Community Partners with United Way to Increase Literacy Opportunities for At-Risk Students

As part of a week of activities to kick off the 2012 United Way of Central Carolinas campaign, the organization announced several new partnerships on Thursday designed to increase reading among at-risk students served by United Way agencies involved in Collective Impact.

IKEA Charlotte has joined with United Way by providing furniture to create reading corners for several United Way funded agencies. First Book-Charlotte and Target are providing new books for children in these agencies from preschool to high school. The United Way Young Leaders donated new books and raised more than $500 to purchase books.

In their effort to give back to the community, IKEA Charlotte has committed to donate book shelves, rugs, carpets, pillows and other furniture that can be used to create comfortable areas in agencies where children can spend time reading. This week, furniture and accessories to design three reading spaces were donated. Furniture was placed this week at The Learning Collaborative, a United Way funded preschool program for at-risk students. Throughout the year, additional furniture for reading spaces will be donated.

First Book-Charlotte recently announced a grant to United Way for $7,500 for new children’s books. Target also granted $2,000 to purchase books for early learning. The nearly $10,000 received will be used to purchase books that will be given to agencies for their programs and to go home with children. In addition, as part of United Way’s PROJECT 1,000 to recruit, place, and train readers, tutors, and mentors in funded agencies, every volunteer will receive a selection of books to use with the student they will be supporting in the coming year.

“With our new Collective Impact model, United Way is focused on fewer goals with greater results,” stated Jane McIntyre, executive director of United Way of Central Carolinas. “We know that being on grade level in reading by third grade is a critical factor in a child graduating from high school on time and ready to continue their education or find meaningful employment. The donations and partnerships with IKEA-Charlotte, First Book Charlotte, Target, and the United Way Young Leaders will put books in the hands of children who generally don’t have access to new books at home. The gifts will also encourage reading in our Collective Impact agencies.”

About United Way of Central Carolinas
United Way of Central Carolinas focuses on three vital areas: Children & Youth; Housing & Stability; and Health & Mental Health. Through its 88 partner health and human services agencies, United Way creates long-lasting community change by addressing the underlying causes of problems, working in Anson, Cabarrus, Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Mooresville/Lake Norman and Union. To get help, or learn how you can help, call United Way’s 211 hotline, or for more details, please visit