Adam Schwartz's Posts (42)

  • Toys for Joy Launches in Springfield, Mass.

    Reading Success by 4th Grade has partnered with The Republican, Springfield's local newspaper, MassLive, and The Salvation Army, in their Toy for Joy holiday giving campaign. Toy for Joy, now in its 95th year, is using the this new partnership to make a literacy a key component of this year's campaign. Every child who benefits from the program will also receive at leas one book to share with their families. 

    Toy for Joy works with donors to make sure needy children in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties have toys and gifts each holiday season. "We have so many parents tell us that they didn't know it was important to read to babies, but there is an incredible amount of brain research that confirms that 80 to 90 percent of a child's brain is formed by the time they are three-years-old," said Sally Fuller, project director for Reading Success by 4th Grade, a program of the Irene & George Davis Foundation. Fuller said from her experience with childhood literacy over the years their reaction to getting a new book can be just as enthusiastic as their excitement over a new toy. Children receiving toys and books will range from 0-16 years-old. Fuller said books will be chosen based on a child's age, but will also take into consideration diverse cultural backgrounds and language. With a large Latino population in Western Massachusetts Fuller said she hopes to offer some books that are bilingual, making it easier for families to share the experience of reading the book together.

    Read more about this amazing program below:

    Toy for Joy launches 95th annual appeal, focuses on family literacy

    Toy for Joy, Reading Success by 4th Grade team to help make difference in children's lives: Viewpoint

    Toy for Joy donors giving the gift of literacy

    Toy for Joy donors appreciate new literacy component

    Read more…
  • We received this email from Leslie Gabay-Swanston at the National Summer Learning Association 


    As 2018 quickly approaches, the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) seeks to expand the capacity of communities to coordinate key systems and leverage existing infrastructures to increase quality summer programming for those most in need.

    After launching a successful cohort in 2017, NSLA is excited to invite a new group of cities in 2018 to begin building a system of summer learning in their community. With many local entities focused on boosting student achievement, implementing quality standards, and maximizing opportunities for expended learning, a more coordinated and strategic approach to how the summer space is used can accelerate the impact of all efforts. NSLA invites you to continue to build on this movement by joining a select group of cities that will embark on this work in 2018.

    Click here to view the Request for Qualifications

    The Request for Qualifications is intended to be completed by funding agencies and I encourage you to reach out to funders in your network that may be interested in deepening their support. Proposals are due January 19, 2018.

    We will hold an informational webinar on December 19 at 2pm ET.

    Click here to register for the webinar

    Please let me know if you have any questions in the meantime.


    Leslie Gabay-Swanston
    Director of Program and Systems Quality
    National Summer Learning Association

    Read more…
  • Raise Me to Read StoryWalks in Iowa

    Raise Me to Read in Council Bluffs, Iowa has been hosting StoryWalks throughout this past year. They've held a total of seven walks; approximately 1,371 individuals have attended, raising both awareness and interest throughout their community! At the end of the walking held in the park, they offered a free snack and a free book for each child. Each walk was open to children age 5 and younger and offers each page of a selected book on separately as parents/guardians and children make their way along the path.      

    These walks also garnered a good deal of media attention, highlighted in the articles below.

    Read more…
  • Save the Date -- GLR Week 2018 in Philadelphia

    Great news! We're gearing up for GLR Week 2018 in Philadelphia, July 23-27Please save the date! This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity. We're expecting over 300 GLR Campaign funding, program and agency partners to gather in the City of Brotherly Love. You'll reconnect with old friends and meet plenty of new ones while gaining new insights on effective strategies to achieve bigger outcomes, larger impact and sustainable scale for children's early school success.

    Registration and hotel information are coming soon. If you have questions or would like to learn more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Adam Schwartz at

    We are looking forward to seeing you! 
    To get you ready for this incredible week, take a moment to explore the GLR Week 2017 experience and see firsthand why so many of your peers are still buzzing about it. 

    GLR Week 2017 -  Highlights Video

    GLR Week 2017 - Photo Gallery 

    GLR Week 2017 -  Session Documentation & Resources 

    Read more…
  • The Walmart Foundation is making up to $3 million in grants available through a competitive RFP, and will award grants ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 to eligible organizations chosen for the purpose of helping to accelerate progress for new, innovative efforts or scaling existing initiatives that support programs related to strengthening community cohesion or expanding pathways to career opportunity for diverse communities.

