The McLeod Family Foundation announces the Grand Opening of The Academy. A private school in Roanoke City serving children and families living in poverty throughout the Roanoke Valley. The school opened in August with 10 children in its inaugural kindergarten class. The Foundation aims to grow The Academy by one class per year and will provide each child with a free private education, free childcare before and after school and three hot meals per day. The Academy offers a strong academic curriculum with a life skills emphasis. We believe that in order for children to be successful, their parents must be invested in their lives and engaged in their education. To support our parents, the Foundation provides valuable resources including personal finance classes, vocational training opportunities and more.
THE CLASS OF 2031
MCLEOD FAMILY FOUNDATION
WHAT WE DO
The McLeod Family Foundation originated in 1996 as an organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and families in the Roanoke Valley. The first action of the Foundation was to fund an endowment at Virginia Western Community College for students pursuing a degree in early childhood education. Each year this scholarship is awarded to two highly qualified candidates.
In 2005, the Foundation began investing in non-profits through our grant program. These non-profits were already doing beneficial work in our area to assist low income families and under privileged children. To date the Foundation has given almost $1 million dollars in grants to benefit the Roanoke Valley.
In 2013 we began to shift our focus because we wanted to make a direct impact. We started offering personal finance classes free of charge to low income families and began an Individual Development Account (IDA) program that offered $1 to $1 matching grants to families saving towards a new home, education or starting a business. In 2017 we had 140 families register and attend one of 8 classes hosted throughout Roanoke, Salem and Vinton. Over 100 of
those families invested in an Individual Development Account. In that year alone, we saw 8 families buy a home, over 70 individuals start or build a business and many more start saving and building credit.
Also in 2017, the Foundation began the process of looking into other avenues of direct service. This began our quest to start a private school to service the most underprivileged children in our community with full scholarships and hands on experiential learning.
WHERE WE ARE GOING
We have seen a great need in our poorest communities. Many children living in these communities live in environments that are not conducive to success; they have physical, emotional and economic threats in these living environments. The Academy 2018 K Grade 0139 2 300
Generational poverty occurs when at least two generations have been born into poverty. Families living in this type of poverty are not equipped with the tools and financial skills needed to move out of their current situations. At 22.3%, the poverty rate in Roanoke more than doubles the 10.6% poverty rate in Virginia. In an article published in the New York Times on May 4th, 2015, it lists Roanoke as the 10th worst place in the country for upward mobility out of poverty out of 2,478 districts included
in the study. The end result is that the majority of children born in poverty here stay in poverty for their lifetime.
We intend to give these children and families an opportunity to break the cycle of generational poverty by providing a free private education through The Academy. We seek to teach the skills necessary for these children to forge new ground. Each child will receive a full scholarship, 3 hot meals a day, extensive field trips, mentorship from local community leaders and entrepreneurs as well as daily hands on experiential learning.
Our elementary education plan is to offer the required academic criteria to meet the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) but enhance that curriculum with visiting lectures from successful community and business organizations, with a focus on tools for life success including budgets, banking services and other financial management tools, and with programs related to character, values and life skills.
The school will also offer childcare in the early morning and evening hours with an array of play and education opportunities. The school will operate in the summer to provide similar opportunities including frequent field trips. Each child is provided with transportation to/from school and 3 meals every day during weekday operations.
In August of 2018 we started with a single kindergarten class. In August of 2019 we will promote those children to first grade and recruit 15 new kindergarten children for the next class. We will continue until we graduate our starting class in 2031.