Mayor Kenney Helps Fund for the School District Relaunch Campaign for Right Books; Vanguard Capital for Kids Program Gifts $250,000 to the Literacy Campaign

Philadelphia Mayor and Vanguard Capital raise money for Philly Public Schools' Right Books Campaign. Vanguard donates $250,000 to early literacy campaign to get K-3 students reading on grade level by 4th grade.

Philadephia, PA, December 09, 2016 --( Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Donna Frisby Greenwood, President & CEO of the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, visited K-3 classrooms with the Right Books libraries at the George W. Nebinger School, a K-8 school in Bella Vista last week for Giving Tuesday. Mayor Kenney read Exploring Matter by Marilyn J. Salomon to a first grade classroom as part of his visit. The visit was the latest step in the campaign to raise a total of $3.5 million dollars in an historic literacy effort to have every public school student reading on grade level by 4th grade.

“If our students are not reading on grade level in the fourth grade, this deficit follows them throughout their academic careers,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Having the right books in our classrooms means that teachers and students have the tools to develop early literacy and a love of reading. This important campaign is a way we can all do our small part to support our local schools.”

The Right Books effort has drawn support of an unusually large and broad coalition, including the School District, the William Penn and the Lenfest Foundations, READ! by 4th, and local corporations including a $250,000 donation from Vanguard Capital for Kids Program.

“We are thrilled to have Vanguard Capital for Kids Program as our newest partner in this early literacy initiative,” said Donna Frisby-Greenwood, president and CEO of The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia. "Their contribution will support Right Books libraries in 50 classrooms."

The Fund hosted a week-long online appeal to help raise awareness for the Right Books on Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to online giving which kicks off the end of year charitable season; the online campaign is fueled by social media messages. Funding for Right Books installs special grade level libraries in every K-3 elementary school classroom. These teaching libraries are designed to enable every Philadelphia public school students to read on or above grade level by 4th grade. On #GivingTuesday, the Fund raised nearly $253,000 toward the final $3.5 million in matching dollars required to meet the overall campaign goal.

Mayor Kenney, School District Superintendent William Hite and other city leaders also supported the campaign, urging the public to allocate their First Tuesday giving for Philadelphia’s public school students and help them obtain “the Right Books.”

“The right books in the right hands at the right time can change a child’s whole world and we are very close to our goal of generating the resources to make sure all of our children have the reading skills they need to succeed,” according to Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite.

The $3.5 million campaign, first launched in November 2015 and was the feature fundraising activity of Mayor Kenney’s inaugural block party. Donors at the inaugural block party on January 4, 2016 raised $556,329 for the Right Books campaign. To date, the Right Books Campaign has raised $2.1 million of the $3.5 million in required matching dollars from the Lenfest ($4.5 million) and William Penn ($6 million) Foundations for a total of $14 million needed to train all K-3 teachers, provide a literacy coach in all 149 elementary schools, and to establish classroom leveled libraries in all elementary schools that will help more than 48,000 children to read at or above grade level. Each classroom library, with about 500 books, costs approximately $5,000 to fund.

About The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia is an independent 501 (c) 3 not for profit organization that serves as a fiscal intermediary between the private sector and the Philadelphia public education system. We are the only philanthropic organization that works directly with school leadership to align the investments of partners - private foundations, corporations and businesses, community organizations and individual donors - with the strategies that will impact the success of students attending our neighborhood public schools.​
Cardenas Grant Communications
Barbara Grant