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AARP Foundation Announces Grant Awards That Will Help Grow Student Reading Success

Seven Community-Based Organizations Selected to Receive Funds through the Social Innovation Fund

CONTACT:
Charlotte Castillo, 202-434-2560, media@aarp.org, @AARPMedia

Washington, DC – AARP Foundation, a grantee of the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), has awarded generous four-year grants to seven organizations to help grow Experience Corps, the evidence based AARP Foundation literacy program that improves the reading skills of children, enriches the lives of volunteer tutors, and strengthens schools in local communities.

Almost 70 percent of students in the U.S.—about 6.6 million children—are unable to read proficiently by fourth grade. AARP Foundation Experience Corps matches volunteers age 50 and over with students in kindergarten through third grade to help them improve their reading skills. The program offers both 1:1 volunteer and small group tutoring assistance, which is the focus of the Social Innovation Fund grant.

The seven subgrantees will work closely with AARP Foundation and an independent evaluator to investigate the expansion of small group tutoring (three to four children) and small group plus classroom-wide assistance models with the goal of accelerating literacy achievement not just among the organization receiving subgrants but also among volunteer literacy tutoring programs across the country.

“Improving children’s early literacy can drive academic success, unlock opportunity and provide a pathway out of poverty,” said AARP Foundation president Lisa Marsh Ryerson. “With these subgrants, we build on the success of Experience Corps’ intergenerational model and help many more children to thrive.”

In August 2015, AARP Foundation received $3 million from SIF, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering and service programs. The SIF fosters public and private collaborations to evaluate and grow innovative community-based solutions that work. In just five years, the SIF and its private-sector partners have invested more than $876 million dollars in compelling community solutions. As a result of $295 million in federal grants and more than $581 million in non-federal match commitments, the SIF has made grants to 39 institutions and 353 nonprofits working in 40 states and the District of Columbia.

These subgrant awards are the result of an open competition held by AARP Foundation to identify and select promising organizations in high need communities to implement and rigorously evaluate the Experience Corps model.

 “Experience Corps’ proven track record of matching older adults as 1:1 volunteer reading tutors with children in grades K-3 is not only working but the results are most impressive. The Social Innovation Fund is eager to provide funding to this cutting-edge intergenerational model that is potentially increasing the number of children being served and expanding this volunteer delivery system to include smaller reading groups. We are looking forward to building a dynamic program with AARP Foundation that supports these efforts while creating new opportunities for people 50+ to be engaged in their communities,”  said Damian Thorman, Director of the Social Innovation Fund. 

The Social Innovation Fund requires that each federal dollar granted be matched dollar for dollar by intermediary grantees and again by the organizations they select to receive grants. Therefore, this federal grant will leverage approximately $6 million in private funds.

The Experience Corps Social Innovation Fund subgrantees include:

  • Aspiranet – San Francisco, CA
  • The Children’s Initiative, San Diego, CA
  • Generation Inc., Boston, MA
  • Read to Succeed Buffalo
  • Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center
  • United Way California Capital Region, Sacramento, CA
  • United Way Central Georgia, Macon, Georgia

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About AARP Foundation
AARP Foundation is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. By coordinating responses to these issues on all four fronts at once, and supporting them with vigorous legal advocacy, the Foundation serves the unique needs of those 50+ while working with local organizations nationwide to reach more people, strengthen communities, work more efficiently and make resources go further. AARP Foundation is AARP’s affiliated charity. Learn more at www.aarpfoundation.org.

About the Social Innovation Fund

The Social Innovation Fund is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.

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