Organization Mobilizes Community and Education Leaders in DeSoto, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota Counties to Cultivate Action Plan
SARASOTA, Fla. (November 7, 2014) – United Way Suncoast is convening a summit on Monday, November 10 around improving early literacy in the Suncoast region. The Early Literacy Summit will bring together educational stakeholders and community leaders from more than 65 organizations in DeSoto, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota counties. The day’s goal is to establish priorities and organizational commitments to participate in the development and implementation of a community-wide plan to make programmatic and systematic changes that will help Suncoast-area children. Chief among those efforts will be a focus on teacher and provider supports, parent engagement, mentoring and tutoring, and any structural or systemic barriers that hinder a child’s progress.
“Collectively, this will be a gathering of some of the most impactful and respected leaders in our community, all of them with a vested interest in education,” said Suzanne McCormick, United Way Suncoast’s CEO. “By utilizing the collective impact model of working together with community partners to combine and align efforts in addition to an agreed-upon set of goals and priorities, the potential for creating real, lasting change in our communities increases exponentially.”
Following the day-long summit, attendees will break into project teams to build community action plans for each impact area. The plans will be shared with community and business leaders at a second event planned for mid-2015. The Early Literacy Summit series is supported by the PNC Foundation and United Way Suncoast.
“The beauty of this summit and the work that will take place following it, is that each organization will embrace a community goal and work together over the coming months to build a community plan that leverages each organization’s strengths and resources,” said Katie Knight, United Way Suncoast’s Sarasota area president. “The Sarasota area is fortunate to have so many individuals and organizations invested in improving early literacy and this summit is an ideal forum to bring these collective interests together.”
About United Way Suncoast
United Way Suncoast staff, volunteers and trusted community partners serve DeSoto, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota counties by developing, enhancing and implementing services and programs to help create a stronger, more vibrant community. United Way Suncoast is changing the community’s story by helping to break the cycle of generational poverty through educational programs that give children the skills to succeed and help adults achieve long-term financial stability, as well as provide support services to those who need it most. Launched in 2014, United Way Suncoast’s Early Literacy Initiative (ELI) was born from the understanding that if a child is unable to read at grade level by 4th grade, that child is likely to experience the negative effects his or her entire life. The Early Literacy Summit series is one step in achieving the collective impact goals of the plan. For more information about United Way Suncoast, please call 941.366.2686 (Sarasota office) or 813.274.0933 (Tampa office), or visit www.unitedwaysuncoast.org. To find Suncoast-area volunteer opportunities, visit www.volunteersuncoast.org.