Press Release: 2012 EJK Minigrants Awarded

EJK Mini-Grants

Posted 5/31/2012

Sheree Wichard, 718-788-9585,
Donel Young, 732-295-2406,

24th Annual Ezra Jack Keats Minigrant Program Awards
Teachers and Librarians at Public Schools and Libraries Across 26 States

Minigrants Put Funding Directly into Hands of Educators
Whose Programs Reach Beyond the Basic Curriculum To Inspire

NEW YORK—May 30, 2012—
This is the 24th year that the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation has awarded Minigrants to teachers and librarians at public schools and libraries across the United States.  A total of 50 grants were awarded to educators in 26 states with each recipient receiving up to $500 for specific programs that they have planned for the next academic year.

Since 1987, the Foundation, founded by the late Caldecott Award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats, has provided more than half a million dollars in support of programs spanning the 50 states and the U.S. Commonwealth.  To receive an award, educators must have applied for funding for specific programs that foster the love of learning, enhance creative expression and optimize interaction between educators and students.

“Direct funding to educators is especially important now as public library and school budgets continue to be slashed at unprecedented levels,” says Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. “It is essential that outstanding teachers and librarians have the resources to create special programs that reach beyond the standard curriculum—programs that inspire and encourage their students in a creative and cooperative context.”

Among the programs supported by Ezra Jack Keats Minigrants this year are:

  • Visual Learner’s Workshop for Students in Grades 9-12: A series of after-school workshops during which students who learn best by doing rather than listening will make pictures, charts, posters, and arts and crafts to study subjects as diverse as ESL and Ecology.
  • Anti-Bullying Campaign By Children and for Children: Elementary school children will be engaged in ongoing activities to sensitize them against bullying or being bullied. Sessions will include puppet shows, games, and movies, which will all be conceived and created by children to be shared with other children.
  • Summer Library Mosaic Workshop: Groups of students will work together to make mosaic stepping stones based on children’s books for a community garden benefiting themselves and the people in their neighborhood.
  • Intergenerational Reading Studies: Children in grades 4-6 will be matched up with senior citizens to create their own books of poetry, with illustrations, to then share with the group.

Evolution of the Minigrant Program

Public education is one of the greatest legacies of our country, one that benefits children from every walk of life. For Keats, it was at public school that he received his greatest encouragement to pursue his vocation as an artist and at the public library that he found a haven that introduced him to the wonders of art history. To offer a similar experience to new generations, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation created the Minigrant Program.

To learn more about the Ezra Jack Keats Minigrant Program and to view a complete list of award recipients visit

About The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation supports arts and literacy programming in public schools and libraries across the country, with the goal of bringing the joy of reading and learning to all children while highlighting the importance of diversity in children’s books. In addition to the Minigrant Program, the Foundation has given the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award annually since 1985 to an outstanding new writer and new illustrator of children’s picture books that portray the universal qualities of childhood, a strong and supportive family, and the multicultural nature of our world. The Foundation also sponsors the Ezra Jack Keats/New York City Department of Education Bookmaking Competition for grades 3-12, among others. For information about the Foundation please visit