At United Way, we’re working to end intergenerational poverty—and fighting for youth success is a critical strategy in empowering more families, for this generation and the next.
As a proud member of Philadelphia’s Read by 4th coalition, we know that lasting change results from a unified approach, and it is why we are thrilled to bring new champions for youth success to the table: Chris Long, defensive end for the world champion Philadelphia Eagles, and his wife Megan.
In partnership with our United Way and in support of Philadelphia’s Read By 4th Campaign, The Chris Long Foundation is launching the “First Quarter for Literacy” drive. Through The Chris Long Foundation, Chris and Megan Long are investing a quarter of his 2018 salary in launching the drive to increase early literacy among young children.
This nine-week initiative will have local and national components. In Philadelphia, Chris and his wife Megan will distribute more than 25,000 books for children in underserved neighborhoods to build at-home libraries, as well as fund the creation of six Chris Long Book Nooks to serve as neighborhood-based reading areas for families. Fans will also be encouraged to make donations to provide even more books to local children via the website FirstQuarterForLiteracy.org. All books distributed through the drive will include a bookplate with tips for parents on reading habits and developmental milestones. Other Eagles and players from other teams will be invited to get involved in their own cities, and the Longs will match their local investments to bring needed literacy resources into communities around the country.
This work is vital to our communities—in Philadelphia, almost two-thirds of children entered the fourth grade unable to read at grade level at the start of the 2016-2017 school year. The Longs chose to focus their education philanthropy this season on reading, specifically by fourth grade, to address the documented connection between fourth grade reading proficiency to long-term academic success and high school graduation.
We invite you to join the season-long “First Quarter for Literacy” drive by engaging with us on social media at @PhillySJUnited to share easy, teachable moments for parents and caregivers to use that can have profound effects on reading and learning. You can also get involved and support the “First Quarter for Literacy” drive by visiting FirstQuarterForLiteracy.org for top reading tips, ways to donate, and more.
Together, with valuable cause champions like Chris and Megan and committed partners like Read by 4th, we can ensure more children in our communities are ready to tackle skills that not only promote a lifelong love of learning, but also set them on paths to succeed—in and out of the classroom.