Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Announces Bright Spot Communities During COVID-19 Pandemic

Rochester Recognized For Work In Supporting Early School Success

ROCHESTER, NEW YORK (MAY 17, 2021) – The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading announced that it is naming ROCHESTER as a 2021 Bright Spot community for its responses to the COVID crisis last year.

Specifically, CLGR is highlighting communities that developed exemplary or innovative responses to the COVID crisis, including new or adaptive roles, programs, organizational relationships/collaborations, policies and/or resources. In particular, the Campaign is recognizing communities for crafting solutions that seem especially effective, replication-worthy and/or deserving of being sustained during the post-COVID period.

A collaborative effort by funders, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship, CGLR focuses on promoting early school success as an important building block of more hopeful futures for children in economically challenged families and communities.

“This recognition is testament to the power of collaboration and a community-wide commitment to families, as our partners and funders pivoted with us to provide a very different summer program focused on the needs expressed by parents and students dealing with major changes and challenges related to the pandemic,” said summerLEAP CEO, Luis A. Perez.

With the City of Rochester community-based early childhood partner sites closed for months, and the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on the normalcy of life, our summer 2020 Family Support Initiative (FSI) focused on providing personal and material connections to the family unit. Personal connections were facilitated by the Home Visit model featuring weekly face-to-face contact and the “Power of Family” front porch portraits. Material connections were driven by the summerLEAP into Kindergarten component designed to address kindergarten readiness – and included the summerLEAP PLAY@HOME KIT, and weekly summerLEAP SCIENCE@HOME KITS. Each week families received a basic needs gift card and program social workers provided much needed social-emotional support to parents and students alike.

The summer 2021 Family Support Initiative was made possible by nine community-based early childhood education centers who leveraged their strong family ties to help us recruit the student participants. ROC the Future, the Central Library of Rochester, and the local WXXI affiliate provided reading and at-home activity materials that were delivered directly to the families. Employing a diversified funding model, financial supporters included the: United Way of Greater Rochester, ESL Charitable Foundation, Rochester Area Community Foundation, The Konar Foundation, Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation, Brighter Days Foundation, M & T Bank, and a grant from the NY Upstate Revitalization Initiative / Pathways to Prosperity fund. A myriad of individuals and smaller family funds rounded-out our financial partners.


About the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Launched in 2010, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort of funders, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that many more children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. Since its launch, CGLR has grown to include more than 300 communities, representing 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and two provinces in Canada — with 5,000+ local organizations and 510 state and local funders (including 200+ United Ways). To learn more, visit and follow the movement on Twitter @readingby3rd.

About ROC the Future

ROC the Future is an alliance of leading Rochester-area institutions and community partners that promotes alignment and focuses community resources to improve the academic achievement of Rochester’s children. We are a member of the StriveTogether cradle to career network, a national movement impacting the lives of 13.7 million youth and counting. To learn more about our work, visit and join the conversation at and