October 16, 2018 Strengthening the National Grade-Level Reading Movement

 
Beyond the efforts of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in its home region of southwest Florida, there’s perhaps no better example of The Patterson Foundation’s key tenets than its Enterprise funding and support for the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. From a presentation on the power of social media at the Campaign’s inaugural meeting in 2012 that kicked off this support to this year’s Grade-Level Reading (GLR) Week in Philadelphia, The Foundation has focused on evolving opportunities that create new potential in the nationwide movement to help children succeed in school and life by reading on grade level by the end of third grade.

The Foundation has witnessed the growth of this unique Campaign since its earliest days. Not organized as a typical 501c3 nonprofit, the Campaign functions as a supportive backbone for multiple efforts focused on fostering school readiness for young children, consistent school attendance, and quality summer-learning opportunities in hundreds of communities.

Over the past six years, The Patterson Foundation has strengthened the efforts of the Campaign across the country by helping it connect nationally, encouraging learning, and developing platforms to share the knowledge and experience of the Campaign’s collaborative network of communities. What began as a network of 124 communities has evolved to more than 390 across North America — all of them working to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship.

The Patterson Foundation’s support for the Campaign has manifested itself in a variety of engagements. The Foundation facilitated the launch of The Huddle, an online community platform that encourages sharing of experiences and expertise among more than 1,500 community leaders — leading to further connections and learnings.

Creating a national movement involves engaging an ever-growing number of organizations, communities, sponsors, and governments — and doing so strategically takes resources. Understanding this necessity, The Patterson Foundation has contributed over $1.25 million in funding to boost organizational capacity, support strategic communications and catalyze additional connections. More funders have raised their hands to offer monetary support, more media attention has been achieved, and more partners have created and shared locally-based programs. Nationally recognized educational experts have stepped forward and into the Campaign, and large national gatherings have brought together hundreds of people representing communities engaged in the Campaign’s work.

This year’s GLR Week in Philadelphia was another significant event in the Campaign’s continued evolution, where it attracted more than 700 attendees including prominent officials such as the Governor of Pennsylvania and the city’s Mayor. One of the key underlying messages for this GLR Week 2018 was to “stay the course” — an expression of renewed national dedication to more opportunities at the local level.

Since its formation, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has exemplified connecting, learning, sharing, evolving, and strengthening throughout its ever-expanding network of communities devoted to creating better futures for their more disadvantaged children. While a deep appreciation exists for the growth in the Campaign’s public recognition, The Patterson Foundation knows the true value of this collaboration lies in the continued growth in new possibilities for communities throughout this nationwide network — including the Suncoast.