Kelsey Patterson (far left) presents a $325,000 check on behalf of the Gary Patterson Foundation to Fort Worth ISD for 38 elementary schools. Photo by Garrett Podell.

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Kelsey Patterson (far left) presents a $325,000 check on behalf of the Gary Patterson Foundation to Fort Worth ISD for 38 elementary schools. Photo by Garrett Podell.

The Patterson impact on the city of Fort Worth has extended past the football field, as the Gary Patterson Foundation awarded $325,000 in grants to 38 elementary schools within Fort Worth Independent School District.

The grant was funded to update their libraries and library collections.

It was the largest grant in the foundation’s history and presented by Kelsey Patterson at Worth Heights Elementary, approximately three miles east of TCU’s campus.

“It’s really exciting that we were able to grant everything that they asked for, up to $10,000 per school, which is nice,” said Patterson, a Fort Worth native and Western Hills High School graduate. “We wanted to give the librarians the ability to be creative, something that they want to do, but when the finances are going toward books or maintenance, we’re hoping that they’ll be able to do something they wouldn’t normally be able to do with an ISD budget.”

The grant opportunity was introduced in mid-September to any elementary school within the Fort Worth Independent School District, and included an application for up to $10,000 per school for library updates. Those updates were offered within the following categories:

• books & media (print, audio, e-books, magazines, video & online subscription resources)
• furniture & fixtures (furniture, shelving/display, specialized seating & work stations)
• technology & equipment (computers, mobile devices, production equipment, makerspace kits)
• general supplies (book tape, labels, shelf markers, bookmarks, maker space supplies, signage for library, promotional materials, paint & hardware)

The foundation partnered with the Education Foundation for Fort Worth Schools (EF4FW) to coordinate the distribution of the grant funds.

While the Pattersons spend most of their time working with college students at TCU, they are aware of the significance of pouring into the younger generations.

“[Fort Worth ISD superintendent Dr. Kent Scribner] will say, from birth to third grade, you learn to read and then from third grade on, you read to learn,” said Patterson. “If you don’t have the basic building blocks of reading by third grade, you’re missing out on math and science and all the other things.”

Worth Heights Elementary, the site of the check presentation, will use the funding to increase their English and Spanish collections utilized for their dual-language classes as well as updating their S.T.E.M book offerings and biographies in their library.

“The funding will give the students up-to-date information, which is what they deserve,” said Kathleen Hickey, the Worth Heights school librarian.”They will have more resources to support their learning when it comes to research, and hopefully books they will enjoy reading which will support their love for reading which will translate into their ability to read.”

The grant opportunity will be available again in spring 2019 to schools who did not receive a fall 2018 grant.