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RACC Press Release: Public, foundation and corporate sectors stand behind The Right Brain Initiative


Contact: Mary Bauer, Communications Associate

January 12, 2010 –

Public, foundation and corporate sectors stand behind The Right Brain Initiative Fall 2009 showed new partnerships in all corners of the community, propelling program growth

The Right Brain Initiative, a regional arts education program grounded in diverse community alliances, is pleased to announce today a series of new partnerships achieved during Fall 2009. The Initiative began its second school year bringing integrated arts learning experiences to K-8 classrooms throughout the Portland metropolitan area this fall. The recent support received from all sectors of the region is an important indication of the program’s relevance and viability.

The Initiative’s Fall 2009 partnership growth is reflected in part through the expansion of Right Brain’s Governing Committee, new school partners, the addition of 15 collaborating artists, and a 12% increase in financial backing from both the public and private sectors.

“There appears to be strong community support for The Right Brain Initiative from the Regional Arts & Culture Council, school districts, educators, artists, the business community and others,” said Kit Gillem, program director, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, who awarded the Initiative a three-year grant this fall.  “The M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust grant supports and celebrates this unique arts education partnership.”

Meanwhile, the student population served by Right Brain in the 2009-10 school year has risen more than 10% from last year to reach over 10,500 students. The program now also serves 570 teachers in 23 schools and 65 teaching artists.

Thomas Breuckman, principal, Beach School in North Portland said of his new relationship with Right Brain: “At Beach PK - 8, we are very excited to begin a partnership with The Right Brain Initiative! The Initiative will help us achieve our academic (and other) goals by giving us the resources and the planning tools to integrate arts activities into our curriculum, inviting each student to engage in learning—not only with reading and writing, but also with collaboration, team work and problem solving.”

Summary of partnership growth in Fall 2009:

·       Addition of four new positions to the Initiative’s Governing Committee. This council is made up of community members who oversee the design and implementation of the Initiative. New members are Carolyn Ortman, board member, Hillsboro School District; Sarah Prevost, parent and office operations manager, Imagine Energy; Judy Shiprack, Multnomah County Commissioner; and Paula Wight, retired educator and board member, Young Audiences. They join 13 existing committee seats.

·       Addition of three Portland Public Schools to the roster of partner schools. New schools are Beach School PK-8 in North Portland, Meriwether Lewis Elementary in Southeast and Vestal Elementary in Northeast Portland.

·       Addition of 15 arts providers. These individual artists and arts organizations work collaboratively with teachers to connect the arts to other core subjects.

·       An overall funding increase of 12% from both public and private sectors, totaling over $750,000. Specifically:

•          With private sector funding at an increase of 27% over last year, The Initiative secured six new foundation and corporate funders: William G. Gilmore Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation, Cottonwood Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation, KeyBank, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust (multi-year funder), Target and Umpqua Bank.

•          The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust’s multi-year contribution funded the addition of a full-time outreach specialist position for Right Brain, which was filled in December 2009.

•          Renewing foundation and corporate funders are: Bank of America Charitable Foundation, North, PGE Foundation, The Standard, U.S. Bank/U.S. Bancorp Foundation.

•          Public entities providing financial support in 2009-10 include: Clackamas County, Gresham-Barlow School District, Hillsboro School District, Multnomah County, North Clackamas School District, Oregon Arts Commission, City of Portland and the Portland Public Schools. School districts have pledged $15 per student for artists’ services in each participating school.

•          Ongoing multiyear foundation funders include: The Collins Foundation, The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, The Harold and Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation.

•          In 2009, Right Brain established a base of individual donors, receiving approximately $12,000 in gifts from friends and supporters of the program.

About The Right Brain Initiative The Right Brain Initiative is a sustainable partnership of public schools, local government, foundations, businesses and the cultural community, which launched its programming in Portland area classrooms in January 2009. The program’s goal is to achieve a measurable impact on learning by integrating the community’s arts and cultural resources into the education of every K-8 student in the Portland metropolitan region’s school districts. The Right Brain Initiative is a project of the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Read more, and see the Right Brain manifesto unfold online at www.TheRightBrainInitiative.org.

About Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) RACC is a nonprofit arts services organization serving the Portland metropolitan area, including Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties. In addition to serving as the managing partner for The Right Brain Initiative, RACC provides grants for artists, arts organizations, schools and other community-based arts projects; conducts workplace giving program for arts and culture (“Work for Art”) and other advocacy efforts; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance; shares printed and web-based resources for artists; and integrates artwork into public places.


Mary Bauer