Photo: girl wearing a mask. Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading logos

Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Contribution Boosts National & Regional Efforts

Posted on January 26, 2021 by The Patterson Foundation
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended education for our nation’s children, creating and compounding challenges for the educators, organizations, and families invested in helping students reach their full potential. These challenges create additional obstacles along the path toward third-grade reading proficiency, a key indicator of continued success in school and life. For children from asset-limited families, who already face an uphill journey toward this crucial milestone compared to their more affluent peers, the added disruptions could give rise to repercussions felt throughout their lifetimes.

Today’s challenges make the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s years of work to ensure that children in asset-limited families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship more essential than ever. The GLR Campaign includes more than 350 communities in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and two provinces in Canada.

To strengthen these nationwide efforts — including efforts in The Patterson Foundation’s home region — The Patterson Foundation has contributed $250,000 to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. This catalytic contribution will support the national network of communities working to build better futures for some of the nation’s most vulnerable children by ensuring all children read on grade-level by the end of third grade.

Since 2013, The Patterson Foundation has contributed more than $1.75 million to strengthen these efforts as an Anchor Funder for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. In addition to these contributions, the Foundation continues to provide strategy and consulting support for the national Campaign.

“The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has built a vast network of 350+ communities working to move the needle on reading proficiency for children across the country,” said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. “Being able to witness the impact of this nationwide movement in The Patterson Foundation’s home region continues to inspire and motivate as we strive to connect, learn from, and share with each other.”

One of the major obstacles in the pathway out of poverty is the failure to read proficiently by the end of third grade. Currently, 80 percent of children from asset-limited families are not reaching this critical milestone. The GLR Campaign seeks to disrupt this cycle of generational poverty by mobilizing communities to engage a broad base of stakeholders to improve school readiness, attendance, and summer learning opportunities. It also emphasizes strategies to help parents serve as their children’s first teachers while connecting families with health resources to reduce societal challenges associated with reading on grade-level.

“The Patterson Foundation (TPF) has been a stalwart supporter of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) for much of the past decade and currently is the only national funder investing in both a regional and a local campaign as well,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. “CGLR is the grateful beneficiary of TPF’s game-changing ‘more than money’ approach to philanthropy that has afforded us access to TPF’s partners, networks, and reservoirs of talent. Moreover, Debra Jacobs, TPF’s CEO, allowed us to recruit her to serve as a Senior Philanthropic Advisor to CGLR. And perhaps I have confessed once or twice to knowing that she is a superb executive coach.”

Beyond this support, The Patterson Foundation works with the Florida Grade-Level Reading Campaign and serves as the lead partner of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, promoting grade-level reading efforts in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. The Suncoast Campaign has consistently received recognition for its work, including multiple Pacesetter Honors, one of the highest awards presented by the GLR Campaign, and the prestigious All-America City Award.

To learn more about The Patterson Foundation, visit Visit for more information about the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

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