollio says the donation to the foundation will fund a new initiative to "narrow the gap in supplemental funding for JCPS’ high poverty schools." 

The initiative is called E3 - Engagement, Environment and Experiences. Officials say the goal is to create student, family and community enrichment.

A spokesperson for JCPS says E3 will help combat the inequity that exists in funding for things like playgrounds, athletic fields and orchestra rooms at schools in JCPS’ new 'Choice Zone' - primarily high poverty schools in West Louisville. 

“This will truly make our funding model based completely on equity,” Pollio said.

Officials say some of the money will help pay for uniforms, musical instruments, college visits or overnight trips for students who can’t afford them. 

“Our families and the community love our school and want it to be a place that continuously provides the students and staff all the resources they need to be successful,'' Kym Rice, Academy at Shawnee principal, said. “This money will help Shawnee and other Choice Zone schools have programs, opportunities and facilities comparable to others across the district.”    

A spokesperson for JCPS says E3 will also help fund Choice Zone schools’ PTA memberships and functions and allow them to host community celebrations and staff appreciation events. 

“Research clearly shows that teacher and staff morale and retention improves dramatically when they feel like their important work is being valued, appreciated and recognized,” Pollio said.  “And there’s nothing more important for a positive school culture and student success than having teachers, staff, students, families and the community emotionally invested in their schools.”   

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