Cloud L. Cray Foundation awards $425,000 to UMKC School of Education

Grant supports economic education in K-12 schools

The Cloud L. Cray Foundation has awarded a $425,000 two-year grant to the School of Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City to support its Center for Economic Education (CEE).

The UMKC CEE is one of a network of centers across the state and nation that promotes economic and financial education in K-12 schools. The CEE serves the economic education needs of teachers and their students through development and delivery of undergraduate/pre-service teacher training, in-service teacher training, student and community programs and web-based resources and programs.

The Cray Foundation has generously supported the CEE since 1993. Over its lifetime, the CEE has provided training for more than 23,000 teachers, and developed and implemented numerous economic education programs to assist teachers, schools and districts in teaching economics and personal finance.

“Once again, the Cloud L. Cray Foundation has demonstrated their commitment to financial education in our community. We are grateful for the Cray family’s two decades of generous and steadfast support,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton.  

“I believe that the CEE has made significant progress over the past two years to make a difference directly to PK-12 children in the Kansas City metropolitan area, putting students at the center of what we at the Cray Foundation want to influence,” Cray Foundation Executive Director Brian J. Watson said. 

Watson praised the CEE’s willingness to explore and act upon opportunities in the community that have not traditionally been a part of the CEE’s core business, citing its work with Communities in Schools at M.E. Pearson Elementary, Whittier Elementary, Green Works, The Front Porch Alliance, and  Never Too Young After School Program.  The latter is a new program of the CEE that prepared trainers for an after-school curriculum focused on economics, personal finance and entrepreneurship in collaboration with KC LINC, Freedom Schools, and individual volunteers. 

“I am particularly excited about the after-school program’s potential for future expansion in our urban communities,” Watson stated.

School of Education Dean and Ewing Marion Kauffman/Missouri Endowed Chair for Teacher Education, Wanda J. Blanchett, said the CEE has a vitally important mission in its efforts to break the cycle of poverty in chronically underprivileged communities.

“The Cloud L. Cray Foundation challenged us to expand the CEE’s work and reach, while providing more direct economic education and personal finance services to urban youth who need them the most,” Blanchett said. “We truly are humbled by the generosity of the Cray Foundation and grateful that there is a foundation family in Greater Kansas City with economic education and financial literacy as its highest priorities.”

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