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Every 1 Reads Gets Million-Dollar Boost

Thursday February 8, 2007

Every 1 Reads Receives Million-Dollar Gift from the James Graham Brown Foundation

The Every 1 Reads initiative received a major financial boost today with a $1 million gift from the James Graham Brown Foundation. Representatives from Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville Metro Government, and Greater Louisville Inc. joined the students Everyone Readsand staff of Camp Taylor Elementary School to celebrate the announcement. The 2006–07 school year marks the third year of implementation for Every 1 Reads, one of the country’s most innovative reading initiatives with the goal of ensuring that every JCPS student is reading at or above grade level by 2008.

Mason Rummel, executive director of the Brown Foundation, says the grant is an exception to the Foundation’s giving priorities. “The Foundation generally supports only higher education, but Every 1 Reads is an important community effort to improve education in Jefferson County. It is an ambitious project that will help produce high levels of achievement among all students.”

Every 1 Reads depends upon financial support from businesses and the community with an $8 million fundraising goal. To date $7.3 million has been raised. The school district has matched the community commitment. Mayor Abramson issued a challenge for others to model the Brown Foundation’s leadership. “Better-educated students are critical to the future success and growth of our entire community,” Abramson said. “As parents, business leaders, and volunteers, we all must play a role in helping our community and our youth achieve this goal.”

According to GLI President Joe Reagan, “Every 1 Reads will produce long-term economic benefits for our whole community by making our schools our most effective economic development program. We're proud and honored to have the Brown Foundation as a major partner and deeply appreciate their $1 million gift.” The number of novice level readers has decreased from 17,000 to approximately 11,700 since the program began in 2004. “Thanks to the generosity of the Brown Foundation, we are one step closer to making the Every 1 Reads dream a reality,” said Superintendent Stephen Daeschner. “With the support of the public and private sectors, I believe we have the best chance of helping every JCPS student become a successful reader.”

A major component of Every 1 Reads is the mentoring, tutoring, and volunteering that occurs with struggling students readers. Currently, 6,400 of the 10,000 needed volunteers have been trained and volunteer 30 minutes each week to read with their assigned student. More than 27 community- and faith-based organizations now offer after-school programming to JCPS students in support of the Every 1 Reads initiative.