Target® announced its plans to donate more than $500 million by the end of 2015 to support education, doubling its support to-date, for a total of more than $1 billion. The financial commitment is part of Target’s new reading initiative, Target Read With Me(SM), aimed at helping more U.S. children read proficiently by the end of third grade. As part of the initiative, Target also announced a reading pledge, a donation of up to 2 million books to kids in need, and plans for an innovative reading center that will reach communities across the country through a physical and virtual presence.
According to the most recent available data, one in four kids in the U.S. did not graduate from high school. The odds were even worse for African-American and Hispanic students, nearly 40 percent of whom did not receive a diploma.(1) “When more than a million students a year fail to graduate with their class, it’s more than a problem, it’s a catastrophe,” said Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) and founding chair of America’s Promise Alliance. “Our economic and national security are at risk when we fail to educate the leaders and the workforce of the future. No single organization or entity can solve this issue on its own. We have a responsibility to unite across sectors to address this crisis because we cannot afford to let our kids fail.”
Research proves that reading proficiently by the end of third grade is a significant milestone on the path to graduation.(2) This is when children make the transition from learning to read to reading to learn. By launching the Target Read With Me initiative and increasing its focus on helping more U.S. children read proficiently by the end of third grade, Target hopes to bring greater awareness to the education crisis in America, reinforce the important role reading plays in shaping a child’s future, and provide access to the tools and resources needed to help kids beat these odds and stay on the path to graduation.
Target will invite the public to get involved in its reading initiative through a variety of channels, including encouraging parents to commit to a regular reading schedule with a child, increasing the access to books by donating 1 million books and through their virtual reading centers.