[Charlotte, NC –April 24, 2017] – The YMCA of Greater Charlotte is pleased to announce it has received a $100,000 grant from The Leon Levine Foundation (TLLF); $60,000 to be awarded outright and $40,000 will be awarded in the form of a $1 for $1 match for all new, increased and lapsed donations the Y receives for the Y Readers program before November 1, 2017. Funding will support Y Readers, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte’s nationally recognized literacy program that serves rising first through third grade students who are reading below grade level.
“The summer is a critical time for students, particularly those who are already reading below grade level. Without access to learning and enrichment opportunities during the summer months, students lose 2-3 months in reading proficiency and start the school year even further behind their peers,” says Amanda Wilkinson, YMCA of Greater Charlotte senior director of achievement gap initiatives. The Y partnered with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in 1999 to launch Y Readers at Reid Park Academy. The program now operates year-round to serve nearly 900 students each year across Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Lincoln County Schools and Mooresville Graded School District.
This summer, Y Readers will serve 752 students at ten school sites across the Y’s three partner school districts. The program utilizes certified teachers, teacher assistants and volunteer reading buddies to provide the additional support that students need to be proficient in reading by the end of third grade.
Enrolled students have the opportunity to participate in both literacy instruction and enrichment activities, all selected to help students build foundational reading skills and gain self-confidence. “We are grateful for The Leon Levine Foundation’s continued support of Y Readers,” says Michael DeVaul, chief community impact officer for the YMCA of Greater Charlotte. “In addition to helping us grow the program to serve nearly 100 additional students this summer, the Foundation's investment will be leveraged to grow Y Readers’ donor base. The matching grant provides an exciting challenge for our Y to attract new and lapsed support for the program, with a particular focus on young professional and African American donors and volunteers.”
The Leon Levine Foundation remains one of the key funders of Y Readers, having awarded over $400,000 to the program since 2012. Other major program funders include The Belk Foundation, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and United Way of Central Carolinas. “We are excited to continue our partnership with the YMCA of Greater Charlotte and its nationally recognized Y Readers program,” says Tom Lawrence, executive director of The Leon Levine Foundation. “Y
Readers strongly fits within the Foundation’s education mission by directly addressing summer learning loss and helping close the achievement gap. We hope that others in the community will join us in supporting this high-impact program.”
The mission of The Leon Levine Foundation is to improve the human condition by creating permanent, measurable, life-changing impact. The Foundation invests in nonprofit organizations with highly effective leadership, a track record of success and a focus on sustainability. Those interested in learning more about Y Readers should visit www.ymcacharlotte.org/yreaders.
About the YMCA of Greater Charlotte
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte, comprised of 19 membership locations and two resident camps, engages approximately 272,000 men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Deeply rooted in the community for over 140 years, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.
The Leon Levine Foundation
The Leon Levine Foundation’s mission is to improve the human condition by creating permanent, measurable and life-changing impact. The organization invests in nonprofits with a successful track record and a focus on sustainability in the areas of healthcare, education, Jewish values and human services. Started by Leon Levine, the creator of the first Family Dollar Store in Charlotte, N.C., in 1980, the foundation has grown into one of the country’s largest and most impactful philanthropic organizations. For more information, please visit www.leonlevinefoundation.org