    The RFP process will be administered online using the CyberGrants application system which can be accessed here. If you do not already have an account, you will need to create one when accessing the site for the first time. There will be a Q&A session and CyberGrants training on November 16, 2017. If your organization is considering this RFP opportunity, the Walmart Foundation strongly encourages you and others on your team to participate in the webinar training scheduled for November 16, 2017 at 3:00pm-4:00pm ET/2:00pm-3:00pm CT. You may submit questions for the training to

    The access information for the Q&A Session and CyberGrants Training is as follows:

    1. You can join by accessing or using the WebEx mobile app in the Google Play or Apple Store
    * Meeting Number: 749 060 776
    * Meeting Password: Walmart
    2. You may also join by telephone @ 1-855-797-9485, access code: 749 060 776 but you will not be able to see the slides.

    CyberGrants will be open to accept a Letter of Intent (LOI) on Monday, November 20, 2017. You will need to use the case sensitive invitation code: DIRFPCM to submit an LOI. The deadline to submit an LOI is 11:59pm ET on Friday, December 22, 2017. For the purpose of this RFP, diverse communities are defined as African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, Individuals with Disabilities, LGBTQ, and Women.

    There are 3 supporting documents to read:

    1. The Final 2018 D&I RFP
    2. D&I RFP FAQ
    3. D&I RFP Giving Guidelines
    Read more…
  • GLR/McGraw-Hill Webinar on Wednesday, November 15

    Many children in the U.S. face dim academic and career prospects, as millions going into the fourth grade are unable to read proficiently. Two-thirds of U.S. fourth graders are not proficient readers, according to national reading assessment data. This disturbing statistic is made even worse by the fact that more than four out of every five low-income students miss this critical milestone.

    McGraw-Hill Education is partnering with the Campaign for Grade Level Reading (GLR Campaign) to raise awareness for this critical issue. Together, the organizations will host a live webinar addressing issues around the third grade reading gap, including strategies and curriculum ideas for creating a comprehensive third-grade reading proficiency achievement plan to help ensure that students become proficient readers before moving on to fourth grade.

    Educational leaders in elementary schools are invited to attend: Achieving Third Grade Reading Proficiency: Essential Strategies for Meeting the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. The webinar will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 15 beginning at 2:00 pm Eastern and 11:00 am Pacific.

    Registration is available through November 15 at:

    The webinar will be presented by education experts Barbara O’Brien from the GLR Campaign, which is funded in part by the Annie Casey Foundation, together with Mary Eisele from McGraw-Hill Education’s Intervention and Acceleration group. A goal of the GLR Campaign is that by 2020, a dozen states or more will increase by at least 100% the number of low-income children reading proficiently at the end of third grade. Supporting that, McGraw-Hill Education is a leading provider of English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum programs and resources—including Reading Mastery, Open Court Reading, and SRA FLEX Literacy—that empower teachers to enrich, remediate, and accelerate ELA and literacy skills.

    Join this webinar to find out more about the challenges of the third grade reading gate, and how states are holding districts accountable. Discover potential solutions for addressing the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, including recommended actions and curriculum solutions. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask Barbara and Mary questions around addressing the third grade reading gap. All attendees will receive a link to the on-demand webinar, as well as valuable articles from The Campaign for Grade Level Reading and McGraw-Hill Education.

    Reading proficiency by the third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success. It’s a key to gaining achievement in the new knowledge economy and breaking the cycle of poverty over time.

    Webinar Presenters

    Barbara O’Brien is a Senior Consultant at the Campaign for Grade Level Reading. She is the first fellow of Piton Foundation, a foundation dedicated to improving conditions and opportunities for children from low-income families. Barbara is continuing her work to advance a state and national education reform agenda, from preschool to college. She also serves as the Policy Director for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Prior to joining the Piton Foundation, Barbara served four years as Colorado’s 47th Lieutenant Governor, becoming only the fourth woman to hold the position in Colorado’s history.

    Mary Eisele, Ph.D. is the Director of Product Management for the Direct Instruction product line at McGraw-Hill Education. For 25 years, Dr. Eisele has partnered with schools and districts as educators implemented various Direct Instruction programs. This work deepened her passion for improving student achievement through research-proven programs and embedded professional development. A move from sales and consulting to product development has enabled her to capitalize on those experiences when leading the development of new products. Dr. Eisele authored Phonemic Awareness and produced other resources including promotional videos, professional development tools, an online data management system, and additional materials to support literacy education.

    Read more…
  • We're sharing this letter on behalf of our friends at the CDC. Please feel free to copy and paste it to share with your entire network.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is pleased to announce the launch of CDC’s Milestone Tracker – a free app for tracking every child’s development in a fun and easy way. This app adds to the popular suite of free, family-friendly materials available through CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. program.

