Campaign for Grade-Level Reading


The Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy (the Alliance) partners with the Mississippi Campaign for Grade-Level Reading to plan and implement community-based initiatives designed to improve reading skills among the state’s youngest children.

Work to bring the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading began in 2016 when members of the Mississippi Association of Grantmakers (MAG), one of the Alliance’s primary organizers, recognized the need to address the ability of Mississippi’s children to be able to read at proficient levels by the time they complete the third grade.

The Alliance’s members worked with the Mississippi Department of Education and the Center for Excellence in Literacy Instruction at the University of Mississippi to design and implement the Mississippi Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.  A statewide Advisory Board was established, and MAG members worked with this Board and other partners to implement the program.

To participate in the Mississippi Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a local community must:

Grants to Support Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

To provide support for communities to complete this process, several Alliance members – the Phil Hardin Foundation, the Barksdale Reading Institute, the Molpus Foundation, the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the W. E. Walker Foundation, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi Corporation, and the ChemFirst/First Mississippi Corporation Charitable Endowment of the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson – have pooled resources to create a Small Grants Fund that supports planning and implementation activities that allow communities to become part of the statewide campaign.  The Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy manages this Small Grants Fund.

This grants fund may provide a one-time grant of up to $5,000 to local communities which have submitted a Letter of Intent to the GLR program to s

upport planning and development of their required Community Solutions Action Plan (CSAP).  It may also provide up to $22,500 over a three-year period ($10,000 in year one, $7,500 in year two, $5,000 in year three) to assist local communities with approved CSAPs in implementing their proposed GLR activities.

Local communities that wish to apply for grant funds from the Alliance for the planning or implementation of Grade-Level Reading activities must coordinate their application with the Mississippi Campaign for Grade-Level Reading office.  Contact Angela Rutherford, Director of the Mississippi Campaign, at or 662-915-7625, for assistance with the Campaign’s process and the application forms.

The full application packet consists of:

National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

The national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states, and communities across the nation to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. The Campaign focuses on an important predictor of school success and high school graduation—grade-level reading by the end of third grade.

The Campaign is based on the belief that schools cannot succeed alone and that engaged communities mobilized to remove barriers, expand opportunities, and assist parents in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities to serve as full partners in the success of their children are needed to assure student success.

The Campaign works to solve the issues of (1) children that begin school already far behind in reading proficiency (the readiness gap), (2) children who miss too many days of school (attendance gap), and (3) children who lose ground in reading proficiency during the months out of school (the summer slide).

Core strategies of the Campaign include the beliefs that (1) parents are the first teachers and most important advocates for their children, (2) learning begins at birth and healthy development greatly impacts children’s ability to learn, and (3) that collaborative work at the state level is required to help assure a seamless system of care, services, and supports from birth through third grade.

Mississippi Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

The Mississippi Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a network comprised of local civic leaders, parents, philanthropists, school officials, policymakers, researchers, healthcare providers, business leaders, and community organizations who are leading community-driven efforts to address major barriers to third-grade reading proficiency – school readiness, chronic absence, and summer learning loss – especially for low-income families.

The Mississippi Campaign supports parents, schools, and communities working together to ensure that Mississippi children will read on grade level by the end of third grade.

As of July 2019, eight community coalitions in Mississippi are recognized by the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and are mobilizing local stakeholders to implement community-based solutions for local grade-level reading challenges:

If you are interested in joining the Mississippi Campaign for Gravel-Level Reading, please Contact Angela Rutherford, Director of the Mississippi Campaign, at or 662-915-7625. Support and technical assistance will be provided before, during, and after the application process.