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Cleveland Zoological Society Receives $300,000 Pledge from KeyBank Foundation

Grant to Help Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Expand STEM Programming for Cleveland Students

The Cleveland Zoological Society and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo received a pledge of $300,000 from KeyBank Foundation for their Zoo Education & Workforce Development initiative. The grant will help the Zoo expand its existing partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and establish and implement a comprehensive continuum of learning opportunities for students in six of the school district’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) buildings. “Introducing children to scientific inquiry is incredibly important. Scientific inquiry is really a foundation for workforce skills that are transferable across a myriad of industries and careers. Inquiry helps students ask questions, gather information, collaborate with others and find answers. It is all about critical thinking and problem solving.” said Executive Zoo Director, Dr. Christopher Kuhar. Virginia “GiGi” Benjamin, President of the Zoo Society, added: “We’re grateful to KeyBank Foundation for taking a leadership role in supporting STEM education in our community. The Zoo is an outstanding resource for our region and with the KeyBank Foundation’s support, we look forward to helping Cleveland children and our entire region to thrive.”

With this grant, the Foundation enhances its existing investment in STEM education and CMSD. "By adding the Zoo to our growing list of STEM partner organizations, including Cleveland State University and the Great Lakes Science Center, KeyBank Foundation is expanding and strengthening its contribution to the future success of STEM students," said Foundation chair Margot James Copeland.

Since 2009, the Foundation has awarded more than $2.8 million to support STEM programs. The Zoo and Zoo Society launched the Zoo Education & Workforce Development initiative in 2012. With a focus on scholarships, transportation vouchers and innovative programs, the initiative achieved other important milestones over the last 16 months, including: the addition of Nurture the Wonder, a program for preschool students and their teachers, funded by PNC’s Grow Up Great program; the launch of the Zoo’s Online Resource Library, funded by The Nord Family Foundation; and, the development of the Collaborative Inquiry Project, a new program for seventh grade students in the Lorain City Schools, funded by Nordson Corporation Foundation.

KeyBank Foundation, through its civic programs, corporate contributions and volunteerism, supports organizations that foster economic self-sufficiency, principally in areas where KeyBank operates. It is a nonprofit charitable foundation, funded by KeyCorp. Founded in 1969 as Society Foundation, it became Key Foundation in 1996 and KeyBank Foundation in 2009. Its funding priorities are geared toward economic self-sufficiency for individuals and communities, and include the areas of financial education, workforce development and promoting inclusive environments for those of diverse backgrounds. The Cleveland Zoological Society and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo share a mission to create compelling experiences that connect people with wildlife and inspire personal responsibility for conserving the natural world. The public/private partnership supports education, animal care, conservation and capital improvements at the Zoo, with a focus on innovation and excellence. To learn more about the Cleveland Zoological Society, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and the Zoo Education & Workforce Development initiative, visit ClevelandZooSociety.org or clemetzoo.com.