PNC Awards-The Orlando Times

The Orlando Times

PNC Awards

PNC Awards $500,000 ToAdventHealth To Address Racial Inequality In Historically Black Community 

Support to expand financial education, workforce development and economic empowerment in the communities of West Lakes 


ORLANDO — PNC announced today it awarded $500,000 over three years to the AdventHealth for Children’s West Lakes Early Learning Center (ELC). 

The commitment will support economic empowerment and education programs that focus on the family. These programs will help address various aspects of racial inequity, including things like food insecurity and health inequity, as well as support career development, financial planning, and entrepreneurship in the predominantly Black communities of West Lakes, where many residents and small business owners face economic challenges and lack access to educational programs. 

“PNC is committed to driving real change in areas in which we can make the greatest impact,” said Chad Loar, PNC regional president for West and Central Florida. “With this additional $500,000 and AdventHealth and Lift Orlando’s cradle to career strategy, PNC hopes to help West Lakes’ community flourish with better social services, workforce & economic development, and strong early learning education.” 

The West Lakes ELC delivers high-quality, affordable early childhood education, robust health, wellness and social services on-site to 154 children, six weeks to five years of age and their families, which stretches to a family community of over 1,000 individuals. The ELC is part of a multipronged effort led by LIFT Orlando to bring together government, the private sector and nonprofits to drive investments and strengthen the historic communities of West Lakes, near Camping World Stadium. AdventHealth is a founding and continuing member of LIFT Orlando's collective impact initiative, which was established in 2012. 

“The West Lakes Early Learning Center not only provides convenient, easy access to world-class medical care to the community, but it also creates an ecosystem where children and families can thrive physically, mentally and spiritually regardless of race, color, age or background,” said Dr. RajanWadhawan, senior executive officer of AdventHealth for Children and AdventHealth for Women. “This generous donation from PNC will help AdventHealth further its commitment to supporting the socioeconomic empowerment of West Lakes families by providing opportunities for economic and social mobility to lead to an overall healthier community. So much so, their gift will be matched dollar- for- dollar by the AdventHealth Foundation Central Florida.” 

Research confirms that access to education, information and opportunities can benefit and support at-risk families. The ELC plays an important role in LIFT's Holistic Neighborhood investment strategy, which aims to reverse decades of disinvestment and racial inequality that have affected generations of mostly Black families in West lakes, making it one of the most distressed areas in the country. 

The Economic Empowerment Program funded by the grant will include: 

·A Comprehensive Services Program Coordinator to address the physical, financial, professional, and social/emotional health of the family. The Coordinator will work with parents/caregivers to guide and support children and family needs, help them remove barriers, and connect them to community resources and partners including, The West Lakes Partnership, Financial Wellbeing Center, Lift Orlando, Boys and Girls Club, Health and Wellness Center, and local Orange County Public Schools to address food insecurity, health inequity and support career development, financial planning, and entrepreneurship. 

·Educational Programs supporting families by providing monthly opportunities for community members and families to focus on workforce development and finances. 

·A Scholarship Fund to support enrollment continuation for students whose parents are impacted by job loss, illness, or major changes in life impacting employment. 

Additionally, an Education Equity Program that focuses on the whole child and their families will be established: 

·Continual Professional Development of educators with learning focused on critical themes faced in the community. 

·After-School Enrichment Programs for students on-site that include team sports, dance, the arts and off-property swim lessons for students, older siblings, and parents. 

·Additional Classroom Resources for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). 

The three-year grant is part of PNC’s $88 billion Community Benefits Plan announced in April, inclusive of a previously announced commitment of more than $1.5 billion to support the economic empowerment of Black and low- and moderate- income individuals and communities. The Community Benefits Plan will provide at least $88 billion in loans, investments, and other financial support to benefit low- and moderate-income individuals and communities, people and communities of color, and other underserved individuals and communities over a four-year period.