United Way of Central Georgia Receives $225,000 Grant from Peyton Anderson Foundation

June 24, 2015  – United Way of Central Georgia announced the receipt of a $225,000 challenge grant from The Peyton Anderson Foundation.  The grant will be used to expand United Way of Central Georgia’s Read2Succeed Initiative.  

“Today signals a major step forward in expanding our Read2Succeed initiative,” stated George McCanless, President and CEO of the United Way of Central Georgia.  The funds from this grant and the matching funds will allow us to expand efforts from our pilot site at Ingram Pye Elementary to nine more elementary schools during the upcoming school year.”

The United Way of Central Georgia’s Read2Succeed Initiative is an early childhood development and grade level reading initiative that focuses on making sure children are ready to start school and are reading at or above grade level when they finish third grade.  Grade level reading by the end of third grade is an important predictor of school success and high school graduation.

 “Making sure all students are able to read on grade level by third grade is a critical piece to our students’ improvement and their long-term success,” stated Dr. Curtis L. Jones, Superintendent of the Bibb County School District.  “Children learn to read until third grade, but by third grade they must be able to read in order to learn. This initiative by United Way of Central Georgia could be one of the most impactful partnerships for Bibb schools as we work to improve student achievement and the overall graduation rate.”

Although schools must be accountable for helping all children achieve, Read2Succeed is based on the belief that schools cannot succeed alone. Engaged communities mobilized to remove barriers, expand opportunities, and assist parents are needed to assure student success.

“We believe that the success of public education is among the highest priorities for assuring a strong, productive, and competitive future for our community,” stated Karen Lambert, President of The Peyton Anderson Foundation.

 “The performance of the students receiving case managed/reading tutorial at Ingram-Pye has far exceeded what would be expected of this at-risk population,” stated Taryn Collinsworth, Executive Director of Communities In Schools of Central Georgia (CIS).  “The promotion rate of students for 2012-2013 was 100% up from 95% the previous year. This year, the 15 Kindergarten, 12 first grade, and 12 second grade students that received individualized reading tutorial services by trained Mercer students were also promoted to the next grade.”

The success at Ingram Pye is a community effort that would not have been possible without the efforts of Communities In Schools and Mercer University.

“We are so proud of the 47 Mercer students who volunteered approximately 1,770 hours to tutor at Ingram Pye, and we are grateful to Communities In Schools (CIS) for being such a strong partner,” stated Hannah Vann, Coordinator for Community Engagement with Mercer University.  “Taryn and her staff at CIS go above and beyond every day to ensure their students are successful, and we could not ask for better training and support for our tutors as part of that process.  The numbers at Ingram Pye speak for themselves, and we are excited to continue partnering with United Way to support literacy for students at Ingram Pye.”  

“On behalf of the Board of Directors of United Way of Central Georgia we could not be more excited to receive this grant from the Peyton Anderson Foundation,” stated Bruce Leicht, Chairman of the Board for United Way of Central Georgia.  “I want to thank President Karen Lambert and the Foundation Board for their continued support of this vital education initiative.  Our board made the decision two years ago to become a community impact organization focused on education, and The Peyton Anderson Foundation’s support during this time has been critical in helping us build the framework for our initiative.  This grant will now allow us to expand those efforts to a total of ten schools and hundreds of children.  This is truly a watershed moment for our United Way.”

This is the 2nd largest grant that the Foundation has ever awarded United Way of Central Georgia, the largest being the grant that allowed for the construction of the Peyton Anderson Community Services Center.