MIAMI – Reach Out and Read, a national early childhood literacy initiative, will expand its collaborative programs in the Charlotte area, supported by a $647,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The grant program, which also includes community literacy efforts in Philadelphia and Palm Beach County, Fla., will provide training for local pediatricians on integrating early childhood literacy into standard pediatric practice. Developed in Boston by a team of pediatricians and early childhood educators, Reach Out and Read educates parents about the importance of reading to their children. During well-baby visits, pediatricians give their young patients and their parents new books and a prescription to read them together.
The program was introduced in Charlotte in 1998, and will now expand to reach all local pediatric practitioners. Working with local and national literacy and education organizations, Knight Foundation has encouraged collaboration among Charlotte nonprofit agencies to develop strategies for addressing literacy, identified by local residents as a community priority.
At their March meeting, Knight trustees also approved a $137,400 grant to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, providing transition support to strengthen the school district's IMPACT II program of minigrants, professional development and networking for teachers. The two-year grant will enable the school district to establish strategies and services to provide ongoing services and support to local educators.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Education Foundation was awarded a $50,000 Knight grant for a public engagement and community-based planning initiative in cooperation with the public school system.
Established in 1991, the Education Foundation is a private support mechanism for local schools. It invests in pilot projects and forms partnerships and projects to boost community support and involvement in public education. A recent court ruling eliminating busing in the district has put pressure on the school system to develop new approaches to dealing with the area's explosive population growth. Grant funds will be used for planning and implementation of new educational strategies.
A Knight grant of $114,000 over the next two years will go to Central Piedmont Community College Foundation, Charlotte, to support its Charlotte Family Independence Initiative, linking family literacy and welfare-to-work programs.The Light Factory, Charlotte, received a $25,000 grant for the exhibition "Cuban Allure: Photography, Film and Video," on view from April to June, and for accompanying outreach and marketing programs. The exhibit is part of an annual series of international art shows at the Light Factory focusing on places experiencing dramatic change.
The Foundation also granted $250,000 to the American Library Association, Chicago, to support LIVE! at the Library 2000, a project designed to help local libraries across the country present theme-based cultural programming. The programs will feature live appearances by literary, visual and performing artists to explore important community issues.
Project kickoff will begin in April to coincide with National Library Week (April 8-15) and the 200th anniversary of the Library of Congress, and will encompass as many as 500 libraries over the course of the next two years.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.