GreenLight, partners infuse $4.6M to support pre-K literacy

An innovative public-private partnership between GreenLight Fund Cincinnati and The Literacy Lab has secured $4.6 million in funding to help combat educational inequality among Cincinnati’s youngest students. The program will train more than 100 young men of color to be paid literacy tutors in pre-K classrooms over the next five years.

The funds will allow national nonprofit The Literacy Lab to expand its Leading Men Fellowship program to Greater Cincinnati. The program recruits, trains and places men ages 18-24 to provide evidence-based literacy support.

GreenLight conducted a rigorous, yearlong effort to identify an initiative with a proven track record of accelerating student achievement and increasing educator workforce diversity. 

GreenLight executive director
GreenLight Executive Director Clare Blankemeyer

“By recruiting young men of color to support kindergarten readiness, the Fellowship brings critically needed representation into the educator workforce,” said Clare Zlatic Blankemeyer, GreenLight executive director. “Research shows that Black students from low-income communities are significantly more likely to attend college when they have been taught by at least one Black educator.”

Each Fellow is paid $15 per hour, receives a monthly transportation stipend, a uniform, and a $2,500 scholarship.

The Literacy Lab will start recruiting to place 20 Fellows at the start of the 2022-23 school year in preschools with the greatest needs, including in Cincinnati Public Schools. The program will grow to 130 Fellows over the next five years, aiming to improve kindergarten readiness among 2,500 children.

A robust, multiyear funding model will help sustain Leading Men Fellowship. 

The Ohio General Assembly approved, and Gov. Mike DeWine signed, a bill that appropriates $3 million for the Leading Men Fellowship in Greater Cincinnati.

GreenLight is providing start-up technical assistance, local coalition building and $600,000 in early-stage funding.

Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. Foundation awarded The Literacy Lab $500,000 as part of a multiyear investment for Leading Men Fellowship in Cincinnati.

The expansion is also supported by Accelerate Great Schools and the Gladys and Ralph Lazarus Education Fund at Greater Cincinnati Foundation. 

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