Cummins Leadership Foundation


Cummins Leadership Foundation (CLF) Impacts Schools Across State Lines with the RIF Books for Ownership Matching Grant Program

Date: August 2019

Location: Monrovia, MD

Cummins Leadership Foundation has been very busy since receiving RIF’s Books for Ownership matching grant in March 2019. As an awardee, Cummins Leadership Foundation was able to purchase books to support their Smart Start Literacy Initiative in Franklin County, Virginia. Franklin County is extremely rural and is filled with miles of cornfields and dairy farms. Eight of the twelve elementary schools receive Title 1 funding and literacy rates of third graders range between 30%-60%, with economically challenged children having much lower literacy rates.

CLF donated 1,000 books to all new students (over 900 PreK and Kindergarten) in Franklin County Public Schools for the 2019-2020 school year. Each of the 12 elementary schools in the school system held super hero-themed book selection parties the second week of school and each student was given the opportunity to select one book of their very own to take home and keep! One school turned their book selection party into a STEAM activity with a "big reveal" of all their book selections at the conclusion. Others had local "celebrity" readers attend the book parties and read a handful of books to the children. Students were thrilled with having a diverse selection of books as it allowed them to select books that reminded them of themselves, which is important in engaging a student's curiosity for reading. 

Lessons Learned:

  • Engage your local community. In this case, CFL and Franklin County Public Schools invited local celebrities and local news (The Franklin News Post and WSLS) to participate in their events.
  • Adding a craft activity during your book celebration event is the perfect way to increase excitement and engagement with volunteers and children.

Incorporating themes to a Book Celebration event(s) can help engage the children and the community. The Franklin County Public School not only brought in special guest, they also created a super hero theme to help get the children eager to read.