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PNC Foundation Awards $1 Million Grow Up Great Grant To Support Science City’s Early Education Programs, Learning Lab

April 4, 2018

5-Year Grant Represents PNCs Largest To Date In Kansas City And Will Extend Reach of Science City Across Both Sides Of State Line.

KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 4, 2018 – Today, the PNC Foundation announced a five-year,

$1 million grant to Union Station’s Science City in support of science education that will benefit approximately 14,000 members of the community, with a focus on Head Start preschool students, children and families. The funding, made possible through the PNC Foundation as part of its signature philanthropic early education initiative, PNC Grow Up Great, will also support the establishment of a multipurpose classroom space at Science City and touch an additional 260,000 annual visitors to the science center. The grant is PNC’s largest to date in Kansas City.

“We’ve had the privilege of funding the ‘One World, One Sky’ show at Science City’s Arvin Gottlieb planetarium for more than 10 years, and this grant reflects our strong relationship with Science City and commitment to school readiness across the region,” said Dale Klose, PNC regional president for Kansas City. “Science City’s focus on helping preschoolers, educators and families understand the world around us is perfectly aligned with the mission of PNC Grow Up Great.  We are committed to helping young children in the community achieve success in school and life.”

Education for the Educators:

Through the PNC Grow Up Great program, professionals at Science City will implement the Early Childhood Hands-On Science (ECHOS) curriculum, which was developed and tested with funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences to meet the need for a comprehensive preschools science curriculum. The curriculum is research based, aligned with early childhood standards, and provides a foundation for critical thinking. This grant will include a train-the-trainer model led by Science City, to help implement ECHOS in 16 Head Start classrooms across three PNC Grow Up Great partner sites. Additionally, this initiative will include two annual in-classroom educator coaching visits.

A Program for Teachers, Students and Families:

Among the highlights of the program for teachers and students will be annual visits to Science City to explore new Early Childhood exhibits and enjoy special programming in the multipurpose classroom space. ECHOS learning kits and supporting materials will also be provided to enhance classroom science areas along with funding for the purchase of STEM early education books for classroom libraries.

Expanding on Long-Standing Relationship:

“We are thrilled to expand our long-standing and strong relationship with PNC and the PNC Grow Up Great program,” said George Guastello, president and CEO of Union Station. “Our sincere appreciation goes to the entire PNC organization.  Their support of our efforts date back to 2006 and have added greatly to our internationally-awarded success. The Greater Kansas City community of educators, preschoolers and their families will all benefit from this latest initiative. In an increasingly competitive, global environment that will depend on a well-educated workforce, Science City is ready to serve as the perfect home for a program designed to help our future leaders build their STEM knowledge and prepare for success in the classroom and in life.”

Extending Science City Reach To Both Sides Of State Line:

“This exciting news will impact both sides of our State Line and focus on the diverse, young promise and potential across our community,” said Ramón Murguía, Vice Chairman of Union Station’s Board of Directors. “More than ever, our kids need these types of advantages to be best prepared for success in school and beyond.  It was only six months ago that we announced how Science City was “growing younger” with a major expansion of our early learning places and programs.  We’re now well underway and today, our tremendous friends at PNC are helping push those plans to new heights by extending their long-standing commitment to Science City and Greater Kansas City in profound fashion. It’s already been a great year at Kansas City’s Science Center and it just keeps getting better.”

The PNC Foundation:

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (, actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $350 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. For more information, visit


Union Station Kansas City -- a 501(c)3 non-profit organization -- is a 104-year-old historical landmark and celebrated civic asset renovated and reopened to the public in 1999. Recently awarded “Favorite Attraction”, “Favorite Family-Friendly Attraction” and “Favorite Historic Attraction”, the organization -- dedicated to science education, celebration of community and preservation of history -- is home to Kansas City’s internationally-awarded Science City; the new Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium; the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre; the popular Model Railroad Experience; H&R Block City Stage featuring live theater, and a selection of unique shops and restaurants. Union Station is also home to prominent area civic organizations and businesses, and regularly hosts world-class traveling exhibitions. Awarded “Top Banquet Facilities in KC” by KC Business Journal, the facility annually hosts hundreds of community events and private celebrations of all sizes. Visit WWW.UNIONSTATION.ORG for details. Also, follow us on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, and YOUTUBE.

Science City, Kansas City’s Science Center - Internationally awarded for “Visitor Experience” by ASTC and named one of the country’s TOP 25 science centers, Science City annually educates and entertains hundreds of thousands of science-thirsty children of all ages.  Kansas City’s Science Center – opened in 1999 -- is THE place for inquisitive young minds to create, explore, and experiment with the BIG world of science through hands-on learning and non-stop fun. Featuring over 200 interactive exhibits and host to countless STEM-based events -- including the annual Greater Kansas City Science & Engineering Fair -- Science City leads the region in recognition from educators, parents, caregivers AND children alike.  And most recently, Science City was named “Best Attraction” and “Favorite Family-Friendly Attraction” by distinguished peer groups and regional visitors respectively.

Union Station Contact: Michael Tritt
C: 913.219.6890