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Perdue supports Wicomico Mentoring Project through $50,000 Arthur W. Perdue Foundation grant

Salisbury, Md. (Thursday, April, 12, 2012) - The Arthur W. Perdue Foundation has awarded a $50,000 matching grant to the Wicomico Mentoring Project to support the essential role the project and its volunteer mentors play in ensuring the success of hundreds of Wicomico County students on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Officials from Wicomico County Public Schools, the Wicomico County Board of Education and the Wicomico Mentoring Project made the grant announcement on Wednesday, April 11, at Beaver Run Elementary School. The $50,000 Perdue Foundation matching grant will be awarded once the Wicomico Mentoring Project has raised an additional $50,000 in funds from the community. This would ensure $100,000 in funding for the 2012-13 school year. 

“The Arthur W. Perdue Foundation has a long history of supporting educational initiatives and the Wicomico Mentoring Program is a great fit for us. Its appeal is that it directs help to the children who otherwise may not receive the guidance they need to succeed in life,” said Bill Hetherington, Executive Director of Arthur W. Perdue Foundation. “Education is the key to a better, more productive life and mentors can instill that message into a young mind. While the Foundation gives us the means to support community projects such as the mentoring program, we’re especially proud of our associates who volunteer their time as mentors through this program.”

The Wicomico Mentoring Project is part of the Student and Family Services Team at the Wicomico County Board of Education.  In its eighteenth year, it is a one-on-one program that brings members of the community into Wicomico County Public schools to work with students who need extra support and guidance.  Starting in 1994 with 27 mentors, the program has grown to almost 500 matches this year. In some years, it has matched more than 800 students with mentors.

Mentors are asked to give one hour a week for the school year to meet their students on school property during the school day. One hour does make a difference – of the 601 students on whom data could be compiled last year, 38 percent of them improved their grades, 38 percent improved their attendance, and 

20 percent improved their behaviors. There are more than 800 children from prekindergarten through grade 12 on the referral list, waiting for a mentor.  

“We are delighted to have the support of the Perdue Foundation for the Wicomico Mentoring Project,” said Dr. John E. Fredericksen, Superintendent of Schools. “We have so many students who need the support of a mentor, and this could help move many of them off the waiting list and into a productive match with a mentor.”

The Wicomico Mentoring Project was named a “Great Idea” by the National Education Association, and featured as a success story in the Maryland State Education Association’s “Closing the Achievement Gaps” in 2011.  In 2008 the program received the Leadership Award in Education from the Shore Leadership Alumni Association.  The program has received recognition as a best practice from America's Promise, the Herculean Award from the Maryland Mentoring Partnership, and a First Place Award of Excellence from the Office of the Attorney General's Spotlight on Prevention.

For more information about the Wicomico Mentoring Project call 410-677-4423 or visit http://www.wcboe.org/programs/mentoring

About the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation and Perdue Family of Companies

The Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the charitable giving arm of the Perdue Family of Companies, was established in 1957 by company founder Arthur W. Perdue and is funded through the estates of Arthur W. Perdue and Frank Perdue. As part of our belief in supporting the communities where and with whom we do business, the Foundation provides grants on behalf of the Perdue Family of Companies in communities where large numbers of our associates live and work.  

The Perdue Family of Companies includes Perdue Farms, Perdue AgriBusiness, and our shared services organizations. Since our beginning on Arthur Perdue’s farm in 1920, through expansion into agribusiness and the introduction of the PERDUE® brand of chicken and turkey under Frank Perdue, to today’s third-generation of family leadership with Chairman Jim Perdue, we’ve remained a family-owned company dedicated to making Perdue the most-trusted name in food and agricultural products. At the Perdue Family of Companies, we believe in responsible food and agriculture™. For more information, visit www.perdue.com™.


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