I have been very fortunate to be part of the WakeEd Partnership over the past seven years, first as a volunteer and now as a member of the board.
Providing opportunities in education is a true passion of mine as well as our partners and staff at PwC. In the past year, PwC Carolinas partners and staff donated over 5,000 service hours towards youth education and over one million dollars to support local schools and organizations focused on key community issues such as education. It was our privilege to provide a $40,000 grant to WakeEd from the PwC Charitable Foundation earlier this year to help increase the focus on early childhood literacy, a critical need in our community
In 2013, 43% of third graders in Wake County were not reading at grade level. Studies show that this is a critical time for a child because third grade is the time when he or she moves from learning to read, to reading to learn. A child not reading at grade level by this time is less likely to perform in math, science and humanities. They are four times more likely to drop out of school; if the child comes from an economically disadvantaged home, this likelihood increases to six times.
PwC, like WakeEd, believes it is every member of the community’s responsibility to see that our children receive the tools and support they need to succeed in school. The money donated by the PwC Foundation specifically helped further WakeEd’s current early childhood literacy efforts, including its partnership with the WAKE Up and Read annual book drive where over 115,000 books were collected. The grant also helped support the Ready to Read Playdate held on April 30 and this weekend’s Letterland event at Pullen Park. By creating a framework for the community to get involved in literacy development, WakeEd and PwC have served as catalysts to connect community resources with our schools.
The staff and partners at PwC also know that writing a check doesn’t completely solve the issue which is why we have also donated our time to supporting this effort. Specifically over the past few months, we supported the Wake Up and Read program by helping sort books during the book drive, volunteering at the Marbles event, and we will be distributing books to area elementary schools throughout the months of May and June.
PwC has a deep commitment to the Triangle area, supporting our clients and the community. We know by coming together, we can help increase the number of children reading at grade level by third grade. We look forward to continuing our partnership with WakeEd to achieve this goal and making Wake County an even greater place for us all to work and live.
Jason Lemons is the Client Relationship Executive of PwC US