Charleston win competitive Third Grade Reads grant from Cities of Service and ServiceNation

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The City of Charleston in partnership with the Charleston County School District, Book Buddies and Reading Partners was awarded a $40,000 “Third Grade Reads” grant from Cities of Service and ServiceNation, funded by Target Corporation. The Cities of Service Third Grade Reads initiative is intended to support high-impact strategies in which the Mayor’s Office leverages the power of volunteers to help children attain reading proficiency by the beginning of fourth grade.

Through a partnership between the City of Charleston, Charleston County School District, Book Buddies and Reading Partners, volunteers tutor the highest need K-3 students in reading. The grant will support the literacy curriculum, travel for staff to participate in professional development around volunteer recruitment, management and coaching, investment in a volunteer database to track the volunteers and their outcomes and a standardized assessment tool to capture student outcomes.

Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. said, “Through the Third Grade Reads Initiative, the Charleston community can better reach our goal of having every child reading on grade level.”

“We are very excited about the partnership this year with the Mayor’s Office and with Reading Partners,” said Kecia Greenho, Executive Director of Charleston Book Buddies. “Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley has made literacy a priority in Charleston County schools, and we are working together to close the achievement gap. We offer a strategic way for volunteers to get involved in solving this literacy crisis. With the engagement of the Charleston community, and the partnerships we are creating, we will give students the tools they need to be able to graduate from high school on time.”

Charleston was one of eight recipient cities of the Cities of Service, Third Grade Reads grant. The other seven recipients are: Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Chula Vista, CA; Cincinnati, OH; Kansas City, MO; Orlando, FL; and Vicksburg, MS. A summary of the cities’ proposals can be found here.

Grants awarded through this initiative are funded by Target. Target is on track to give $1 billion for education by the end of 2015, to help kids learn, schools teach, and parents and caring adults engage.

The Third Grade Reads Blueprint is one of ten “Service as a Strategy” blueprints. These are designed by the Cities of Service coalition to be ready-to-use, high-impact strategies available for mayors and their cities to implement. Each customizable blueprint outlines how the Mayor’s Office can engage citizen volunteers to address a specific city need in one of six priority areas: education and youth, health, neighborhood revitalization, preparedness and safety, sustainability, and veterans. The blueprints were created with funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

To learn more about Cities of Service, Third Grade Reads, or the “Service as a Strategy” blueprints, please visit

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