The University of Texas at San Antonio
“If we don’t provide disadvantaged young children with the proper environments to foster cognitive and noncognitive skills, we’ll create a class of people without such skills, without motivation, without the ability to contribute to the larger society nearly as much as they could if they’d been properly nurtured from an early age.”
— James J. Heckman, Ph.D.,
Nobel Prize-winning economist
Early childhood development is considered by educators and economists alike to be “economic development with a high public return,” and that is why The University of Texas at San Antonio and Bank of America have joined together in San Antonio, Texas to create the Bank of America Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute at UTSA’s inner city Downtown Campus.
“At Bank of America, we have a commitment to investing in education and an overall responsibility to help strengthen the communities in which we do business,” said Kenny Wilson, President of Bank of America, San Antonio, who championed a $1 million gift from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to support early childhood development in the city. “By building strong foundations for families in our communities, we create opportunities for our neighborhoods to grow and prosper.”
Building solid foundations – not only for low income families, but also for aspiring early childhood educators and researchers – is the raison d’etre of the new institute.
The creation of noted sociologist Dr. Harriett Romo, the Institute provides a place for faculty and students to come together, create research teams and collaborate on projects. “I wanted our faculty and students to have more opportunity to do research – applied research as well as research that is going to be published in academic journals,” she said, noting that all of the work of the Bank of America Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute is aimed toward bettering the opportunities for children and families, especially low income, mostly Latino families in San Antonio.
“Many of our projects focus on barriers or opportunities for children,” said Dr. Romo. Among the ongoing initiatives are Early Reading First, an incentive to increase literacy opportunities for young children who are in disadvantaged situations and are coming from language-minority backgrounds, and a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-funded project to create a child development center at Navarro Academy, a San Antonio Independent School District alternative high school located near the UTSA Downtown Campus.
Dr. Harriett Romo
“We now have a wonderful laboratory site for our students – a collaboration that is very beneficial to the school district and to UTSA,” noted Dr. Romo.
Both SAISD’s Navarro Academy Child Development Center and the Bank of America Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute have benefited from the generous $1 million gift from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, which funded a playground for preschoolers at the academy and two endowments at UTSA, one for scholarships and another to secure the future of the institute itself.
“Bank of America has given us a gift that will truly keep on giving,” said Dr. Romo. “We are so grateful to this wonderful corporate partner.”
Both funds, the Bank of America Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute Endowment and the Bank of America Endowed Scholarship for Child and Adolescent Development Studies, are invested in the Long Term Fund.