IP supports Cradle to College initiative

The International Paper Foundation contributed $1,000 to the Cradle to College initiative, a project that seeks to remap the path for at-risk youngsters by providing early literacy activities and support to children and families with limited resources so that children can engage in literacy activities at home with their parents.

Kelly Trumbo, communications coordinator at International Paper’s Red River Mill, presented the donation to Dr. Michelle Fazio Brunson, professor of early childhood education at Northwestern State University, who can match the funds through the Melba Steeg Professorship, which Brunson holds. Funds may also be awarded to local early elementary teachers to purchase literacy materials for their classrooms.

The Cradle to College initiative is an on-going project in which NSU students and faculty collect supplies and purchase materials to make family literacy bags for preschool and kindergarten students in Natchitoches Parish. Brunson began the project as a way to provide extra support to children who live below the poverty line before they begin falling behind in school.

The International Paper Foundation is one of the ways International Paper strives to reach its vision to be among the most successful, sustainable and responsible companies in the world. Started in 1952, the foundation annually provides millions in grants to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations to address critical needs in the communities where its employees live and work. Funding priority is given to programs related to its signature causes: education, hunger, health and wellness, disaster relief and initiatives that improve the planet.

Brunson said donations of school supplies and books are always needed. To make a contribution, contact her at faziom@nsula.edu. For more information on the International Paper Foundation, visit ipgiving.com.

Pictured above: Kelly Trumbo, communications coordinator for IP’s Red River Mill, left, represented the IP Foundation in presenting a $1,000 grant to Dr. Michelle Fazio Brunson, coordinator of the Cradle to College initiative. The donation will fund family literacy materials for local youngsters and their families who live below the poverty line.