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Great Learning - Strong Start, Strong Readers

Grants to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Organizations for
Literacy and School Readiness Programs for K-3 Children

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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William Penn Foundation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

07/26/19 - For requests over $82,500; requests under $82,500 are reviewed on an ongoing basis.


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Grants to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania organizations for literacy and school readiness programs for children ages 0-8. An Inquiry form must be submitted prior to the full proposal. Funding is intended to support early childhood education programming, K-3 literacy instruction, community advocacy, and family engagement on behalf of children from underserved populations.

Research shows that children’s earliest years—from birth to age eight—are critical for developing the social, emotional, and academic skills that lay the groundwork for later success in school and in life. To that end, the William Penn Foundation supports efforts to increase the percentage of children from low-income communities who enter school ready to learn and thrive, and who are proficient readers by the time they enter fourth grade. The Foundation's Strong Start, Strong Readers program seeks to increase and improve school readiness and literacy proficiency using the following six strategies:

- Engaged Families: Build opportunities for parents and caregivers to learn about the development of children age 0-8 and enact their role as first teachers.

- Literacy-Rich Environments: Create opportunities for children age 0-8 to engage in literacy-building activities outside of schools and centers.

- Quality Early Childhood Education Centers: Improve the quality of existing early learning programs, expand quality programs, and build systems that support quality.

- Strong K-3 Literacy Instruction: Support aligned and effective literacy practices in K-3 classrooms so that all students are on track to meet or exceed grade level proficiency by the end of third grade.

- Qualified Educators: Establish model programs that prepare early childhood through third grade educators to deliver high-quality instruction.

- Advocacy and Public Information: Build an engaged statewide constituency to advocate for the development and maintenance of policies that appropriately resource schools, centers, and programs.

(For detailed selection criteria and expected project outcomes for each of these focus areas, see URL for Full Text below.)

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 181239

Estimated Size of Grant:

It is Foundation policy not to fund more than 25% of an organization’s operating budget for more than three individual years in any given five-year period. (The Foundation may make exceptions on a case-by-case basis under limited circumstances, subject to approval by the board of directors.)

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The William Penn Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region.

Pre-Application Information:

The upcoming Inquiry form deadline is November 30, 2018.

The Foundation has a two-stage online application process which includes an initial inquiry and an invited full proposal.

Application Process:

- Step 1: Inquiry

Organizations that are new to the Foundation begin by creating an online account as part of the initial Inquiry Form. Three years of audited financial statements are required to be submitted with every Inquiry Form. Inquiries are accepted and reviewed on an ongoing basis. Once an inquiry is received, organizations are typically notified of next steps within 30 days.

- Step 2: Full Proposal

If an organization is invited to proceed to the second stage of the process and submit a full proposal, the following timeline is provided as a guide for when materials are due for consideration at a board meeting. Organizations are encouraged to submit their materials by these deadlines. Your program officer will let you know when materials need to be submitted for consideration at a particular board meeting.

- Inquiries Due: November 30, 2018
Proposals Due: January 18, 2019
Scheduled Board Review: April 26, 2019

- Inquiries Due: February 23, 2019
Proposals Due: April 5, 2019
Scheduled Board Review: July 19, 2019

- Inquiries Due: June 14, 2019
Proposals Due: July 26, 2019
Scheduled Board Review: November 1, 2019

Please Note: At this time, the link to our online Inquiry Form is under construction. In the interim, please email your ideas for funding the Foundation, or speak with someone on our program staff. If there is further interest from the Foundation, you will receive a direct link to complete the Inquiry Form.

Grants at or below $82,500 are not required to be considered at a board meeting, and thus do not follow the deadline schedules above. However all grants are reviewed and approved by Foundation board members. Your program officer can provide more information about the timing and process for these types of requests. They typically follow the same two-step process outlined above.

The Foundation will consider multiple applications from an organization, so long as total funding does not exceed the 25% threshold (see Estimated Size of Grant above).

For questions about the application process, please contact us via email. Our staff will make every effort to respond promptly.

The Foundation typically provides funding for projects rather than general operating support. However, direct costs can include funding for staff, materials, and other organizational costs associated with the project, and organizations are encouraged to include funding to support related indirect costs or overhead in the project budget.

For additional information on program funding areas:

How to Apply:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Elliot Weinbaum, Great Learning Program Director

William Penn Foundation
Two Logan Square, 11th Floor
100 North 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2757
(215) 988-1830

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Pennsylvania: Philadelphia