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Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Contact information:


Type of foundation: Collaborative funding initiative

Types of grants: Award program

Description: The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, states and communities across the nation to: close the gap in reading achievement that separates many low-income students from their peers; raise the bar for reading proficiency so that all students are assessed by world-class standards; and ensure that all children, including and especially children from low-income families, have an equitable opportunity to meet those higher standards.

The work will promote policies that lead to better coordination and alignment of services, improve instruction and evaluation, and tackle obstacles to achievement, such as chronic absence and summer learning loss.

The Campaign aims to make grade-level reading proficiency for all children by the end of third grade a national priority.

About the All-America City Award

In 2012, the All-America City Awards, which the National Civic League administers, went to communities that had developed the most comprehensive, realistic and sustainable plans to increase grade-level reading proficiency by the end of third grade.

More than 120 cities, counties and towns submitted their applications for the 2012 All-America City Award. With technical assistance from a growing national network of staff and consultants, funders and other cities involved in the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, these communities worked to:

  1. Develop plans to address:
    • a. School Readiness: too many young children show up for school not ready to learn.
    • b. School Attendance: too many children in grades K-3 miss too many days of school.
    • c. Summer Learning: too many children in the early grades lose ground over the summer months.
  2. Bring together a coalition of leaders representing public, private, civic, philanthropic and faith-based groups.
  3. Demonstrate a commitment to engage the full community, including such groups as parents, child care providers and educators.
  4. Develop data on levels of third grade reading proficiency and data-driven solutions to school readiness, attendance and summer learning.

Communities that signaled their plans to apply for the 2012 All-America City Awards are now members of the Grade-Level Reading Network of Leading Cities, Counties, Districts and States (or GLR Network). Network members have priority access to:

  • Experts in each of the three community solutions areas.
  • Funders interested in supporting local campaigns.
  • Policymakers at the federal and state level through convenings, webinars and calls.
  • Models of programs and practices with proven impact.
  • Peers in other cities facing similar challenges.
  • Media products that can be localized to help you spread the word.
  • Opportunities to publicize and promote their work.
  • Systems for common data collection and analysis.

The 2012 All-America Cities are: Baltimore, Maryland; Dubuque, Iowa; Louisville, Kentucky; Marshalltown, Iowa; Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island; Quad Cities, Iowa and Illinois; Roanoke, Virginia; San Antonio, Texas; San Francisco, California; Seattle and the South King County Cities, Washington; Southern Pines, North Carolina; Springfield, Massachusetts; Tahoe/Truckee, California.

Partners in the Campaign include, among others:

  • National Civic League.
  • National League of Cities.
  • United Way Worldwide.
  • Annie E. Casey Foundation.
  • U.S. Conference of Mayors.
  • United Way Worldwide.

Sponsors of the 2012 All-America City Awards include:

  • Southwest Airlines (official airline of the All-America City Award).
  • The Piton Foundation.
  • PCL Construction Enterprises, Inc.
  • The Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank.
  • U.S. Bank.
  • Greenberg Traurig LLP.
  • The Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation, Inc.
  • FirstBank.
  • Colorado Municipal League.
  • Scholastic.
  • Mile High United Way.
  • El Pomar Foundation.
  • JP Morgan Chase.
  • City of Lakewood.
  • City of Aurora.
  • Comcast.
  • Rose Community Foundation.
  • Western Union.
  • Denver Health.

The Campaign is managed by The Hatcher Group, a public affairs and communications firm specializing in connecting nonprofits and foundations to policymakers and the media.

Sample grants: The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is not itself making grants, but it does involve many foundations across the country that are interested in advancing literacy, supporting education and preventing drop-out.

Fit for public broadcasting: Stations can partner with their local Mayor’s office, other nonprofits and foundations to offer staff expertise, digital content and other resources aimed at achieving grade-level reading by third grade. The Campaign is clearly open to the use of digital technology to advance student learning. It includes relevant research on its website, including reports produced by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop about the use of technology in advancing student learning. The Campaign also has an interest in early childhood education and school readiness, areas of traditional strength for public television. The Campaign is also making connections between grade-level reading and dropout prevention, an area of current interest for many public media stations. Finally, the Campaign is raising interest among foundations nationwide in literacy, school readiness and dropout prevention. Stations should pay attention to which foundations in their region are participating in the Campaign, regardless of whether they are located in All-America Cities.

Eligibility: Cities, counties, towns, villages, regions and neighborhoods can compete in the All-America City Awards. States are ineligible to apply.

Deadline: The All-America City Grade-Level Reading Impact Award will be awarded in 2015 to cities that have “moved the needle” on grade-level reading. It will be open to applicants regardless of whether or not they applied in 2012.

How to apply: Communities interested in applying for an All-America City Award should do so through this website:

Giving range: The primary benefits of winning an All-America City Award are recognition and promotion opportunities, as well as access to funders interested in literacy, education and dropout prevention.

This Grant Center profile is a synopsis of the foundation and its giving, based on currently available information. It is not intended to be a comprehensive source. Be sure to consult the foundation website for additional information.