The School District of Philadelphia
Office of Communications
440 N. Broad Street, Suite 301~Philadelphia, PA 19130-4015~(215)400-4040

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Lee Whack
215-313-8849



12/19/2016

PHILADELPHIA 2016 HOST COMMITTEE DONATES $750,000 TO THE FUND FOR THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA TO FURTHER EARLY LITERACY

The Donation will Fund the District’s Right Books Campaign and Bring Nearly 80,000 New Books to 150 Classrooms Across the City

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention today announced that it is donating $750,000 to the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia. The donation will be used to advance The Right Books Campaign, an initiative of The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, and will enable the School District to purchase nearly 80,000 new books for 150 Kindergarten-3rd grade classrooms across the city as part of a massive effort to bring Philadelphia’s young students to grade-level reading by the time they begin 4th grade. The Host Committee’s donation will close the gap to approximately $1 million between the funds raised for this campaign and the total amount needed to fully fund the program. The announcement was made at the James R. Ludlow Elementary School in Olde Kensington.

“Thanks to our successful fundraising efforts, we are thrilled to be able to make this donation to The Fund for the School District, knowing that it will have a lasting impact on Philadelphia students for years to come,” said former governor and Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee Chair Ed Rendell. “The School District was a great partner to us during the Convention, and we hope that this contribution will not only help improve literacy throughout our schools but will also help more children become enthusiastic about civic engagement.”

“This is a great day for students in the School District of Philadelphia.  This $750,000 donation from the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee will have a direct and long lasting impact on increasing early literacy among our youngest students,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia. “By the end of the next school year, all core K-3 classrooms in the city will have a leveled classroom library with the right books to succeed. Research shows that getting the right books in the right hands at the right time can have a huge impact on a student’s likelihood to graduate and their life long learning process.”

“Throughout our planning efforts, the Host Committee was committed to having a positive impact on the Philadelphia community, partnering with a number of local organizations -- including the School District -- to offer initiatives that allowed Philadelphians to be a part of and benefit from the Convention,” said former Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee Executive Director Kevin Washo. “Our donation to the Fund for the School District is a continuation of that commitment and will allow the Host Committee to touch even more lives. We could not think of a better recipient of these dollars than Philadelphia’s school children.”

This contribution is not the first donation the Host Committee has made to the School District. Earlier this fall, the Host Committee donated supplies and equipment to the School District, including:

  • Over 550 pieces of tech equipment, such as laptops, desktops, iPhones and iPads, the total value of which is more than $400,000. 
  • Remaining office supplies -- hundreds of items valued at several thousand dollars -- from the Host Committee’s headquarters donated to the School District and other community organizations, including boxes of copy paper, binders, staplers, scissors, pencils, pens, folding tables and chairs.  
The Right Books Campaign was launched in November 2015 with the goal of raising $3.5 million to place specialized libraries with highly trained early literacy specialists in every K-3rd grade public school classroom within The School District of Philadelphia.  With this donation from the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee, The Fund is now just $700,000 away from reaching that goal.

To ensure all Philadelphia students reach grade-level literacy by the time they are in 4th grade, the School District is providing K-3 classrooms with teachers who will be specially-trained in literacy according to the grade that they teach as well as specially-curated leveled reading libraries along with literacy specialists for each school.

The Right Books Campaign was initiated by The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia to support the District’s Anchor Goal 2 for every student to read at grade level by 4th grade.  Through the Right Books Campaign, a total of 300,000 books have been placed in 1,209 classrooms across 93 elementary schools within the District. In addition, 1,161 teachers have been trained in literacy, impacting the lives of 29,400 K-3 students across the District.

Sheldon Bonovitz, Chairman of the Board of the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, said, “Together with the School District, The Fund is thrilled to accept this most generous contribution from the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee. This gift moves us closer to our fundraising goal and supports the success of children who are able to experience the joy of reading great books.  We are exceptionally grateful to the Host Committee and one of our favorite Philadelphia champions, former governor Ed Rendell, for helping our children advance in school through reading.”

Mayor Jim Kenney said, “When Philadelphia won the bid for the DNC, we were committed to ensuring it was an event that would benefit the entire city, in one form or another. The Host Committee shared that vision and were incredible partners throughout the whole process. Beginning with the Youth News team, Broad Street Beautification, and engaging The Arc of Philadelphia, to, now, ending with this contribution to our public schools, I cannot thank them enough.”

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