CHARLOTTE, NC – Read Charlotte has for the first time issued a request for proposals (RFP) for data services to learn about the early language and literacy development of children from birth to five years in Mecklenburg County. This will be the first competitive grant made from Read Charlotte’s Trans-formation Fund.

“Unfortunately, information is available for only about 5% of the roughly 85,000 children from birth to five years in Mecklenburg County,” said Executive Director Munro Richardson. “In order to target our efforts and evaluate the impact of our work, we need more data about the development of children in this age group.”Today, over half of third graders in Charlotte-Mecklenburg are not reading at grade level. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 39% of fourth graders in 2015 in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools could read proficiently. (Read Charlotte uses the NAEP fourth grade reading assessment as its proxy of third grade reading proficiency.)

“These third graders come from every single school, neighborhood and income level in our community,” said Richardson. “To achieve our goal of doubling the number of third graders reading on grade level by 2025, understanding the language and literacy development of children in Mecklenburg from birth through third grade is vital. It requires information on how children are progressing in language development, from their earliest years through third grade.”

Read Charlotte seeks proposals from qualified applicants to assess language and literacy development of a representative sample of approximately 1,100 children (six months to five years) in Mecklenburg County in fall 2017. Responses are due by 5 p.m. on May 19, 2017.

Read Charlotte established the Transformation Fund to support initiatives to help existing organizations be more innovative, collaborative or data-driven; and/or seed new programs to meet crucial gaps or needs along the birth through third grade continuum.The Transformation Fund only provides grants that align closely with the Read Charlotte mission and strategic plan. The organization makes a limited number of grants from the fund using a combination of negotiated and competitive grants.

When Read Charlotte launched in 2015, funders committed a total of $500,000 a year to the Transformation Fund. To date, Read Charlotte has committed up to about $253,000 total through negotiated grants.Applicant organizations may include for profit or nonprofit (with a 501c3 tax designation), as well as qualified governmental, educational or religious organizations.

The Transformation Fund is not designed as the single source for ear-ly literacy funding. Read Charlotte will also strive to advise area funders on strategic co-funding opportunities.For more information on the birth-to-five data RFP, CICK HERE.

Read Charlotte is a collaborative, community-wide initiative to double the percentage of third grade students reading at grade level from 40% in 2015 to 80% by 2025. Housed under the Foundation For The Carolinas, Read Charlotte is organized as a back-bone organization lead-ing a collective impact effort across Mecklenburg County. Focusing on the continuum from birth through third grade, Read Charlotte builds collaborative partner-ships and provides re-sources on proven practices and/or programs. Read Charlotte plays a leadership role but does not directly operate the programs. Work-ing groups comprised of experts and community members have helped to select strategies, identify community indicators and define a strategic plan that will guide Read Charlotte’s work through 2025. For more information, visit www.readchar-lotte.org.

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