GLR Campaign Managing Director Ralph Smith spoke earlier this month to the Rotary Club of Washington, D.C. It is one of the oldest Rotary Clubs in America -- established in 1912, about six years after the founding of Rotary International. Smith noted the Club's efforts to promote literacy in the nation's capital, including distribution of free dictionaries to about 50,000 third graders since 2006. He also praised the nearly two dozen Rotary Clubs that are part of local GLR Campaign Coalitions across they country.
Literacy is one of Rotary International's six core service goals, and clubs around the world seek to strengthen the ability of local communities to assure all youth and adults are able to read.
"We were moved by Ralph's story that an alarming number of children -- about 67 percent nationwide and 80 percent of those from low-income families -- are not proficient readers by the end of third grade," said DC Rotary Club President Ross Grantham. "The Campaign's commitment to reverse this trend means a lot to Rotary, an organization committed over its entire 112-year history to service those in need. We applaud the Campaign's efforts and look forward to staying connected as their hard work to find common sense solutions at federal, state and local levels continues."