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TEACH FOR AMERICA RECEIVES LARGEST GRANT EVER OF $3 MILLION FROM PHILIP MORRIS

 TEACH FOR AMERICA RECEIVES LARGEST GRANT EVER
 OF $3 MILLION FROM PHILIP MORRIS
 NEW YORK, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Teach For America (TFA), the national non-profit teacher corps, announced today that it has received a $3 million, three-year challenge grant from Philip Morris Companies, Inc. The grant, the largest ever awarded TFA, will afford the organization stability as it seeks to institutionalize its operations and find additional long-term funding.
 Founded in 1989 by Wendy Kopp, 24, Teach For America recruits highly motivated and talented individuals and provides them with extensive professional development and support as they teach for a minimum of two years in urban and rural public schools that traditionally have been understaffed and under-resourced.
 "The grant from Philip Morris gives us a real boost," said Kopp. "It will now enable us to do a lot of things that we have had on the drawing board."
 The $3 million grant will be used to solidify TFA's recruiting program at more than 200 colleges and universities and help fund its rigorous eight-week teacher training institute, which all new TFA corps members must attend. The funds will further help TFA implement new mechanisms for evaluation, documentation and dissemination of information and create a computerized project management system that will link all of TFA's offices and staff members.
 Since its inception, Teach For America has received 5,600 applications from individuals across the nation, and has placed 1,100 teachers in some of America's neediest schools. The organization, which currently receives no federal or state government funds, has relied fully on foundations and corporations for its funding.
 "Without corporate and foundation support we couldn't have gotten off the ground, let alone through our first two years," said Kopp. "We are greatly indebted to all our contributors and especially grateful to Philip Morris for its generous contribution."
 Anne Dowling, director of corporate contributions for Philip Morris, said the company was impressed with Teach For America's innovative approach to addressing the teacher shortage problem and with what it had accomplished in such a short period. The Teach For America grant is the second largest awarded by Philip Morris Companies, Inc. in education. The largest, a $5 million grant to the United Negro College Fund, will support faculty development and school assistance.
 "Rarely has an organization come along that has had such an immediate impact on education," said Dowling. "Every child deserves a quality education. Unfortunately, many public schools lack the teachers and resources to make this possible. Teach For America is dedicated to tackling the problem head on, and Philip Morris is proud to offer its support."
 While addressing the immediate problem of teacher shortages, Teach For America aims to elevate the status of teaching and to generate greater public appreciation of the profession.
 "We have attracted some of the most dedicated and outstanding young people into our program and yet they will tell you that teaching is the most difficult and challenging thing they've ever done in their lives," said Kopp. "Teaching deserves a great deal of respect and appreciation. We hope that Teach For America can focus more positive attention on the incredible work that all teachers do every day."
 Kopp went on to explain, "While many of our corps members plan to remain in teaching after their two-year commitment, some will pursue other professions such as business, medicine, law and government. But whatever they do," she continued, "their TFA teaching experience will remain with them forever and hopefully influence their thinking about America's education system and the teaching profession."
 Teach For America currently has corps members teaching in public schools in New York City; Los Angeles; Oakland, Calif.; Houston; Rio Grande Valley, Texas; New Orleans; Baton Rouge, and rural districts in Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina and Louisiana.
 -0- 1/9/92
 /CONTACT: Christine Thelmo of Teach For America, 212-974-2456, or Posie DiSesa of Philip Morris Companies, 212-878-2754, for Teach For America/ CO: Teach For America; Philip Morris Companies Inc. ST: New York IN: SU:


SM-OS -- NY003 -- 8063 01/09/92 08:45 EST
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Date:Jan 9, 1992
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