Project Impact was founded in 2016 as a six year initiative by business leaders. As a group, they agreed to raise $45 million to expand early education opportunities for children throughout Forsyth County. This was a major shift from previous community efforts, which were focused on reducing dropout rates and closing the achievement gap.
With Project Impact, the goal is to reduce the achievement gap and dropout rates by supporting students as early as possible – and even before they start kindergarten.
Three Key Strategies
Project Impact provides financial support for three initiatives to adress and narrow the achievement gap:
1. Early Learning Capacity & Staffing
High-quality pre-kindergarten programs teach children more than their letters and colors. They introduce children to school expectations, such as taking turns, working together and walking in a line.
By 2020, support from Project Impact will support a total of 34 licensed pre-kindergarten classrooms, including 21 in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools.
2. Community Outreach
Summer is a time for learning for the students who attend programs funded by Project Impact.
- Pathway to K and Pathway to 1 programs offer 15 days of instruction to almost 500 students. These programs help prepare them for the start of school in August.
- Ready Freddy encourages family participation in pre-K classrooms and playgroups for 4-year-olds through partnerships with two of the city’s largest childcare providers.
- Countdown to K registration programs, held at every Winston-Salem/Forsyth County elementary school, help soothe nerves and get children and their parents excited about kindergarten.
3. Professional Development & Instructional Support
The quality of our programs reflects our investment in teacher training and support.
- All K-2 teachers and assistants in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools receive research-based reading instruction and training.
- Early learning partners provide teacher coaching and support for all Winston-Salem/Forsyth County early childhood programs.
- Culturally relevant text, math, science and social studies materials are provided to pre-kindergarten teachers.
Project Impact funds the salaries of three pre-K coaches, one transition coordinator, one bilingual liaison and one evaluation specialist.
The History of Project Impact
Office of Early Learning is established and an early learning coordinator is hired
Pre-K program manager is hired
Project Impact partially funds 21 pre-K classrooms in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system
Launched virtual programming for early learning at home due to COVID-19 shutdown
Allocated $1.7 million to purchase new English language arts textbooks for 12,000 students in kindergarten through grade 3
Project Impact welcomes a new executive director, Dr. Paula Wilkins
Board of Directors
Chair, Community Leader and Retired Vice President of R.J. Reynolds
Dr. Matthew Cullinan
Vice Chair, Community Leader and Former University Administrator
Dr. Paula Wilkins
K-3 Literacy Consultant, NC Department of Public Instruction
Dr. Anthony Graham
Provost – Winston-Salem State University
President and CEO – Crosby Scholars Community Partnership
Senior Partner – KPMG
Director, Community Engagement Programs – Reynolds American
Executive Vice President and Director – The BB&T Leadership Institute
Corporate and Foundation Lead Donors
Individual Lead Donors
Thomas R. Adams
Sally and David Blanco
Wendy and Mike Brenner
Mary Louise and John Burress
Claire and Hudnall Christopher, Jr.
Madlon and Kirk Glenn
Norma Sink and Charlie Hemrick
Grace and John McKinnon
Becky and Dave Morgan
Frances and Steve Porter
Anna Reilly and Matt Cullinan
John C. Whitaker, Jr.