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Press Release

Metropolitan State University of Denver Wins $175K Family Learning Grant

Three-year model program that combines intergenerational learning with community volunteering and family-to-family mentoring launched locally in November

Contact: Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705

Posted: November 13, 2014

Metropolitan State University of Denver has begun implementing a model intergenerational learning program for families in the community with a three-year, $175,000 grant from Toyota and the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL). The university joins four other organizations nationwide receiving Toyota Family Learning program grants in the second year of the program.

The Toyota Family Learning grant will enable MSU Denver to build upon its Family Literacy Program and implement new tactics. Started in1994, the MSU Denver program has helped break the intergenerational poverty by building the literacy skills of families, parents and children.

“Through our successful partnership with Denver Public Schools, we have improved outcomes and opportunities for families in some of Denver’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods,” says MSU Denver President Stephen Jordan. “The Toyota Family Learning grant is one of the most prestigious in the area of family literacy, and it confirms the transformation experience our faculty infuse into our community.”

Independent evaluations show Toyota Family Learning has yielded impressive results.

“Following year one, we are finding that participating families are interacting more often with their child’s school and using technology with their children for educational purposes,” said Emily Kirkpatrick, vice president of NCFL. “Fathers and siblings are more involved in family learning. We’re seeing gains in parents’ organizational and leadership skills and involvement in their community.”

Families across the country, often first-generation immigrants, are already benefiting from the first year of Toyota Family Learning. Today’s announcement brings the total NCFL and Toyota grant amount to $1.75 million for programs in 10 schools, libraries and community-based organizations across the country (see below for list of grantees).

“Toyota Family Learning helps bridge the gap between classroom and lifelong learning,” said Mike Goss, vice president of external affairs for Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc. “We build on the success of intergenerational literacy programs that enable parents and children to learn alongside each other, by taking that learning outside the classroom in ways that are engaging and relevant to real life situations.”

Area families participating in the Toyota Family Learning program will:

  • Attend Parent Time and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®: Participating parents engage in guided learning with a focus on leadership. During PACT time, families learn together while engaging in activities including mentoring and service learning, using technology together, reading together, and taking family trips.
  • Join in service learning activities: Reflecting Toyota Family Learning’s guiding philosophy, which is rooted in community service, families participate in at least three service projects. 
  • Engage in family-to-family mentoring: Building community networks is integral to experiencing life success following graduation from the Toyota Family Learning program, and the mentoring element teaches families how to share information with each other in an effort to foster self-sufficiency.

The community grants are just one facet of Toyota Family Learning – a six-year, nationwide initiative that also offers an online learning community called Family Time Machine, which helps parents and kids make better use of every moment in the day, and engages families in mobile learning adventures. Toyota Family Learning resources and information are available at


About the National Center for Families Learning

The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping adults and children learn together. NCFL creates and deploys innovative programs and strategies that support learning, literacy and family engagement in education. NCFL collaborates with educators, advocates and policy-makers to help families construct hotspots for learning wherever they go. For more information on NCFL’s 25-year track record, visit

Toyota Family Learning is the most recent initiative made possible by the 24-year partnership between NCFL and Toyota. Together, NCFL and Toyota have helped more than one million families around the country make significant progress in school, in their homes and in their communities.

About the Metropolitan State University of Denver Family Literacy Program

The MSU Denver Family Literacy Program (FLP) began in 1994. The mission of FLP is “to meet the literacy needs of metropolitan Denver’s lower-income families.” The program works to break the cycle of poverty and low literacy levels by providing intergenerational, unified family literacy services for those most vulnerable families. FLP partners with many agencies including Denver Public Schools and the Denver Housing Authority to provide services that: assist children in reaching their full potential as learners; educate and engage parents in becoming full partners in the education of their children; and help parents improve their literacy or basic educational skills to attain a post-secondary education and/or employment.

About Metropolitan State University of Denver

MSU Denver is a leader in educating Coloradans in university programs particularly relevant to the state’s economy and the demands of today’s employers. With the highest number of ethnically diverse students among the state’s four-year colleges, MSU Denver offers 55 majors plus master’s degrees in accounting, teaching and social work. More than 22,000 students are currently enrolled at MSU Denver, and 75 percent of the University’s 77,000 graduates have remained in Colorado as valuable members of the state’s workforce. 

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through its Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands.  Over the past 50 years, Toyota has built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where it operates 14 manufacturing plants and directly employs more than 40,000 people.  The company’s 1,800 North American dealerships sold more than 2.5 million cars and trucks in 2013 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.  For more information about Toyota, visit  

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