Local United Way Receives Grant From AARP Foundation To Grow Student Reading Success

News Release

March 30, 2016 – AARP Foundation, a grantee of the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), has awarded a generous four-year grant to United Way California Capital Region to help grow Experience Corps, the evidence based AARP Foundation literacy program that improves the reading skills of children, enriches the lives of volunteer tutors, and strengthens schools in local communities.

Almost 70 percent of students in the U.S.—about 6.6 million children—are unable to read proficiently by fourth grade. AARP Foundation Experience Corps matches volunteers age 50 and up with students in kindergarten through third grade to help them improve their reading skills. The program offers both 1:1 and small group tutoring assistance.

United Way California Capital Region will work closely with AARP Foundation and an independent evaluator to investigate the expansion of small group tutoring and small group plus classroom-wide assistance models to accelerate literacy achievement.

            “We know that improving children’s early literacy has a direct impact on their success in higher education, and we know that higher education is the equalizer that breaks the cycle of poverty,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “This subgrant will allow us to build on the success of Experience Corps’ intergenerational model and help many more children grow up prepared for success.”

In August 2015, AARP Foundation received $3 million from SIF, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering and service programs. The SIF fosters public and private collaborations to evaluate and grow innovative community-based solutions that work. In just five years, the SIF and its private-sector partners have invested more than $876 million dollars in compelling community solutions. As a result of $295 million in federal grants and more than $581 million in non-federal match commitments, the SIF has made grants to 39 institutions and 353 nonprofits working in 40 states and the District of Columbia.

This subgrant award is the result of an open competition held by AARP Foundation to identify and select promising organizations in high need communities to implement and rigorously evaluate the Experience Corps model.

 “Experience Corps’ proven track record of matching older adults as 1:1 volunteer reading tutors with children in grades K-3 is not only working but the results are most impressive. The Social Innovation Fund is eager to provide funding to this cutting-edge intergenerational model that is potentially increasing the number of children being served and expanding this volunteer delivery system to include smaller reading groups. We are looking forward to building a dynamic program with AARP Foundation that supports these efforts while creating new opportunities for people 50+ to be engaged in their communities,”  said Damian Thorman, director of the Social Innovation Fund. 

The Social Innovation Fund requires that each federal dollar granted be matched dollar for dollar by intermediary grantees and again by the organizations they select to receive grants. Other subgrantees include Aspiranet in San Francisco, The Children’s Initiative in San Diego, Generation Inc. in Boston, Read to Succeed Buffalo, Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center and United Way Central Georgia.

For more than 90 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought people together to meet pressing needs in the Sacramento region and has changed the lives of hundreds of children, families and adults. Now United Way is mobilizing nonprofits, companies, schools, government and individuals across the region, state and country to make a collective impact in the areas of education, financial stability and health in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. To donate or volunteer, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

AARP Foundation is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. By coordinating responses to these issues on all four fronts at once, and supporting them with vigorous legal advocacy, the Foundation serves the unique needs of those 50+ while working with local organizations nationwide to reach more people, strengthen communities, work more efficiently and make resources go further. AARP Foundation is AARP’s affiliated charity. Learn more at www.aarpfoundation.org.

The Social Innovation Fund is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.