    “Skills like taking a first step, saying those first words, and waving ‘bye-bye’ are developmental milestones all parents anticipate and celebrate,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D.  “This CDC Milestone Tracker app gives parents tips to help their child learn and grow, a way to track developmental milestones, recognize delays, and the ability to share this information with their healthcare provider.”

    The new app offers

    • Interactive milestone checklists for children ages 2 months through 5 years, illustrated with photos and videos
    • Tips and activities to help children learn and grow
    • Information on when to act early and talk with a doctor about developmental delays
    • A personalized milestone summary that can be easily shared with the doctor and other care providers
    • Reminders for appointments and developmental screening

     Learn more and get information on downloading the app at CDC’s Milestone Tracker website. The app is available in the App Store and on Google Play.

    Although it is packed with parent-friendly features, this app isn’t just for parents! Healthcare providers can use it to help with developmental surveillance as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and early care and education providers can use it to better understand their students’ skills and abilities and to engage families in monitoring developmental progress.

    WE NEED YOUR HELP to spread the word in your community and across your networks! We urge you to copy and share posts and image from the list below, or email for the complete marketing toolkit with additional newsletter samples, images, web buttons, flyers, and more—tailored for parents, healthcare or early care and education providers. 

    Many thanks for your help in getting this important resource into the hands of parents and providers across the country! And if you can, please take a minute to let us know about your outreach efforts at

    On behalf of your friends at CDC,

    [Name/signature line]


    Newsletter Content

    • Never miss a milestone moment with CDC’s new FREE app: Milestone TrackerUse a new, free, and parent-friendly app from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to track and celebrate your young child’s development from ages 2 months through 5 years, see photos and videos that illustrate milestones, try new activities to support your child’s early development, get helpful reminders for appointments, and more! Learn more and get a sneak peek at
    • Milestone Tracker: CDC’s FREE app helps parents track developmental milestones and more! Educate and empower parents to learn about, support, and track their child’s development from age 2 months through 5 years with a free app offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Access a printable poster (8.5” x 11”) for your clinic, a web button for your website, and more. Additional information about the app is located at
    • Milestone Tracker: New FREE app helps you team with parents to track and celebrate development. Better understand each child’s skills and abilities, track and celebrate developmental milestones, and share progress with parents with a fun, easy, and free appoffered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Encourage parents to use this FREE app. Access a printable poster (8.5” x 11”) for your classroom or center, a web button for your website, and more at


    • @CDCgov has a FREE app to track your child’s milestones. Learn more about #MilestoneTracker at:  (118 characters)
    • How many milestones do you celebrate in a day? Find a few more with CDC’s FREE #MilestoneTracker app. (129 characters)
    • Educate and engage parents around their children’s development with CDC’s FREE #MilestoneTracker app! (129 characters)
    • @CDCgov has a FREE app to track children's milestones. Learn more about #MilestoneTracker at:  (118 characters)


    • CDC just made tracking early developmental milestones easy and fun with their FREE new, parent–friendly app, Milestone Tracker. Download the app and start tracking, supporting, and celebrating your child’s early development today!
    • Talking with parents about their child’s development is easier when they use CDC’s FREE Milestone Tracker app. Visit to learn more about this parent-friendly app and to print a poster to start promoting the app today! #actearly #milestonemoment
    • You know developmental milestones are important. Educate and engage parents around their children’s development by sharing CDC’s FREE Milestone Tracker app! Visit for promotional tools and more. #actearly #milestonemoment

    Read more…
  • One of SSIR’s most-popular programs is once again available for you and other social sector leaders. In this two-part video series – “The Network Leader” – you’ll learn to harness the tremendous potential of networks, by building cultures and structures that enable networks to thrive.
    Read more…
  • A team at Northwestern University’s Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact is seeking community partners for a research project involving collaborative efforts to improve education.
    Read more…
  • Putting Colorado on Your Radar

    The 2017 Funder Huddle kicked off with a look into the inner workings of what Denver has been doing with their highly successful innovative and collaborative work in children's literacy. The Denver Host Committee's panel discussion inspired the audience by sharing their passion and detailing how they built a cohesive community vision. Our distinguished panelists were:

    • Moderator: Bruce Hoyt, senior vice president, Gary Community Investments
    • Anne Anderson, director of early childhood development, The Ben and Lucy Ana Walton Fund of the Walton Family Foundation
    • Elsa Holguín, senior program officer, Rose Community Foundation
    • Susan Steele, executive director, Buell Foundation

    Get the slide presentation.

