Nashville, Tennessee (September 28, 2020) – PENCIL, Nashville’s premier organization linking community resources to Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), has been awarded a $75,000 Youth Literacy Grant from Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The grant will support PENCIL’s Reading Partners Program in grades K-4.
“Seventy-two percent of Metro third-grade students are not reading at grade level. Twenty-two percent of students in MNPS are English learners. The value of the Reading Partner Program is unmatched. The time commitment from community volunteers helps these children to grow their reading skills to be on grade level with their peers,” says Director of Schools, Dr. Adrienne Battle.
Vulnerable student groups face even more challenges, with 75% of low-income students not reading on grade level. PENCIL’s Reading Partners program was created to help close the reading achievement gap in Nashville. Specifically, grant funds will be used in at least 7 elementary schools identified as high-priority by MNPS. In these schools, PENCIL will facilitate one-on-one mentoring between trained volunteers and MNPS students identified as needing support from their classroom teachers.
PENCIL President & CEO, Angie Adams, shares, “Our friends at Dollar General Literacy Foundation continually come to the table with new ways to support PENCIL and the students of MNPS. As long-time PENCIL Partners, we value their hands-on relationship in school buildings, regular presence at PENCIL cultivation events, and desire to grow their investment in long-lasting and meaningful ways.”
In addition to these 7 priority schools, PENCIL supports 1:1 literacy mentoring of students in several other elementary schools across the city. Dollar General Literacy Foundation has supported PENCIL’s literacy initiatives for many years and this year is an especially meaningful award because of the shifting needs of MNPS during the COVID-19 pandemic. PENCIL has pivoted to serve students in the most needed and effective ways possible while return to school is changing. PENCIL will work closely with MNPS leadership and is prepared to support virtual engagement between volunteers and students given the challenges of COVID-19.
Founded in 1982, PENCIL (www.pencilforschools.org) links community resources to Metro Nashville Public Schools to help young people achieve academic success and prepare for life. PENCIL’s work is guided by the needs of MNPS, is student-centric, and is achieved through partnerships and tangible engagements. PENCIL envisions a world where access and opportunities are equitable for all students to have a successful future.
About the Dollar General Literacy Foundation
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is proud to support initiatives that help others improve their lives through literacy and education. Since 1993, the Foundation has awarded more than $186 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 12 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency. Each year, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation provides financial support to schools, nonprofit organizations and libraries within a 20-mile radius of Dollar General stores and distribution centers. To learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation or apply for a literacy grant, visit www.dgliteracy.org.
About Dollar General Corporation
Dollar General Corporation has been delivering value to shoppers for more than 80 years through its mission of Serving Others. Dollar General helps shoppers Save time. Save money. Every day!® by offering products that are frequently used and replenished, such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, basic apparel, housewares and seasonal items at everyday low prices in convenient neighborhood locations. Dollar General operated 16,720 stores in 46 states as of July 31, 2020. In addition to high-quality private brands, Dollar General sells products from America’s most-trusted manufacturers such as Clorox, Energizer, Procter & Gamble, Hanes, Coca-Cola, Mars, Unilever, Nestle, Kimberly-Clark, Kellogg’s, General Mills, and PepsiCo. Learn more about Dollar General at www.dollargeneral.com.