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Reading Is Fundamental Honors 25 Programs for ‘Linking Up for Literacy’ with Community Partners

Washington, April 16, 2008—Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) today announced the recipients of the third annual RIF Program Excellence Honors 2008, sponsored by MetLife Foundation. The 25 honored programs and their volunteers will be recognized by RIF during a celebration in Washington, D.C., June 16–18, for successfully partnering with outside organizations to advance children’s literacy in their communities.

“RIF commends these programs and their community partners for helping children and their families discover the joy of reading,” said Carol H. Rasco, RIF president and CEO. “Thanks to MetLife’s generous support, RIF can showcase the work of these great programs and share their best practices with other communities.” 

The 25 outstanding programs were selected from a pool of approximately 3,500 RIF programs nationwide. Partners include public schools, Indian reservations, sororities, fraternities, libraries, television stations, corporations, and law firms, among others. Children in these programs benefit from having reading role models that included NBA players, teen tutors, and grandparents.

"We are pleased to join RIF in honoring outstanding local programs," said Sibyl Jacobson, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. "As they spread the love of reading, they are changing lives, building community and sharing important lessons from their success."

The partnerships vary in length from three to 29 years. For example, the Holland & Knight law firm has partnered with RIF for 12 years, expanding their relationship from Washington, D.C., to sites in Chicago, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Portland, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Tallahassee, New York, Northern Virginia, and West Palm Beach. “RIF events draw volunteers from the law firm into the lives of underprivileged children throughout the country, creating excitement around literacy and learning,” said Angela Ruth, executive director of Holland & Knight LLP Charitable Foundation.

During a three-day celebration in Washington, honorees will be recognized at an awards ceremony, and participate in workshops and information sessions. They will also visit with congressional representatives to discuss the impact of RIF programs in their community.

RIF Program Excellence Honors 2008:

RIF Program, Partner Group, Location

Hopkins House Center, Northern Virginia Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Alexandria, Va.
Community Action Head Start Program, Western KY University, Bowling Green, Ky.
MS Band of Choctaw Indians Head Start , Mississippi Band of Choctaw, Indians  Choctaw, Miss.
Woodrow Wilson Magnet School, Writers' Block International, Danville, Va.
Drop In Library – RCPL, Cooperative Extension Service, Eden, N.C.
Lansing School District, Riverwalk Theatre, Lansing, Mich.
RIF of Lockhart, Alpha Psi Beta Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, Lockhart, Texas
Red Mtn. HS Club RIF, Salk Elementary School, Mesa, Ariz.
Phillis Wheatley Elementary School, Council of Small Business Executives, Milwaukee, Wis.
PACT Head Start, Beta Phi Pi Fraternity at WIU, Mt. Sterling, Ill.
RIF Nashville, Book'em, Nashville, Tenn.
Orange Children & Parents Together, Orange Public Library, Orange, Calif.
SIEDA Head Start, Iowa Public Television, Ottumwa, Iowa
Holiday Park School, Phoenix Suns, Phoenix, Ariz.
Reading Is FUNdamental Pittsburgh, Children's Museum of Pittsburgh  Pittsburgh, Pa.
Volunteers In Providence Schools, Local branches of national corporations, Providence, R.I.
Ripley RIF  Ripley Women's Club  Ripley, Ohio
Salt Lake Community Action Head Start  KUED Public Television  Salt Lake City, Utah
Salazar Partnership, Salazar Partnership (local foundation), Santa Fe, N.M. 
Page Ahead, The Boeing Company, Seattle, Wash.
Franklin Grande Isle Early Childhood Adv. Council, Franklin County Early Childhood Programs, Swanton, Vt. 
Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation, Head Start and Public Schools,  Multistate
Reach Out and Read of Northwest Ohio, Ohio Help Me Grow, Toledo, Ohio
Libraries, Ltd., Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Tucson, Ariz.
Verona R-7, Missouri Gas Energy, Verona, Mo.

Best practices from these 25 programs will be added to an interactive web-based Portfolio of Excellence that includes narratives and pictures from past winners, and is available on RIF.org.

Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), founded in 1966, motivates children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF’s highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provides 4.6 million children with 15 million new, free books and literacy resources each year. For more information and to access reading resources, visit RIF’s website at www.rif.org.

Discover the Joy!

MetLife Foundation supports education, health, civic and cultural programs throughout the United States. In education, it emphasizes initiatives that develop the leadership of teachers and principals, and strengthen school and community relationships. The Foundation’s grantmaking is informed by findings from the annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher. For more information visit www.metlife.org.

Layla Wright-Contreras,
Media Relations Manager


Reading Is Fundamental Honors 25 Programs for ‘Linking Up for Literacy’ with Community Partners