    But those four esteemed leaders didn't do it alone, the Colorado Bright Spots are some of the foundations and community leaders that have helped to close the gap in Denver. Their support has contributed to results that equal double-digit gains on early literacy rates!

    This amazing progress is one of the reasons that Denver was named a 2016 Pacesetter. Of particular note is Denver's Birth to Eight Roadmap is a breakthrough document that details their plan to close the opportunity gap by 2020. 

    Read more…
  • Book-Rich Environments In Action

    The Sarasota Housing Department and Sarasota County Libraries joined forces this summer to make book deserts a thing of the past. Beginning in June, the two organizations set a goal to distribute 2,500 free books over the summer to children who live in the public housing communities, where many of the families live in extreme poverty.

    "Instead of it being a book desert, where these families don't have children's books in their homes at all, we are literally trying to make it a book-rich environment in not only their homes but their neighbor's homes and in the children's library in the building," said William Russell President and CEO of Sarasota Housing Authority.

    The book-rich environments initiative was launched in January and book distribution began, in earnest, in March of this year. Nearly 4 million low-income children are living in HUD-assisted housing across the country. BRE aims to foster a love of reading and to improve educational outcomes of children living in HUD-assisted housing by distributing free, high quality books to children, promoting literacy activities offered by local libraries and nonprofits, and by strengthening partnerships between Public Housing Authorities (PHA), local public libraries and literacy partners to develop and deliver programming to improve educational outcomes of PHA residents.

    PHAs across the country have long embraced the ideals behind the Book-Rich Environments Initiative, taking up the challenge to increase reading proficiency and improve the overall academic achievement of children in low-income families becoming bright spots of this nation-wide commitment with unique programs tailored to their community.

    Sarasota concluded it's summer campaign on August 9th with a "Back to School Bash", where they offered books, backpacks, school supplies and library cards to families. Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading were a part of the festivities, offering children summer reading programs. 

    The Book-Rich Environments Initiative is just getting started and with partners like these, it's going to change lives!

    If you'd like to learn more about the Book-Rich Environments Initiative:

    Read the press release to see the intiative's partners and leadership cohort.

    Learn about the 270,000 books that have been shipped to PHAs across the country.

    Find who to contact to get involved.

    Read more…
  • Reading Success by 4th Grade in the News

    Sally Fuller, the community lead for Springfield, Mass. wrote in to us to share the success they're seeing with their summer reading programs. 

    "Through the work of our summer leaning workgroup, we developed a city-wide summer reading project, aligned with the Springfield City Library’s Summer Reading Club, in which all participating programs – including the Springfield Public Schools’ summer school for rising 3rd graders – pledge to have all children read for 20 minutes every day. 

    This project represents a great partnership within the city’s summer learning community and it was totally the idea of the summer learning workgroup participants!

    We are tallying the # of minutes read by all participating children and so far, in the first three weeks of summer learning programing, there have been 11,129 20-minute reading sessions done by 9 programs (the SPS summer school is considered one program) for a total of 222,580 minutes read.


    Program aims to keep students reading at grade level in the summer – July 25, 2017

    Springfield students rack up the summer reading minutes, as part of program to increase literacy – July 25, 2017

    Molly-Goren Watts. our data partner from the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, will keep the tally going and we will be announcing the minutes read across the city once more during the summer and then at the end. 

    Please watch the WWLP segment and see the young camper so articulate about  summer reading. And check out the photos from, as Dave Roback captured to joy of the event!!"

    Read more…
  • When Is it Ever About the Money?

    A blog post written by Mae Hong, one of the featured panelists at the More Than Money Philanthropy panel at the 2017 Funder Huddle.
    Read more…
  • Appy today to be a presenter at the Beyond School Hours XXI National Education Conference
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  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation invites you to the second in a series of webinars exploring what it takes to implement a two-generation approach 3 p.m. EDT on July 6 . This session will focus on operational elements, including structure, family intake, the alignment of adult and child services and perhaps one of the most crucial components, the teams that get these initiatives off the ground. 

    We will share lessons drawn from the experiences of several organizations across the country that are helping parents and children succeed together. Representatives from two of these groups — the Community Action Project of Tulsa County and the Educational Alliance — will discuss the strategies they are using to effectively operationalize a two-generation approach with the families they serve. 

    Please note the registration password (in bold) below.

    Topic: Advancing Two-Generation Approaches: Developing an Infrastructure to Help Parents and Children Succeed 
    Date and Time:
    Thursday, July 6, 2017 3:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)

    Registration password: Two-gen

    To register for the online event
    1. Go to
    2. Click "Register".
    3. On the registration form, enter your information and then click "Submit".

