Pharrell Williams' philanthropic arm is once again giving back to his home state of Virginia by opening private schools for low-income families.
Norfolk, VA Pharrell Williamsphilanthropic arm is once again giving back to his home state of Virginia. According to The Virginian-Pilot, the Grammy Award-winning artists nonprofit Yellow plans on opening a small fleet of private schools for students from low-income families. The flagship school will open in Ghent this fall for students grade three to five, expanding on Yellows decade of experience running summer programs. If the system is fixed and unfair, then it needs to be broken, Pharrell said in a statement. We dont want lockstep learning where so many kids fall behind; we want bespoke learning designed for each child, where the things that make a child different are the same things that will make a child rise up and take flight. Dubbed Yellowhab yellow after Pharrells nonprofitand hab after the name of the Mars habitat in the movie The Martian the school will be tuition-free for at least the first year. One of the schools earliest donors, the Walton Family Foundation, has spent millions over the last 20 years to support and promote charter schools. While Yellow has other ties to charter advocates, executive director Mike McGalliard said the school isnt planning to seek local approval or funding to make this school a public charter. We are very clear here that were not taking away from the city or the district, McGalliard explained. We want to be additive and not put any kind of onerous, intrusive impact on those institutions. Its very important that we not disrupt that revenue stream. Pharrell reportedly chose Norfolk for the site of the first school because of housing segregation and the citys plans to redevelop three public housing communities through its billion-dollar St. Pauls redevelopment, which has displaced families across the area. So far, the majority of families whove left public housing have ended up in racially and economically segregated neighborhoods zoned for racially and economically segregated public schools. Residents (are) being displaced from their homes with potentially limited housing options available which limits options for the children, Yellows Director of Engagement Stephanie Walters wrote in an email. We have a great relationship with the City of Norfolk and want to be a part of the solution in supporting the community with resources and support.