Hot Springs Area Community Foundation will start accepting applications from local organizations for early literacy grants, formerly known as Grade Level Reading, and Youth Advisory Council grants.
Both grant cycles will run simultaneously, but have different criteria and are selected by different committees, according to a news release. Organizations can apply from Feb. 16 to March 31.
Early literacy grant applicants should "focus on projects/programs in Garland or Montgomery County that work to ensure more children are kindergarten-ready in language and literacy by connecting them to age-appropriate literacy development resources from birth to age 4. In addition, proposals focusing on increasing the number of preschoolers exposed to phonics by working with child care centers to implement pre-K phonemic awareness curriculum and/or parent and community engagement will receive strong consideration," the release said.
In 2018, the Hot Springs Area Community Foundation board became involved with the statewide Grade Level Initiative to address the nationwide problem of "third graders not being able to read at a third grade reading level."
"However, within a few years the statewide spectrum was broadened to focus more on early literacy, as the original initiative proved that literacy challenges for youth begin at a much earlier age and must be addressed sooner," the release said.
The HSACF board has awarded 25 grants, totaling $162,672, since the grant program started, specifically addressing literacy challenges in local public schools, several church day care programs, educational cooperatives, Imagination Library of the Ouachitas and ChildCare Aware of West Central Arkansas.
Proposals must be submitted by March 31 to:
Eligible nonprofits and organizations should sign in to their account, click the Apply button, then enter the Access Code Literacy 24 at the top of the page to find the Early Literacy application. Grants will range from $2,500 to $10,000 and be awarded in early May 2024.
The Hot Springs Youth Advisory Council, now under the umbrella of Leadership Hot Springs, will accept applications for programs or activities that support children and youths in Garland County. Grantees are chosen by youth council members who attend Garland County school districts. Grants range from $100 to $2,000 and will be awarded in May 2024.
Beginning Feb. 16 through March 31, applicants can apply by visiting:
Click on the red "Click here to apply" link to find the application.
"YAC meets monthly to learn the art of philanthropy. The grants are funded from the student's own YAC endowment fund in addition to money raised at their annual reception, attended by parents, grandparents, and faithful donors. The reception allows the young philanthropists to explain their organization's mission, purpose and grantmaking procedures and collect contributions," the release said.
"In the spring of 2023, YAC awarded $12,831 in grants to 11 area nonprofits for program supplies, books, therapeutic games, and dance costumes, etc. The group plans to award a similar number of grants again this year. Since 2002, YAC has awarded over $191,950 in grants to area children and youth programs," it said.
Call Joyce Whitfield, executive director, at 501-372-1007, or email [email protected] for more information.