The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy is pleased to announce that it has received a grant of $200,000 from the Ford Foundation to support its vital, ongoing work to build a more equitable America through literacy. The grant is part of the Ford Foundation’s historic response to the impact of COVID-19 on the nonprofit sector, aimed to help strengthen and sustain key, mission-critical social justice organizations.
Today, 130 million Americans – 54% of adults between the ages of 16 and 74 years old – lack proficiency in literacy, essentially reading below the equivalent of a sixth-grade level. Low literacy prevents millions of adults from fully engaging in society as parents, workers and citizens, lying at the core of multigenerational cycles of poverty, poor health and low educational attainment. Nationwide, low-literate adults struggle to earn a living wage, participate in the democratic process, and manage their family’s health and finances simply because they lack the ability to read, write and comprehend – issues that have been compounded by the current global pandemic and economic uncertainties.
“Literacy is imperative – perhaps never more so than now, as Americans face the challenges of protecting their families from COVID-19, supporting their children’s educational needs and staying afloat in today’s increasingly knowledge-based economy,” said British A. Robinson, president and CEO of the Barbara Bush Foundation. “We are honored by the Ford Foundation’s endorsement of our mission, and we applaud its dedication to supporting our nation’s nonprofits throughout this crisis so that we can continue to offer hope and help to millions of families at a time when they need it the most.”
In June, the Ford Foundation announced its unprecedented initiative to increase grantmaking for nonprofits by $1 billion in response to COVID-19. Under the leadership of president Darren Walker, the Foundation aims to fortify and strengthen key organizations that are advancing the fight against inequality at a time when communities who are most vulnerable have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Offering multi-year, general operating support to these organizations will help build resilience, durability and sustainability now and in the future.
“The Ford Foundation is thrilled to support the Barbara Bush Foundation’s incredible and vital mission,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “It is more important than ever to ensure literacy is thriving and that all Americans have the necessary tools to educate and inspire themselves.”
This grant will support the Barbara Bush Foundation’s ongoing work to address our nation’s literacy crisis through evidence-based programming, innovative, technology-based solutions, and groundbreaking research. The Foundation was established by former first lady Barbara Bush during her time in the White House, and is now led by her daughter, Doro Bush Koch, who serves as honorary chair.
“My mother chose literacy as her life’s work because she believed that it is the key to a life of equity, prosperity and dignity for all Americans,” said Koch. “We are grateful to Mr. Walker and the Ford Foundation for their support and partnership, which will help us unlock the doors of opportunity for families and communities throughout the country – ultimately creating meaningful, lasting change and a brighter future for all of us.”