    Once the host approves your registration, you will receive a confirmation email message with instructions on how to join the event.

    Need help? Contact Alexandra Roose at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

    Read more…
  • Communications Expo Top Honors Announced

    The interest in the inaugural Communications Expo was astounding! We received over 150 submissions from across the country, showcasing everyone's best communication materials. Many thanks again to every Community that participated. Check out the list below for the top three awardees for each category. We also invite you to take a look at the Communications Expo Gallery which showcases all the finalists' entries from each category.

    Excellence in Communications Awardees (awardees are listed in alphabetical order):

    Awareness Campaign
    Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
    NC Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
    ROC The Future

    Media Partnership:
    Ames Reads
    AR Kids Read (AR-Pulaski)
    Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

    Media Story
    Moonshot Moment of Indian River County
    Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
    Turn the Page KC

    Read by 4th
    Reading Success by 4th Grade
    Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

    Print Collateral
    Get Georgia Reading Campaign
    Learn to Earn Dayton
    Turn the Page KC

    Ames Reads
    Turn the Page KC

    Get Georgia Reading Campaign
    Oregon's Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
    Turn the Page KC

    Read by 4th
    Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
    Wake Up and Read

    Social Media
    Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
    Ready by 4th
    Turn the Page KC

    Read more…
  • New Supporting Parent Success Report Released

    The GLR Campaign has just released a new report showing, with research, how parents really are the secret sauce.
    Read more…
  • ThePreschool Development Grant department at has published a report brief that examines braiding, blending, and layering funding streams as possible strategies for supporting and sustaining high quality preschool programs. 

    The brief includes interviews across three states with school district administrators, a Head Start director, and the director of a child care program illustrate how some leaders at the local level combine available funds to offer families the programming they need for their children.

    Sustaining quality inclusive early childhood programs for children from families with lower incomes is a concern for all state and local administrators, including the administrators of the Preschool Development Grant (PDG). States have used PDG funds to expand access and enhance the quality of their subgrantees’ preschool programs. As the PDG program enters Year Three of a four-year grant, integratinging available funding streams may be one of the strategies these states and their local subgrantees use to sustain the PDG work following the end of federal funding.

    The strategies of braiding, blending and layering federal, state and local funding streams to provide more comprehensive, inclusive early learning programs for young children and their families are not new. States and local communities have used these strategies for some time now. The goal of the brief is to increase awareness of these strategies, add some new funding streams (i.e., PDG funds) to the mix for consideration, and profile how local administrators are making it work in their contexts.

    Read more…
  • Federal Register has recently published two notices from the Department of Education regarding Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) Programs.

    The first is a notice inviting applications for new awards for Fiscal year 2017.
    The applications became available on May 16 and the deadline is July 17. 

    Purpose of Program: The Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) Program awards competitive grants to advance literacy skills, including pre-literacy skills, reading, and writing, for children from birth through grade 12, with an emphasis on disadvantaged children, including children living in poverty, English learners, and children with disabilities.

    The second is a notice announcing priorities, requirements, definitions and selection criteria under the SRCL program.  

    Purpose of this Regulatory Action: The Department will make competitive grant awards under the SRCL program to eligible SEAs for the purpose of advancing literacy skills, including pre-literacy skills, reading, and writing, for children from birth through grade 12, with an emphasis on disadvantaged children, including children living in poverty, English learners, and children with disabilities.

    Follow the above links to gain great insight in to the application process and the selection criteria under the SRCL program. 

    Read more…
  • "School isn’t the same as it used to be. The experiences parents remember are far different from the experiences their children are having. The resources and challenges are different, too. The CLASS Coalition, spearheaded by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, has created a Parent Toolkit that empowers LAUSD parents and caregivers with the questions, checklists and info they need to be the biggest advocates for their children’s education."

    While we don't all live in sunny LA, there's important information in this toolkit for everyone across California and the country. It provides information and instructions on topics such as:

    • How to make your voice heard when schools are deciding where to apportion monetary support.
    • Who to speak to in a given situation. E.g., principals, superintendents, and school boards

    The toolkit also offers some sample questions, depending on a child's age, to help you get the ball rolling when planning a meeting with teachers, principals, etc. There's also a glossary of terms which you might find helpful. 

    If you live in Los Angeles, this is a "must have" toolkit. If you live outside of Los Angeles, this toolkit offers some great insights and might inspire you to build a toolkit for your city!

    Read more…