***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***Initiative awards grants between $500 and $5,000 to individuals who are striving to ensure that all Oakland kids can read at grade level
OAKLAND, CA (September 8, 2020) — Today, Educate78 and Energy Convertors, two Oakland-based nonprofits that are dedicated to improving the Town’s public education system, launched The People’s Literacy Fund. The new pilot program will award grants between $500 and $5,000 to members of the community who are helping Oakland students learn during distance learning. Educate78 and Energy Convertors are both committed to finding and funding solutions that serve children who live in poverty and were not reading at grade level even before the pandemic.
Fewer than 30% of Black and Brown students in Oakland can read at grade level — an issue that has impacted the Town for decades and impeded generations of Oaklanders from succeeding academically. The People’s Literacy Fund was founded to confront this challenge in the context of a global pandemic (COVID-19) and the consequences of long-standing structural racism. The program will provide financial support to individuals from affected communities who have come up with creative solutions to solve Oakland’s literacy crisis, so that all children can read at grade level, stay on track with their education, and reach their full potential.
“Our community is our best asset, and we know that families in Oakland have creative ideas to help their children succeed,” said Maribel Gonzalez, the Director of Community Partnerships and Policy at Educate78. “We want to support these ideas so that kids in every neighborhood across our city can read at grade level and end the literacy crisis once and for all.”
“Oakland is my home and during these tough times, we need to come together,” said Charles Cole III, the founder of Energy Convertors. “Parents and families have always found ways to be resilient. Even when I lived in four different shelters, my family was innovative. We should always learn from our community, and it is my hope that these mini-grants will help multiple families reach their full potential. A $2,000 grant would’ve done wonders for my family during those tough times. 54th and Gaskill, North Oakland raised me, so this is my way of paying it forward.”
Applications are open to anyone who lives in Oakland or addressing the learning needs of children who live in Oakland. Students are also welcome to apply. Applicants can submit their written or video proposal online by visiting www.educate78.org/peoples-literacy-fund. There is no hard deadline for submissions.
For more information, please visit www.educate78.org/peoples-literacy-fund.