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Date: 2015-08-31

Cooper Foundation, Congressman Norcross distribute backpacks, school supplies to children at KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Cooper Foundation and Congressman Donald Norcross today distributed backpacks and school supplies to children at KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy, New Jersey’s first renaissance school, which welcomed students in grades kindergarten and first and fifth through eighth earlier this month.

The Foundation collected more than 600 backpacks filled with school supplies during its Operation Backpack Drive this summer.

“The goal of Operation Backpack is to ensure that every child who attends KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy has all the necessary supplies to start the school year off right,” said Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO of The Cooper Foundation. “Many families struggle to afford school supplies, and thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are able to help.”

The backpacks and supplies were donated by Cooper University Health Care employees, the Woman’s Board Committee of The Cooper Foundation, and Joseph Jingoli and Son, Inc., and Staples Advantage.

“Being prepared at the start of a new school year is important to academic success,” said Norcross. “We need to do all we can to ensure that all children – no matter where they live – have the tools they need to succeed.”

As a New Jersey state Senator, Norcross co-sponsored the Urban Hope Act, legislation that created a pilot program to provide students in three struggling school districts – Camden, Newark and Trenton – access to new, quality public schools in their communities.

“Our school family is grateful for the support we receive from The Cooper Foundation, our public leaders and the broader community,” said Drew Martin, Executive Director of the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy. “This project embodies the difference we can make when we work together as a community to set our kids up for success. Thanks to Cooper’s Operation Backpack Drive, our kids can start the school year with confidence and prepared to do well.”

Camden Mayor Dana Redd and Camden Schools Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard also participated in the backpack distribution.

“Every child should be able to start the school year off knowing they have what they need to succeed in the classroom, ” said Redd. “Cooper’s Operation Backpack Drive shows our children that we care about them and are here to help them reach their full potential.”

Rouhanifard thanked Levin, Norcross and Cooper for their commitment to Camden’s children.

“These children represent the future of our city, and we should provide them with all of the support – academic, socio-emotional, material – that we can,” Rouhanifard said. “By working together to equip them with the excellent education they deserve, we are building a better Camden.”

Students in kindergarten and first grade, and in grades fifth through eighth, received backpacks and supplies today. Next week, the Center for Family Services will provide backpacks to students in the pre-K program and will partner with The Cooper Foundation to provide backpacks in the district school grades second, third and fourth that is co-located in the building.

About The Cooper Foundation/Cooper University Health Care

The Cooper Foundation serves as the philanthropic, community outreach and community development arm of Cooper University Health Care, one of the largest health systems in southern New Jersey with over 100 outpatient offices and its flagship, Cooper University Hospital located in Camden, N.J. Cooper University Hospital is the premier university hospital serving South Jersey and the Delaware Valley. Cooper has reaffirmed its role as a leader in medical education and research with the opening of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in 2012, the first four-year allopathic medical school in South Jersey. Cooper is renowned for signature programs in cardiology, cancer, critical care, pediatrics, trauma, orthopaedics and neurosciences. Cooper is also home to the only state designated Children’s Hospital in South Jersey—the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper. Over the last decade, Cooper has transformed its Camden City neighborhood into the Cooper Health Sciences Campus. In October 2013, the new MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, a freestanding cancer center for comprehensive care, opened on the Health Sciences Campus.

About KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy

New Jersey’s first renaissance school, the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy in Camden, N.J., was established under the state’s Urban Hope Act, which created a pilot program to provide students in three struggling school districts – Camden, Newark and Trenton – access to new, quality public schools in their communities. The Academy was created in partnership with KIPP, one of the most renowned, national networks of free, open-enrollment, college preparatory public charter schools; The Cooper Foundation, the charitable arm of Cooper University Health Care, and the Norcross Foundation. The new, 110,000-square-foot campus opened in 2015 and provides guaranteed enrollment for students in grades Pre-K through 8th living in the Lanning Square and Cooper Plaza neighborhoods. The Camden network will include three additional new schools: an elementary school, middle school and a high school, eventually serving more than 2,800 students.