Two Maryland schools are among 50 nationwide that will each receive a $100,000 grant thanks to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and Target.
On Wednesday, Target announced its list of schools selected to receive the grants to improve learning environments.
The William S. Baer School, a west Baltimore public school that serves children who have multiple disabilities, and Snow Hill Elementary in Snow Hill, Worcester County will each receive a grant in Maryland.
Over the past couple months, viewers of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” submitted schools for consideration.
At the Baer school, where wheelchairs and walkers line hallways, many of the students have significant disabilities, which inspired Jennifer Descotear to enter the contest sponsored by “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and Target.
“It was really awesome to tell the kids this morning and the staff. It was hard to keep a lid on it overnight, it really, really was. It’s really exciting,” she said. “These kids really deserve it and the staff deserves it, and we can’t wait to get started on the construction.”
“These children have cerebral palsy, spina bifida and anything else that’s severely disabling to a child we have here at the Baer school, and our whole mission here is try to make their life better,” said Graham Kastendike, of the Baer Partnership Board.
Baer school administrators said the grant will be used to renovate bathrooms in the school, which have not been touched since the 1950s. The school was built in 1933.
School employees changes diapers for more than 200 students daily.
“We need to work on updates adding vents, new toilets (and) bars for the boys and girls. We are going to add a new changing station, which is mobility opportunity via education. We will have changing tables added into the bathroom, also,” Principal Patrick Krouse said.
The William S. Baer School posted a statement on its website Wednesday:
“We are pleased and honored to be a recipient of $100,000 grant from ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ and Target! The Baer school students and staff found out early Wednesday shortly after the students arrived. Cheers of joy and laughter echoed in the school gymnasium, where everyone danced in Ellen’s honor after the announcement. The Baer school is very grateful for the generosity of Target Corp. Our goal this year was to remodel our school bathrooms. The building was built in 1933, and, today, we serve over 200 children with a variety of special needs, many of which are severe. Our bathroom facilities function as living classrooms. The students develop and strengthen new skills every day with a goal of fostering more independence. This amazing grant is a fantastic start but will cover only 1/3 of the total cost of the renovations.”
Target selected 48 schools and two school districts to receive a total of $5 million in grants.
“We all have an important role to play when it comes to ensuring our children and future leaders are academically successful,” said Laysha Ward, Target’s president of community relations. “Thanks to the thousands of viewers who nominated a school as a potential grant recipient.”
The donation comprises part of Target’s commitment to donate $1 billion for education by the end of 2015.
For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.