May 2021 Organization of the Month: Early Childhood Literacy Fund
Back in December, Kelsey Johnson, one of our beertenders, asked if she could chhose the org of the month for May since her birthday is that month. We said sure. Being a teacher, she chose education related. Being avid readers ourselves, we thought literacy would be perfect. Then Janell Robertson walked through our doors. We got to chatting and she shared a little of an initiative the Carroll County Community Foundation is working on and we knew we had a match!
Early Childhood Literacy
Arkansas Community Foundation (our parent organization) along with all 29 affiliate offices (Carroll County Community Foundation is one of the 29) created the Grade-Level Reading Grant initiative in 2018 to address a pillar issue highlighted in our Aspire Arkansas data. This compilation of data can be found at www.aspirearkansas.org and consists of four main pillars: Education, Health, Families, and Communities.
The issue that stood out the most was the percentage of students proficient at reading in 3rd grade: only 37% (2017-2018 data). Studies show that from preschool to third grade, student LEARN TO READ – from third grade on they READ TO LEARN. Early literacy skills are critical to a successful school experience. Third grade is considered an important milestone in a student’s career in terms of reading proficiency and is correlated to whether a student will graduate high school.
So, Arkansas Community Foundation and its affiliates, with the backing and informational studies from the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (now knows as Excelby8) joined forces to address this issues with information and grant funds.
Carroll County Community Foundation combined our funds with local business donations and a matching grant from the Arkansas Community Foundation to support all three public schools in their efforts to address this issue. Each of the schools created a unique response and was highlighted in our statewide GLR review. We have been so proud of the work they are doing to promote reading. GLR grants were given out in 2018, 2019, and will be given out in 2021. Each tax-deductible donation specified for Grade-Level Reading is immediately added to the grantable total and goes to fund this next round of local GLR support. It is a powerful example of three unique communities coming together to support all Carroll County students. The next GLR grants will be given out early this summer to support work in the 2021-2022 school year.
What we’re doing
In May, in conjunction with CCCF, we will:
- Host a box in the taproom where people can donate gently-used or new children’s books to be given out at Loaves & Fishes Food Bank, Flint Street Food Bank, and Bethel Food Bank.
- Have coasters with info about the program and needs on tables
- Every Thursday, we will have locals reading “Beer time stories” in the beer garden and 100% of the tips will be donated to CCCF’s early childhood literacy grant.
Please join us in making an impact for our community’s literacy rate.