James M. Cox Foundation Announces $2.5 Million Grant to Support Early Childhood Education at Charles R. Drew Charter School

The James M. Cox Foundation announced a five-year $2.5 million grant to the East Lake Foundation to further early childhood education through Charles R. Drew Charter School. The program is based in the East Lake community and serves as a research and design site for the Atlanta Speech School’s Cox Campus, which provides free access to research-based professional development courses and e-coaching tools for thousands of early childhood teachers in Georgia and beyond.

“Drew Charter School plays an important, hands-on role in educating young children,” said Cox Enterprises Chairman Jim Kennedy. “It also serves as a learning lab and provides great resources that can be accessed online by teachers across the nation – creating a far-reaching impact.”

Each Pre-K classroom at Drew Charter School is staffed with highly-qualified teachers and features a low student-to-teacher ratio. The instructional and teacher development models have resulted in impressive academic gains for the young students who enter kindergarten ready to learn and are on a path to read to learn by third grade.

“The Cox Foundation was an early believer in the power of early childhood education as a way of eliminating the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged children,” said Daniel J. Shoy, Jr., president of the East Lake Foundation. “We are honored to receive the continued support and investment from the Cox Foundation that will ensure that the Cox Pre-K program provides a high-quality early education for our youngest scholars and a replicable model for programs across Georgia and the nation.”

Drew Charter School opened in 2000 as the City of Atlanta’s first public charter school. Drew features an innovative project-based learning approach that integrates a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum with a strong foundation in literacy. Serving more than 1,750 students in Pre-K through 12th grade, Drew serves as the anchor of the cradle-to-college education pipeline in the East Lake community and is an integral part of a holistic neighborhood revitalization effort led by the East Lake Foundation.

Overall, the James M. Cox Foundation has invested more than $14 million in early childhood education initiatives in Metro Atlanta.


About the East Lake Foundation

Founded in 1995 by developer and philanthropist Tom Cousins, the East Lake Foundation collaborates with public and private organizations to provide tools that enable Atlanta’s East Lake residents to build a better future through its holistic model for community revitalization.

The East Lake model includes cradle-to-college education at Drew Charter School and its early learning partners, mixed-income housing at The Villages of East Lake and community wellness through programs including The First Tee® of East Lake, the Resident and Community Support Program, Start ME: East Lake micro-entrepreneur program and East Lake Healthy Connections. This approach to building a strong community not only helps break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, but also creates a place where people of all ages and incomes choose to live.

East Lake has become a national model for holistic community redevelopment across the country through Purpose Built Communities. For more information, please visit eastlakefoundation.org.

About the James M. Cox Foundation

The James M. Cox Foundation is named in honor of Cox Enterprises’ founder and provides funding for capital campaigns and special projects in communities where the company operates. James M. Cox was Ohio’s first three-term governor and the 1920 Democratic nominee for president of the United States.

The Foundation concentrates its community support in several areas, including: conservation and environment; early childhood education; empowering families and individuals for success; and health.

Press Contacts

Catherine Woodling

Director of Communications and Marketing

East Lake Foundation