New local grant cycle to support grade level reading emphasis

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Carroll County Community Foundation, the local affiliate of the Arkansas Community Foundation, has announced a new, two-year grant initiative to support programs in Carroll County that work to increase literacy and reading proficiency in pre-school to third-grade students. This new Grade-Level Reading Grant cycle will open for online application on April 18 and close May 18. The focus for this first year will be supporting our public school system.

“Research shows that from kindergarten to third grade, students are ‘learning to read,’ but that by third grade children transition to ‘reading to learn.’ If children cannot read at a proficient level by third grade, they can quickly fall behind,” said Carroll County Community Foundation Executive Director Janell Robertson.

Only 37 percent of Arkansas third-graders achieved “proficient” reading scores on the ACT Aspire standardized test during the 2016-2017 school year. Third-grade reading levels are a critical predictor of later success in school and the workforce.

That’s why the Community Foundation is partnering with the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading ( to focus grant dollars on projects aimed at increasing early literacy skills.

Their research notes five issues which can affect a student’s reading proficiency: 1) parent and community engagement, 2) school readiness, 3) classroom instruction, 4) chronic absence prevention and intervention, or 5) summer learning loss prevention. Grant proposals should aim to address one or more of these five focus areas.

To encourage county-wide community support, Carroll County Community Foundation has announced that all tax-deductible contributions made to this local Foundation from now until May 20, 2018, will be included in the Grade Level Reading Grant total – adding immediate support for our local students.

Equity Bank has provided the first charitable contribution and encourages others to build upon their support.

“This initiative is so very important to our students, for their future success,” said Deretha Walker, president of Equity Bank Berryville. “I encourage all area banks and businesses to find money in their budgets to donate to this cause.” 

To donate online, go to and choose “Carroll County Giving Tree Fund” in the dropdown menu. Or, mail your donations to: Carroll County Community Foundation, 149 Huntsville Road Suite C, Eureka Springs, AR  72632.

 “To think that 63 percent of Arkansas students cannot read proficiently by third grade is unacceptable,” Robertson added. “Now is the time to work together to ensure that every Carroll County student is a proficient reader by the end of third grade. By offering these grants and the donations received, we hope to support our local schools’ efforts as they address this important issue.”

 For more information about Grade-Level Reading grants or contributions, please contact Carroll County Community Foundation at or call 479-253-8203.

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