Tuscaloosa Bicentennial Commission donates $190,000 to child literacy program

Elementary School Library

By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Kyrsten Eller

The Tuscaloosa Bicentennial Commission has donated $190,000 to the Tuscaloosa Education Foundation, supporting the Reading Allies Tuscaloosa program. 

Commission Co-chair Tim Parker Jr. presented the check to TEF Board President Mark Sullivan.

“When we started our planning for the Bicentennial, we thought big and accomplished all of our goals with funds left to provide for a critical need in our community– teaching children to read by third grade,” said Parker. “We are excited to support the Tuscaloosa Education Foundation in this mission.”

Bicentennial Commission co-chair Dr. Cathy Randall said this will leave a positive impact on the community.

“The Tuscaloosa community was so enthusiastic about the Bicentennial celebration and so extraordinarily generous that we realized that there may be an opportunity to leave an additional lasting impact on the community by appropriating unused funds to a legacy project,” said Randall. “The Reading Allies Tuscaloosa program already was making huge differences in the lives of local students and thus was chosen as the beneficiary of whatever funds remained.” 

Reading Allies is a program focusing on improving literacy in first, second, and third grade students. 

As part of the TEF mission, the foundation has partnered with the University of Alabama System to expand the program to all elementary schools in Tuscaloosa that are in need.

The program will expand to five schools in the 2022-23 school year and serve all eight high-need Tuscaloosa City Elementary Schools in the 2023-2024 school year.

Bicentennial Commission Co-chair Harrison Taylor expressed his appreciation to all the volunteers they have. 

“I am so pleased to have been a part of the Tuscaloosa Bicentennial and am even more pleased to see how the remaining funds are being invested in our community’s children,” said Taylor. “I want to add my personal thanks to everyone involved in Reading Allies – the teachers, the children and their families and the dedicated volunteers who are at the heart of this great program. They are a blessing.” 

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