By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager
Dallas City of Learning, managed by Big Thought in partnership with the Dallas Mayor’s office, along with three other Cities of Learning, national education, technology and corporate leaders, merged under the new LRNG initiative. LRNG is a bold new endeavor to close the nation’s opportunity gap – the growing divide between young people who have access to 21st century opportunities and those who don’t. The new platform takes effect in Dallas in Spring 2016.
LRNG has joined forces with Gap Foundation, the Boys & Girls Clubs, Electronic Arts, the Schultz Family Foundation and Grammy Award-winning musical artist John Legend, along with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, to launch a movement that combines in-school, out-of-school, employer-based and online learning experiences into a seamless network open to all youth.
Locally, Big Thought thanks the current support of Bank of America, Best Buy, City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, DART, Fossil Foundation, Microsoft, NBC Universal, and other generous sponsors.
“With the support of Cities of LRNG, we’re now part of a national network that channels resources towards local cities, broadening our program offerings for students,” said Gigi Antoni, President and CEO of Big Thought. “Young people will be able to explore even more options, and earn digital badges credentialing their out-of-school learning from across the country.”
LRNG is powered by Collective Shift, a new nonprofit funded in part by the MacArthur Foundation and dedicated to redesigning social systems for the connected age. Collective Shift will scale the work of vanguard cities, including Dallas, and grow the program to 70 cities in three years.
Since 2014, Dallas City of Learning has served 34,743 students via 1,753 programs encompassing 285,140 hours of student learning while earning digital badges for exemplary work in science, art, computer literacy, design and many more. Since the DCoL launch, 37,727 digital badges were earned.
“Dallas City of Learning, now Dallas LRNG, will continue to give youth the opportunity to learn in potent, pertinent and stimulating ways,” says Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “By tapping into a variety of strong resources throughout the city – parents, schools, cultural institutions and corporations – we can broaden the reach of top-notch education programming allowing every young person to keep learning.”
Cities of LRNG will build on the success of a three-year demonstration project in Dallas, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. that served more than 100,000 youth during recent summer programming.
Cities of LRNG will network the rich learning opportunities available at schools, creative camps and classes, science museums, and workplace internships and link them to the larger LRNG ecosystem. LRNG will fulfill the promise of learning in the connected age, making in-person and online experiences visible, available and inviting to all youth.
For more information about LRNG, visit www.LRNG.org.