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New York City

Kerlins Say Thanks With $8 Million to Bank Street and Wave Hill

Bank Street College of Education and Wave Hill are pleased to announce that the two New York City institutions have each received a $4-million gift from Sally and Gilbert Kerlin.

“Because both Wave Hill and Bank Street provide experiential, hands-on learning, for children and adults, it is fitting that we announce these gifts simultaneously,” said Gilbert Kerlin.

This gift, one of the largest gifts in Bank Street’s history, was made to establish the Sally Kerlin Endowment for the Teaching of the Natural and Environmental Sciences. It will provide support to strengthen the teaching of the natural and environmental sciences in public schools and the Bank Street School for Children. The gift will help enrich and expand Bank Street’s science education work both in its on-site demonstration school and in the public schools throughout New York City, as well as other urban centers in the tri-state area where the College operates programs and places teachers.

The gift to Wave Hill creates the Sally and Gilbert Kerlin Endowment Fund at Wave Hill for Environmental Science and Nature Education. As Wave Hill’s largest gift to date, it will provide ongoing support for a broad spectrum of educational programming that serves over 20,000 school children, teenagers, families, and adults each year.

“With these gifts, we are giving back to the institutions that have given and continue to give so much to our family. Both Bank Street and Wave Hill have long played a significant role in the lives of our family. For more than six decades and several generations, Bank Street has witnessed the graduation of the women in our family. And today, teachers throughout the five boroughs, including those at Bank Street’s School for Children and Graduate School, bring their students to Wave Hill, where all are immersed in the pleasures and wonders of garden and woodland,” said Gilbert Kerlin.

Sally Kerlin, who died soon after the gift was made, was a Bank Street alumna, class of 1936, and a Life Trustee of Bank Street College of Education. She graduated with a master’s in Special Education and Elementary Education. Their daughter Sarah received her master’s in Special Education from Bank Street in 1972. And Abby, their granddaughter and the niece of Sarah, earned her master’s in Teacher Education in 2000.

“Bank Street is indeed fortunate to have been enriched in many ways by the contributions and involvement of the Kerlin family over three generations,” said Elizabeth S. Pforzheimer, Chair of Bank Street’s Board of Trustees.

Mr. Kerlin is the Founding Chairman of Wave Hill and has been a member of the Board of Directors for the past 36 years. “Gil’s insightful leadership guided the creation of Wave Hill as a public garden and cultural center. He and Sally, one of the visionary founders of Wave Hill’s education curriculum, together made a very important contribution to our City,” said David Beim, Wave Hill Board Chairman.

Mr. and Mrs. Kerlin, both strong proponents of progressive education, have championed environmental education through the Kerlin Learning Center at Wave Hill.

“You could say that Wave Hill and Bank Street College of Education are a wonderful marriage. Sally and Gil’s generous gift, a validation of Bank Street’s mission, will expand and enhance our ability to give ongoing support to teachers both within and outside the walls of Bank Street. This very special investment also recognizes the importance of scholarship opportunities to attract and retain talented and committed classroom teachers,” said Dr. Augusta Souza Kappner, president of Bank Street College of Education.

“This significant gift enables two programs that are indispensable to the education of our children to endure and grow. We are especially honored to receive this gift jointly with Bank Street because of our common philosophies, reinforced by Bank Street’s Dean of Education Fern Khan, a Wave Hill Board Member, and our Director of Education, Margot Perron, a Bank Street graduate,” said Kate French, Wave Hill Executive Director and President.

Since 1916, Bank Street College of Education has been a nationally recognized leader in early childhood education, a pioneer in improving the quality of classroom education, and a national advocate for children and families. The Bank Street School for Children, an independent demonstration school for Bank Street College of Education, educates more than 400 boys and girls from ages three to thirteen and serves as a working model for the College’s progressive approach to teaching.

Wave Hill is a 28-acre public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River and the Palisades in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Award-winning gardens, greenhouses, and woodlands offer people of all ages the opportunity to explore their connections to the natural world. Programs are offered in horticulture, environmental education, land management, landscape history, and the visual, performing, and literary arts.#


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