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Sep 19, 2019 |
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The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) was first formed in Louisville, Kentucky in 1989. Though its programming has since spread across the country, affecting more than 4.5 million parents and children, Louisville still remains the site of NCFL’s headquarters. As the national nonprofit celebrates 30 years of education solutions for families this year, its Families Learning Conference returns to Louisville—the place where it all began—this November.

From the Kentucky Derby to Muhammad Ali, Louisville is known for its world-famous people and events. Beyond these global icons, though, the city is home to many more attractions, museums, and cuisine, including a very popular beverage.

Rich with limestone, fertile soil, and temperature extremes, Kentucky has become the perfect place to manufacture bourbon, and approximately 95 percent of all bourbon is made in Kentucky today. As the state’s largest city, this makes Louisville a destination for fans of the spirit across the world. Downtown Louisville is home to a bevy of distilleries, including Evan Williams, a tour of which is part of the Main Ticket—a package that includes admission into multiple downtown attractions. 

Your trip to Louisville is bound to make you hungry, too, so be sure to sit down for a Hot Brown. This classic southern dish was invented in Louisville in the 1920s, and includes turkey, bacon, cheese and mornay sauce. It was, of course, invented at the Brown Hotel, which is one of several famous hotels in downtown Louisville. The Seelbach Hilton, another, was frequented by many colorful characters in the past, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, who took inspiration from the hotel for his novel The Great Gatsby, and Al Capone, who often visited the hotel to play clandestine poker games.

Today’s visitors may not win as much money as the famed gangster during their trip, but they can surely try at historic Churchill Downs. Home to the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs is perhaps the most famous horseracing track in the world. Live racing is scheduled during the Families Learning Conference on Nov. 3 and Nov. 6, with first post each day set for 1 p.m. The Kentucky Derby Museum, located just next door, offers visitors a detailed history of “the fastest two minutes in sports” as well.

It is one of a variety of unique museums located within a short proximity of the downtown area. The Louisville Slugger Museum features the largest baseball bat in the world, while the Frazier History Museum boasts one of the largest collections of toy soldiers on permanent display in the world. Other popular downtown museums include the kid-friendly Kentucky Science Center, the Muhammad Ali Center, KMAC Museum, and 21c Museum. Just down the street from “Museum Row” is the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, where Disney’s The Lion King will be showing from Oct. 30 to Nov. 17. Other live acts include Chris Stapleton on Nov. 2 and the Chainsmokers on Nov. 6 at the KFC Yum! Center. Does it all sound appealing? Those interested in seeing multiple attractions can save big by purchasing the Main Ticket.

Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to stretch your legs (and arms) in Louisville as well. The Big Four Bridge is a 0.5-mile-long scenic walking bridge that connects Louisville to Jeffersonville, Indiana. Lit by multicolored lights at night, the bridge is accessible any time of day. Nearby Climb NuLu and Butchertown CrossFit offer fitness opportunities for the more ambitious, and the Downtown YMCA sits just a few blocks away as well. Nearby, the 134-acre Louisville Zoo is home to more than 1,500 animals.

Home to a rich history and an exciting present, the city of Louisville offers fun and fulfillment for visitors of all types. The 2019 Families Learning Conference promises attendees the latest industry knowledge, valuable networking opportunities, and new family engagement teaching methods, all amidst the backdrop of a thriving southern metropolis.

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NCFL Partners

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Toyota

Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $50 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.

Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.

Read more about Toyota's commitment to communities

William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

NCFL received its very first donation in 1989 from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to promote and implement family literacy programming, first in Kentucky and North Carolina and later nationwide. The Kenan Family Literacy Model in part laid the groundwork for 30 years of subsequent family literacy and family learning programming developed by NCFL.

Kenan has continued to support NCFL’s place-based family literacy programs since our inception. Most recently, it has invested in our organization’s Sharon Darling Innovation Fund, which will launch emerging ideas and programmatic evolutions in the multigenerational learning space.

Learn more about the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to guide potential students and volunteers to literacy services, community education programs, and testing centers in their communities.

The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.

Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.

Learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation

PNC Grow Up Great

PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.

PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994, most recently in Louisville, Kentucky, to support Say & Play with Words, our pre-Kindergarten vocabulary-building initiative.

NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.

Learn more about PNC Grow Up Great

U.S. Department of Education

Initiated through the U.S. Department of Education in 2018, the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC) program provides 12 grantees and 13 states with five-year, $5 million grants to promote and implement systemic evidenced-based family engagement strategies. NCFL was selected to lead SFECs in two states, Arizona and Nebraska, and is a primary partner for two other SFECs in Kentucky and Maryland/Pennsylvania. 

The SFECs work to support family engagement through state- and local-level agencies while providing both professional development to school districts and direct services to families related to children’s academic outcomes and overall well-being.

Learn more about the U.S. Department of Education

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

NCFL was named a recipient of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s "Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenge," which seeks to elevate diverse voices in order to broaden the conversation about the issues inhibiting economic mobility and generate deeper awareness along with actionable understanding. NCFL will develop and launch a podcast series that will highlight the remarkable stories of low-income, diverse families across the U.S. who have improved their communities through Family Service Learning.

Foundation Website