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JCPenney Afterschool Fund Awards $1.5 Million Grant to Help YMCAs Reach More Youth During Afterschool Hours

Funding provides financial assistance to families in need

CHICAGO, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the school year begins, parents searching for safe, quality afterschool programs will soon get some much needed assistance. Thanks to a $1.5 million grant from the JCPenney Afterschool Fund, more children will have the opportunity to participate in life-enriching afterschool programs at their community YMCA.

Grants will help YMCAs provide financial support to new and previously enrolled students (grades K-12) who cannot afford to participate in afterschool programs because of financial circumstances. Through the JCPenney Afterschool Fund's generous gift, nearly 290 YMCAs have received $5,000 grants to provide afterschool scholarships for young people in their community during the 2009-2010 academic year.

"The JCPenney Afterschool Fund is firmly committed to supporting youth-serving organizations, like the YMCA, that are dedicated to providing safe, meaningful programs during the crucial hours of 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., when studies show that youth are at a greater risk of involvement in crime, drug abuse and other destructive behaviors," said Jodi Gibson, president of the JCPenney Afterschool Fund. "By collaborating with the YMCA, we can ensure that more at-risk children across the nation have access to afterschool programs that will inspire them to be smart, strong and socially responsible."

The JCPenney Afterschool Fund will also contribute additional resources to more than 500 YMCAs through proceeds from the 2009 JCPenney Afterschool Round-Up initiative, which provides JCPenney customers the opportunity to make donations at the cash register by "rounding up" their purchase total to the next whole dollar. The JCPenney Afterschool Fund, in turn, will donate the store's Round-Up collections to a local afterschool program in the store's community.

"This generous support from the JCPenney Afterschool Fund strengthens our efforts to give working parents peace of mind, and their child a place to thrive," says Neil Nicoll, President and CEO of YMCA of the USA. "YMCAs have a longstanding commitment to youth development, and to providing a safe enriching place for young people to go afterschool."

The nation's YMCAs have been engaging children in afterschool programs for more than 50 years. Today, YMCAs impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of youth at afterschool programs across the country. YMCA afterschool programs focus on the holistic development of youth, which include elements that promote health and well-being, social skill development, emotional development, artistry, character development, sports and service.

JCPenney and the JCPenney Afterschool Fund have supported YMCA afterschool programming since 1999.

About the JCPenney Afterschool Fund: The JCPenney Afterschool Fund is a charitable organization committed to providing children in need with access to life-enriching afterschool programs that inspire children to be smart, strong and socially responsible. To date, JCPenney and the JCPenney Afterschool Fund have contributed more than $70 million to local afterschool programs in every JCPenney community through partnerships with the YMCA of the USA, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, National 4-H and United Way of America. For more information, visit www.jcpenneyafterschool.org for more information.

About YMCA of the USA: YMCA of the USA is the national resource office for the nation's 2,686 YMCAs, which serve 21 million people each year, including nearly 10 million children under the age of 18. YMCAs respond to critical social needs by drawing on their collective strength as one of America's largest not-for-profit community service organizations. Through a variety of programs and services focused on the holistic development of children and youth, family strengthening, and health and well-being for all, YMCAs unite men, women and children of all ages, faiths, backgrounds, abilities and income levels. From urban areas to small towns, YMCAs have proudly served America's communities for nearly 160 years by building healthy spirit, mind and body for all. Visit www.ymca.net to find your local YMCA.

    CONTACT:
    Diane Hurles                            Quinton Crenshaw
    Donor Relations Manager                 Public Relations
    YMCA of the USA                         JCPenney Afterschool Fund
    312-419-8374                            972-431-5581
    Cell:  312-758-6397                     [email protected]
    [email protected]


SOURCE YMCA of the USA

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