The Challenge

Only 70% of Sarasota County’s third graders are reading at grade-level.

Reading proficiency by third grade is a crucial predictor of high school graduation and career success; yet, only 70% of Sarasota County’s third graders are reading at grade level – most of whom come from vulnerable families. At Sarasota’s twelve Title 1 elementary schools, only 50% of third grade students are reading on grade level. While these statistics expose pressing issues impacting our community, these challenges, if left unaddressed, impede progress being made towards breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty, reducing the achievement gap between students, and reducing high school dropout rates across our communities.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading arose as a call to action to reverse these trends and mobilize communities at the federal, state, and local levels to expand opportunities and remove barriers that impact a child’s ability to realize their full potential. The Campaign recognizes that effective collaboration among individuals, nonprofits, government agencies, and local foundations is critical for achieving and sustaining gains in grade-level reading proficiency.

Effective collaboration is critical for achieving and sustaining gains in grade-level reading proficiency.

Our Role in the Solution

In 2014, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County prepared the Community Solutions Action Plan for Sarasota and was accepted into the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

Our work incorporates a two-generation approach, working with both children and parents living with low-incomes simultaneously to ensure families have the necessary support and encouragement to be successful. We focus on the attendance zones for four Title 1 schools with students who have the most opportunity to improve their reading success —Alta Vista Elementary School, Emma E. Booker Elementary School, Gocio Elementary School, and Tuttle Elementary School — with a concentrated effort to combat summer learning loss and improve school readiness.

Girl beginning to write

Summer Learning 

Discover how Summer Learning Academies help not only prevent summer learning loss, but also close the achievement gap. 

Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR)

In April 2015, a collection of local foundations, nonprofit partners, and government agencies throughout Sarasota and Manatee County came together to form a shared regional vision, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

As one of more than 390 campaigns nationwide, our region’s four-county effort strives to change the trajectory for our region’s most vulnerable families through five solution areas proven to ensure early childhood success:

  • School Readiness
  • Attendance
  • Summer Learning
  • Family Engagement
  • Health Determinants

Learn more about the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. 

Stories of Impact


Our four-county region has been recognized locally and nationally for its collective achievements in summer learning, mental health, and parent education. Notable milestones include:


2015 2016

Community Foundation of Sarasota County was named a Pacesetter Community


Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading was honored with an All-America Cities Award and three Communications Expo Awards

2017 2018

Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading was named a Pacesetter Community

In 2019, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has received multiple Pacesetter Honors and was one of only 21 communities recognized for its work in the areas of "Mobilizing Success" and "Deploying Innovative Strategies and Tools."


For more information on ways to donate, contact us at 941-955-3000 or

Is your organization doing work to support grade-level reading proficiency or are you interested in learning more?

Get Involved:

Kirsten Russell 

Vice President, Community Impact