United Way of Central Ohio is pleased to share that the State of Ohio approved funding in its 2024-2025 budget that will help a collaborative of Ohio United Ways advance strategies to improve early literacy and family stability. Gov. Mike DeWine has made improving childhood literacy a priority and has urged agencies across the state to find ways to address the issue.
A collaborative of six United Ways formed early in 2023 to share and implement strategies, and seek funding that will move the needle on literacy achievement throughout the central Ohio region. These United Ways include United Way of Central Ohio; United Way of Union County; United Way of Delaware County; United Way of Clark; Champaign & Madison Counties; United Way of Muskingum, Perry & Morgan Counties; and United Way of Fairfield County.
United Way of Central Ohio will manage the distribution of the State’s $3.6 million allocation to the United Ways in the collaborative and will ensure accountability and impact. Collectively, the six United Ways will be able to serve an additional 25,000 children and their families, with all results focused on literacy gains.
United Way of Central Ohio’s portion of the funding will help expand the reach of its Success by Third Grade movement, which launched in 2022 to improve reading proficiency through family stability.
With these state dollars, Success by Third Grade will be able to help more school districts address the root causes of non-academic barriers that impact learning in order to place more children on a pathway to success by the time they leave third grade.
“Before third grade, students are learning to read, but by third grade, they are reading to learn. It is a fundamental shift that can predict a student’s ongoing academic success or failure,” said Lisa Courtice, President and CEO of United Way of Central Ohio. “State funding allows us to expedite our ability to help more students reach milestones critical to their success and to the collective future of Ohio.”
Student success is not the responsibility of school districts alone. It takes community support to address the needs of children and their families, which makes this investment so critical. Currently, Success by Third Grade supports seven school districts in Franklin County.