The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation has selected 20 high-needs schools nationally to receive an annual Literacy Fund grant for the next three years. Since 2004, the Foundation has made a difference to over 29,000 students at schools nationally who have purchased nearly 900,000 books through the grant program.
The grants are vital now that some annual library budgets are as low as $2.81 per child – the equivalent of less than 1/3 of a book per student each year. Canadians can’t get a cappuccino for what many Canadian provinces invest annually in books per student in some public schools and yet, with only a one per cent increase in literacy rates studies show we can add more than $18 billion to the Canadian economy, according to a Stats Canada study done on June 22, 2004 (Coulombe & Tremblay and Marchand, Department of Economics, University of Ottawa).
Recognizing the importance of investing in the futures of Canada’s children, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation continues to respond to this funding challenge through the Literacy Fund grants. Based on the student population, each new Indigo Love of Reading Foundation Literacy grant recipient school will receive up to $176,000 over three years to help support literacy programs, purchase new books and dramatically improve literacy rates. Through the Literacy Fund grants, schools will be able to increase their literacy budgets to an average of $76 per child per year.
“My heart breaks for Canada’s public school children who are left uninspired by libraries with empty shelves or books that are decades old,” said Heather Reisman, Chair of the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation. “This is a special time of year for Love of Reading when we are able to help educators end Canada’s literacy crisis. Through the Literacy Fund we know we’ll be transforming the libraries and lives of students at another 20 schools.”
Ms. Reisman advised the recipients via conference call amid joyful tears and whoops of excitement. “You’ve just changed the lives of the children we serve every day,” exclaimed Principal Jill Maar, Armadale Public School, Markham, ON, where the literacy team persevered to receive funding after their third grant application attempt.
This year’s 20 new schools receiving Literacy Fund grants from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation clearly demonstrated a passion and commitment to literacy as an important part of their curriculum, as well as a clear need to update their libraries to help them achieve their literacy goals. Recipient schools include:
- Abbotsford Middle School, Abbotsford ($115,000)
- Tomsett Elementary, Richmond ($49,500)
- Lord Selkirk, Vancouver ($139,000)
- Thunderbird Elementary, Vancouver ($70,000)
- Barons School, Barons ($28,000)
- Penbrooke Meadows Elementary, Calgary ($53,000)
- St. Maria Goretti Catholic School, Edmonton ($53,000)
- Connaught Community School, North Battleford ($50,000)
- King George Community School, Saskatoon ($35,000)
- Dufferin School, Winnipeg ($53,000)
- Sister MacNamara, Winnipeg ($105,000)
- Armadale Public School, Markham ($176,000)
- Dunrankin Drive Public, Mississauga ($118,000)
- First Nations School of Toronto, Toronto ($20,000)
- Queen Victoria Public, Toronto ($174,000)
- Eastwood Public, Windsor ($80,000)
- Verdun Elementary, Verdun ($64,000)
- Mountain View Elementary, Irishtown ($26,500)
- Acreman Elementary, Green’s Harbour ($19,000)
- Evangeline Middle School, New Minas ($77,000)
Indigo Books & Music Inc. founded the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation in 2004 to address the underfunding of public schools, their libraries and the resulting literacy crisis. Every year the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation commits $1.5 million to high-needs elementary schools so they can rebuild their libraries with the purchase of new books and education resources. To date the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation has committed more than $10.5 million to 110 schools nationally.