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PNC Helps Children and Communities Grow Up Great

Now in its 15th year, PNC’s Grow Up Great has served more than 5 million children in the U.S. through early childhood education grant-funded programs, educational materials and mobile engagement tours. A $500 million bilingual initiative, Grow Up Great launched in 2004 to support children birth to five, particularly the underserved, achieve success in school and life.

Sally McCrady, President of the PNC Foundation and Executive Vice President and Director of Community Affairs and CSR, joined Purpose 360 to explore how this long-term initiative has made a measurable difference in the communities where the bank operates. For the bank, supporting the issue simply made good business sense: research shows that investments in early childhood education are long-lasting, with impacts on children, society, and the economy.

Today, PNC continues to evolve Grow Up Great to remain relevant and meet the needs of today’s children and communities. The award-winning initiative helps to plant the seeds for the dynamic workforce of tomorrow.

Listen for Sally’s insights on:

  • How to sustain an issue focus over 15 years to scale impact and continue to deliver innovative, high-quality programming
  • How a commitment to employees, including a generous 40 hours paid time off to volunteer, has deeply embedded Grow Up Great into PNC’s culture, business and overall growth 
  • How internal and external research led PNC to be a “first mover” in corporate support of early childhood education, bringing the issue to national prominence 
  • How to identify mission-aligned partners and work together in innovative ways—such as PNC’s partnership with DonorsChoose to fund the platform’s first Pre-K and Head Start classrooms


  • 00:01 – Introducing PNC
  • 08:44 – Letting employees lead
  • 14:23 – The impact of early childhood education
  • 17:02 – The advisory board
  • 24:50 – Sesame Workshops, and other partners
  • 27:32 – Going beyond the obvious partners — Translating versus Transcreating
  • 31:34 – Developing support for teachers
  • 36:40 – Lessons of the Donor’s Choose relationship
  • 38:09 – The Donors Choose card and celebrating greatness
  • 41:24 – The challenges of measurement
  • 48:56 – Grow Up Great as a door opener
  • 51:18 – Top 3 Insights

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Business is an unlikely hero: a force for good working to solve society's most pressing challenges, while boosting bottom line. This is social purpose at work. And it's a dynamic journey.

Purpose 360 is a masterclass in unlocking the potential of social purpose to ignite business and social impact. We illuminate the growing impacts of purpose, from engaging employees and fostering deeper consumer loyalty to inspiring product innovation and increasing market share.