United Way and Chris Long Launch Crowdfunding Effort for Early Literacy

Donations will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 7, 2018 — United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ), in partnership with The Chris Long Foundation, is launching a 25-day crowdfunding initiative to amplify the impact of the First Quarter for Literacy campaign, an initiative of Philadelphia Eagles Defensive End Chris Long to help Philadelphia area children improve their reading skills. The First Quarter for Literacy initiative will put new books into the hands of 5,000 local children.

This “Second Quarter for Literacy” push is designed to amplify the impact of Long’s initial investment by making additional strategic investments into programs designed to help more children throughout the region read on grade level by the end of third grade. UWGPSNJ hopes to raise at least $25,000 through crowdfunding efforts and will match donations, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000 from United Way’s Innovation Fund.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find a more inspiring community champion than Chris Long, who has been committed to using his platform and resources to do a tremendous amount of good in the communities where he has lived and played,” says Bill Golderer, president and CEO of UWGPSNJ. “In that spirit, we are challenging each and every member of the Greater Philadelphia region to get off the sidelines to support our youngest learners.”

Grade level reading by 4th grade is a critical milestone, as children begin to transition from learning to read, to reading to learn. Children who are not reading on grade level by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers. According to Philadelphia’s Read by 4th campaign, which is funded by United Way and approximately two dozen other funders, “by the start of the 2016-2017 school year nearly two thirds of children in Philadelphia entered the 4th grade unable to read at grade level.”
To combat this problem, contributions to the Second Quarter for Literacy initiative will help:

Expand the Parent-Child Home Program to provide more families in need with the knowledge, skills, and materials they need to prepare their children for success in pre-K and beyond
Launch a 1:1 interactive, web-based tutoring program designed for use in classrooms for grades 1-3
Expand Philadelphia’s Read by 4th campaign into suburban communities
“Every child deserves the chance to succeed in school and in life, and that starts with being able to read on grade level. Together with United Way, I want to help level the playing field so that all children have the resources and supports they need to build these critical skills,” says Long. “This is a huge challenge, so we’re only going to be successful if we all chip in what we can. Every donation – no matter what size – can make a life-changing impact.”

The Second Quarter for Literacy will run through Monday, December 31. Contributions can be made at gofundme.com/2nd-quarter-for-literacy with opportunities to receive rewards and prizes for giving while supplies last.

For more information about UWGPSNJ’s work to improve early literacy and end intergenerational poverty, visit UnitedForImpact.org. For more information about Chris Long’s First Quarter for Literacy initiative, visit FirstQuarterForLiteracy.org.

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