Hill Harper leadds $24M initiative to address early learning crisis

Today, Hill Harper, star of ABC’s #1 drama “The Good Doctor” and best-selling author, announced the launch of the Keep Learning Alive campaign which will provide early learning software to up to 400,000 students and 20,000 classrooms facing unprecedented hardship in the midst of the pandemic.

 

Addressing the Crisis

Distance learning is compounding educational inequity and widening the achievement gap. This is especially true for students in lower-income communities who have limited access to technology and resources to participate in virtual classrooms and lack the flexibility to homeschool. In fact, McKinsey & Company estimates 60% of low income students are at risk of losing over one full year of academic gains, widening an already massive achievement gap.

 

“Education equity is the issue of our time,” said Hill Harper. “The importance of early education cannot be overstated. The first five years are a critical time for children to build foundational skills and a love of learning, but tragically our youngest learners have often been brushed aside in the pandemic. Now is the time for leaders to step up and make sure we’re keeping learning alive for ALL.”

 

The campaign brings together First Book, a national nonprofit social enterprise focused on equal access to quality education, and HOMER, the essential early learning program for young children, to help give every child the best start to their learning journey.

 

The Keep Learning Alive campaign will provide free access to HOMER’s expert-designed,

research-backed personalized early learning program distributed through First Book’s network of more than 500,000 registered teachers, librarians, and after school program leaders to help support our most vulnerable students.

 

“We are in the midst of an educational crisis for kids in need – especially for those earliest learners – as they deal with the impact of this pandemic without needed books and resources. They are essentially locked out of learning at a critical time in their education,” said Kyle Zimmer, President, CEO and Co-founder of First Book. “HOMER’s excellent learning experience combined with First Book’s Network of 500,000 educators of kids in need is a perfect fit. #KeepLearningAlive will address the barriers to quality education by identifying and serving the most vulnerable communities and students.”

 

How It Works

For every annual subscription to HOMER’s early learning program HOMER Learn & Grow purchased during the campaign, which will run from November 17th to December 31st, 20 annual subscriptions will be donated to students in need, for a total donation valued up to $24,000,000 or 20,000 classrooms serving over 400,000 children.

 

“The COVID education crisis is turning the achievement gap into a gulf. 85% of a child’s brain development happens before age five, giving us a short window to lay the right foundation,” said Stephanie Dua co-founder and president of HOMER. “Our mission is to provide every child with the best start possible. By bringing HOMER and First Book together, we are putting trusted resources, designed by experts in homes and classrooms across the country, to ensure personalized learning with proven results continues during this unprecedented time.”

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