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Announcing $70,000 to 14 Nonprofits: Increasing Grade-Level Reading Rates in Greater Austin

This summer, United Way for Greater Austin awarded a total of $112,000 in one-time grant funding to 23 qualified community organizations delivering effective programs and services that advance the goals of the community coalitions we convene as part of our collective impact work to fight poverty. 


Here at United Way for Greater Austin we’re working hard alongside our community partners to ensure that all children are reading on grade-level by 4th grade. That’s why we lead the Greater Austin Reading Coalition, a diverse coalition of nonprofit and community leaders, librarians, teachers, and parents working to ensure that all children are reading on or above grade level by the fourth grade.

To help advance this goal, United Way for Greater Austin put out a call for proposals to fund programs and services that are advancing the Greater Austin Reading Coalition’s goals, including building a community culture of reading, engaging parents and caretakers in their child’s reading development, and making quality, enriching out-of-school-time services accessible to all children

We’re thrilled to announce that the following organizations were awarded mini-grants, up to $5,000, to support their programs and services that are improving early grade reading outcomes for local children! 

Build a community culture of reading 

100 Black Men of Austin, Inc.: provide culturally-relevant books to local teachers to share with their students in the classroom

AKA Association For Community Development, Inc.: implement Project G.R.E.E.N. at Oak Springs Elementary School, facilitating reading programs and book distributions for Oak Spring students

Capital Area Alliance of Black School Educators: host reading workshops and conference registrations for educators, parents, and caregivers; distribute books by African American authors to local school libraries; partner with local schools to implement Family Literacy Nights and reading challenges; provide free books to students; fund author visits to schools; and assist students in acquiring public library cards 

Friends of the Pflugerville Library: create and distribute free Pflugerville Read-Aloud event kits

Texas Book Festival: conduct the Reading Rock Stars program to improve literacy in Texas Title I elementary schools by bringing critically acclaimed authors to engage with young students and giving each student their own copy of the author’s book

Welcome Table, Inc.: conduct the Freedom Schools program with community gatherings that include community heroes as guest readers or presenters that reflect the diversity of the students’ community

Engage parents and caretakers 

Austin Ed Fund: facilitate the Families as Partners programs, specifically Parent Champions who will support and develop parents in the focus areas of literacy, social and emotional learning, and technology

YMCA of Austin: host literacy events that include parents and caretakers of students in afterschool programs, and engage parents in the fundamentals of literacy to help build on the foundation of a child’s reading aptitude

Provide enriching out-of-school-time (OST) services, with a literacy focus 

African American Youth Harvest Foundation: conduct the Cradle2Contributor (C2C) program to improve the rates of early childhood readiness among youth with activities that include literacy circles, reading program initiatives, and reading resources for students and families 

Andy Roddick Foundation: mobilize after-school program providers to create literacy-rich environments and provide engaging activities; offer professional development workshops and create a resource toolbox

Austin Bat Cave: provide the Mobile Program and Bat Mobile, including weekly after-school creative writing programs on Del Valle Independent School District elementary school campuses, parent outreach, and book drive and distribution events 

Austin Public Library Friends Foundation: celebrate Read Across America Day with a special after-school program aimed at children K to 3rd grade

BookSpring: conduct the Summer Success program to prevent, and even reverse, summer learning loss by encouraging summer reading practice through delivery of free books, literacy resources and enriching reading activities to bridge the summer break

Sammy’s House: conduct the Sprinkled with Words program to target literacy with a secondary benefit of speech development; purchase curriculum kits and adapt for children with special needs, and train the after-school instructor to incorporate kits into daily lessons


Congratulations to all the organizations that received funding for their programs and services, and thank you for standing United with us to ensure that all children are reading on grade level in our community!

During this grant cycle, United Way also provided funding to organizations advancing the goals of our other two community coalitions: the Austin/Travis-County Success By 6 and 2-Gen Coalitions. Check out this blog post to learn more about funding for SX6 initiatives and this blog post to learn more about funding for 2-Gen initiatives. 

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