HOUSTON - The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation donated a $1.25 million gift for additional fine arts and math resources through the HISD Foundation and Project GRAD program.
For the next four years, $200,000 will be granted annually to the HISD Foundation to jumpstart a district wide fine arts initiative in 20 elementary and middle schools. This builds on the McNairs' contributions over the past five years to boost the fine arts program in HISD's Northwest District classrooms. With the creation of the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation Arts Education Grants to Schools, a minimum of 20 competitive grants for up to $40,000 each will be awarded to budding fine arts programs across HISD.
"The HISD Foundation is thrilled to accept this gift in support of the district and greatly appreciates the McNairs' long-standing support of public education" Mark White, HISD Foundation Chairman, said.
This donation is magnified by a pledge from the McNair Foundation to Project GRAD for $450,000 over the next three years to underwrite mathematics programs in Yates High School. Funds will be used to establish the Robert and Janice McNair Endowed Academic Chair in Mathematics and the Robert and Janice McNair Computer lab for the Study of Advanced Mathematics.
"Thousands of HISD students will academically benefit from resources and specialized instruction made available through the McNairs' gift," said HISD Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra. "HISD recognizes their generosity and appreciates their meritorious service to public education."
"Janice and I strongly believe that the fine arts are very necessary to the overall education of children," said Robert McNair. "We are pleased to be able to support and encourage the innovative fine arts initiatives in HISD. We also hope that by funding an endowed academic chair in mathematics and a computer lab dedicated to supplementary math instruction at Yates High School, more students will benefit from enhanced teaching and will graduate."
"The McNair Foundation has been a strong supporter of Project GRAD Houston's work with HISD, not just by providing funding for special projects, but by actively seeking new ways to strengthen our partnership with schools," said Project GRAD Executive Director Roy Hughes. "The McNair Endowed Academic Chair and Computer Lab at Yates High School came about as a result of discussions initiated by the McNair Foundation as they sought new ways to create a better future for Houston."
HISD's Jack Yates High School has been a major force in Houston's traditionally African-American Third Ward community for 78 years. The second African-American high school established in Houston, it was named in honor of Reverend Jack Yates, a highly respected and noted minister who served with excellent leadership and emphasized education directed toward youth as future leaders.