The EE Ford Foundation & Freedom School Challenge Grant (Goal Exceeded!)

RAISED: $100,250   GOAL: $100,000

The CHARGING forward campaign represents an opportunity for Providence Day to deepen and enrich the programs and initiatives that help bring the school’s mission and core values to life. The ideals of service to others, empathy, understanding, a passion for learning, and making connections to the local community are all hallmarks of a PD education. Providence Day’s collaboration with Freedom School Partners is an inspirational and life-changing experience for all involved.

In a strong show of support for Providence Day’s leadership as the only independent school in the nation to host a Freedom School, the EE Ford Foundation has awarded the school a $50,000 matching grant. The grant will be used to establish a pilot Freedom School teaching intern position for a recent college graduate who has a passion for education and who also possesses a desire to participate in the Providence Day Freedom School in an impactful and meaningful way. This program is also intended to help support the school’s diversity initiatives.

The grant will match dollar for dollar any gifts received up to a total of $50,000 by June 1, 2016. Providence Day has committed to raise $100,000 in support of this initiative, for a total investment of $150,000.

The six-week Freedom School literacy program is designed to improve academic achievement, reduce dropout rates, and inspire a love of reading amongst children who most need — and yet can least afford — summer learning opportunities.

Providence Day provides the facilities and staffing resources to host 55-60 rising 1st through 6th grade scholars. More than 300 members of the school community volunteer their time reading to scholars, supervising field trips and special activities, and coaching athletic clinics. Book and school supply drives have yielded enough items to provide for scholars enrolled in the Providence Day Freedom School and at other Freedom School sites across Charlotte.

In any given summer, one can observe scholars refining literacy skills through an integrated reading curriculum, developing strong interpersonal skills, and experiencing growth in character and self-confidence. Additionally, volunteers and servant leader interns have been so inspired by their own experiences with the program that many have chosen to follow professional paths in education and social work.

Providence Day’s participation in the Freedom School program has also helped to enrich and enhance the social responsibility curriculum at our school. Thoughtful conversations regarding education and social inequity and issues of economic mobility are taking place in the classroom on a regular basis. Many of those conversations are spurred by our students’ firsthand experiences as Freedom School volunteers.


This challenge grant in support of Providence Day’s Freedom School is an initiative within CHARGING forward, Providence Day’s comprehensive $27 million campaign. The campaign’s three strategic priorities focus on optimizing the teaching and learning environment, growing the annual fund, and doubling the school’s endowment to firmly position Providence Day for the future.

For additional information, please contact Jeffrey S. Appel, Associate Head of School for Institutional Advancement, at 704.887.6038 or