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Reading, Writing, and the Royal Game

The Community Foundation helps a chess enthusiast ensure that one of the world’s oldest games lives on in second grade classrooms across Guilford County.

Tom Sloan is no stranger to philanthropy. He and his wife Linda have generously supported many local causes, including private education, theater, and the arts, with their time, talent, and resources. However, Tom felt his philanthropic interests shift toward wanting to help underprivileged children. After some thought, he realized he could help nurture young minds through one the oldest games around: chess.

A lifelong tournament chess player, Tom reached out to the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro for guidance on how to combine his love of the game with his desire to support education. CFGG connected Tom with our partners at Guilford County Schools to create Chess in the Schools, a program that teaches chess to second graders in five schools across eastern Guilford County.

“Learning chess seems to be easier when you’re young, maybe a little bit like learning a foreign language,” Tom says, adding, “Our goal is not to create tournament chess players, but rather to help kids learn how to think strategically.”

In addition to learning how to think strategically, chess also places an emphasis on human interaction and thought process. It’s not merely an elective, either. Through the connections Tom made at Guilford County Schools, he was able to make chess an official part of the second-grade curriculum in these five schools.

The program has been so successful in its first year that plans are underway to expand Chess in the Schools to at least 20 elementary schools across Guilford County.

To learn how you can turn a lifelong passion or interest into a means of helping people in our community, contact us today.

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