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Medtronic Foundation Announces $1.4 Million Grant To Teach For America

The Medtronic Foundation, the charitable wing of Minneapolis-based Medtronic Inc., has committed $1.4 million over the next three years to Teach For America, the national corps of top college graduates who commit to teach in high-need public schools for at least two years and become lifelong advocates for educational excellence and equity.

The grant announcement comes the day after Carnegie Corporation of New York unveiled its recommendations for improved math and science learning in “The Opportunity Equation” report. At that event, the partnership between Teach For America and the Medtronic Foundation was recognized as a model for expanding educational opportunities in the areas of mathematics and science.

A portion of the $1.4 million grant will help grow Teach For America’s national math and science initiative, which Medtronic provided initial funding for in 2007. The initiative is designed to increase the number of Teach For America teachers with math and science backgrounds and provide them with classroom and online training and support to enhance their effectiveness in raising student achievement. Money also will be used to support the possible expansion of Teach For America to Minnesota this year, and to provide additional resources to Teach For America’s programs in Memphis, Tenn., and Jacksonville, Fla., communities where Medtronic operates significant facilities.

“We are grateful for Medtronic’s generous support over the years, both regionally and nationally,” said Wendy Kopp, founder and chief executive officer of Teach For America. “This expanded partnership will enable us to increase our regional impact and enhance the training and support of our more than 2,000 math and science teachers, who are improving achievement levels for students in low-income communities across the country. By placing committed, well-prepared math and science teachers in areas of greatest need, we will increase student performance and spark student interest in these fields, which is so critical to our nation’s future.”

The strategic partnership of Teach for America and the Medtronic Foundation was featured at a June 10, Washington D.C. event unveiling “The Opportunity Equation,” a report of the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Institute for Advanced Study Commission on Mathematics and Science Education. That report provides a practical plan for raising mathematics and science achievement for all students through transformative change of the current educational system, with engagement from multiple sectors of society including schools and school systems, universities, state and local government, philanthropy and business.

“We all agree that we can do a better job in making science and math subjects more accessible and approachable for American students,” said David Eztwiler, executive director of the Medtronic Foundation. “Yet no single entity can do it alone. We all share responsibility for success. Teach For America’s formula has proven successful wherever their teachers are deployed, which made them a natural partner to help drive real change.”

Teach For America was founded in 1990 to enlist the nation’s most promising future leaders in the effort to end educational inequity.

The Medtronic Foundation has provided significant support to Teach For America since 1994, most notably in 2007 and 2008 with $500,000 each year dedicated to the development of the national math and science initiative.