Foundation 65 to provide $275,000 in literacy and arts funding – 9/19/17

During the 2017-18 school year, Foundation 65 will provide $275,000 in grants to support literacy and arts initiatives that will impact every school within District 65. Working directly with District 65 and community organizations to bring innovative programming to all kids in all schools, the Foundation has provided nearly $2.5 million in programmatic support since 2008.

Foundation 65 is investing heavily in K-1 literacy support through Roots of Evanston ACHievement Project (REACH).  The goal of REACH is to provide improved literacy instruction for kindergarteners and to increase student achievement for all K/1 students.  Through coaching, professional development, interventions and outreach to early childhood educators, REACH focuses on basic literacy skills to ensure that all students get a strong start in kindergarten and beyond.  Every kindergartener and 1st grader in the district will benefit from this innovative initiative.

In addition, Foundation 65 will continue its support of key programs that boost literacy and counter summer reading loss, such as the Summer Reading Program and MSX (MetaMedia Summer Experience), a program for rising sixth graders created in partnership with McGaw YMCA’s MetaMedia that gives students an opportunity to develop and brand their own inventions and present them before a panel of judges.

Other programs for which Foundation 65 will continue to provide support in 2017-18:

Evanston Speaks: Youth Poetry Project – This 3-year program will help create an “all Evanston slam” program that addresses the rising interest among middle school students in the poetry slam movement, creating opportunities for students to write, share and perform their poetry for their community, friends and peers. This is an expansion of a pilot at Chute Middle School that Foundation 65 helped fund in recent years.

Kindergarten Literacy Education at Play (Kindergarten LEAP) – Developed in response to the idea that play is a vital component to early learning, this program was developed by the LEAP team at the Evanston Public Library.  Through innovative play scenarios that take place during library time at school, Kindergarten LEAP supports early literacy skill building and community and social interaction.  All kindergarten families are invited to attend a “play date” at the Evanston Public library as part of this program.

Kindergarten Library Tours – This partnership with the Evanston Public Library provides funding for all District 65 kindergarteners to visit the Evanston Public Library and get a library card.  This program gives emergent readers the opportunity to be introduced to the Library’s Children’s Room and includes a parent incentive piece to invite families to return to the Library following the school visits.

Responsive Grants – Foundation 65 is pleased to provide support up to $3,000 for each of the following one-year projects, many of which have an arts-focused curriculum:

  • Art & Adventure with Open Studio Project at Lincoln Elementary
  • Commissioned Work for Honors Orchestra Based on Dystopian Themes with Musical Offering at Chute Middle School
  • Student Matinee & Workshop Series with Mudlark Theater Co. at Haven Middle School
  • Maintaining Oakton’s Rain Garden with LakeDance at Oakton Elementary
  • Responsive Art: Learning by Doing with Art Encounter at Park School