Wednesday, January 27, 2021, @ 12:00 - 1:00 pm
An Investigation into the
National & Suncoast
Campaigns for Grade-Level Reading
Ralph Smith, Managing Director for the
Beth Duda, Director
Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR)
for the Patterson Foundation
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An alarming number of children—about 67 percent nationwide and more than 80 percent of those from low-income families—are not proficient readers by the end of third grade. This has significant and long-term consequences not only for each of those children but for their communities, and for our nation as a whole. If left unchecked, this problem will undermine efforts to end intergenerational poverty, close the achievement gap, and reduce high school dropout rates. Far fewer of the next generation will be prepared to succeed in a global economy, participate in higher education, or enter military and civilian service.
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading was launched to reverse this potentially catastrophic trend by supporting common-sense solutions at the federal, state, and local levels.
Ralph Smith, Managing Director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, will share a national perspective of the crucial work happening in more than 350 communities across the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Canada.
Beth Duda, the Director of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, an award-winning initiative for Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties that is designed to explore new ways to deliver the support and resources children need to achieve reading proficiency early in life will share a regional perspective on the multi-sector work needed to give our children the success they deserve.
About Ralph Smith
Managing Director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading & Annie E. Casey Foundation Senior Vice President
Ralph Smith calls himself a “recovering law professor,” but he acknowledges that his background as a corporate and securities lawyer helped him to appreciate the role of markets and the private sector and the value of cross-sector collaboration.
Bringing together “unusual allies” and “unlikely champions” has been a hallmark of Smith’s work at Casey, from his leadership in supporting fathers in their critical role in children’s lives, to mobilizing communities to be change agents in improving outcomes for vulnerable children and families, to promoting reforms that help ex-offenders become productive citizens. “A significant part of my work involves finding that sliver of agreement between and among constituencies and growing that into common ground,” says Smith, who cultivates alliances around “common-sense” principles that diverse partners can embrace. In Making Connections, for example, the initiative’s unifying theme was that children do well when their families do well and families do better when they live in supportive communities.
As managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading since 2010, Smith has been forging consensus around ensuring that children reach the critical developmental milestone of reading on grade level by the end of third grade. “Focusing on helping the youngest children succeed in school was the logical next step to advance the Foundation’s two-generation strategy for attacking intergenerational poverty,” notes Smith, referring to
Casey’s efforts to help low-income parents succeed economically while improving access to high-quality early childhood learning opportunities to give their children a strong start.
The GLR Campaign is grounded in research highlighting the alarming number of children who are not reading proficiently by third grade and the long-term consequences for society. “If left unchecked, this problem will undermine efforts to end the cycle of poverty, close the achievement gap and reduce high
school dropout rates. Far fewer of the next generation will be prepared to succeed in the global economy as parents and as citizens,” Smith says.
Smith made his early mark in academia by teaching corporations and securities regulation at the University of Pennsylvania, but it was his years serving the Philadelphia School District as chief of staff and special counsel that helped him understand “the interplay between what was going on in schools and classrooms and what was going on in the lives of the children at home and in their communities,” he says. “Both were major contributors to the success or lack of success of young people.”
Working with Casey leadership to “put families at the center of the Foundation’s efforts to improve outcomes for disadvantaged kids” numbers among Smith’s proudest accomplishments at Casey. Another is “helping to build a culture where people are encouraged to take risks and to get personally
involved with the work.” “What crystallizes the moral imperative to act is the awareness and belief that actions can make a difference,” Smith says.
BOARD MEMBERSHIPS AND ADVISORY COMMITTEES
• Alliance for Early Success*
• Annenberg Institute for School Reform, Advisory Board Member
• Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change, Member
• Center for Urban Redevelopment Excellence at Penn (CUREx), Advisory Board
• Children’s Commission, The City of Philadelphia, Member
• Corporation for Public Broadcasting/National Public Radio Ready to Learn Initiative, Advisory Board*
• Council on Foundations, Board Chair
• Council on Foundations, Executive Committee, Finance and Investment Committee, and Committee on Family Foundations
• Education Funders Strategy Group, Member*
• Family Independence Initiative Commission, Commissioner
• The Foundation Center, Board
• International Network on Strategic Philanthropy (INSP), Member
• Lead Programs Executives, Member*
• LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., Board (Nominating & Governance Committee)
• Nobel Learning Communities Inc., Board (Nominating Committee)
• Philadelphia Children’s Investment Strategy, Oversight Committee
• Reading Recovery Council of North America (RRCNA), Board*
• Stoneleigh Parenting Roundtable, Participant
• Teaching First*
• Venture Philanthropy Partners, Board
• Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, Member*
*Current Boards and Committees
• “Is Philanthropic Independence in Danger? No.” A policy perspective. Insight (Fall 2010).
• “Nonprofits and Philanthropy: Scenario II.” An interview with Ralph Smith.
• Nonprofit Quarterly (November 2008).
• “Many Happy Returns: Philanthropy Reformers are Striving to Bring For-Profit Accountability to the Nonprofit Sector.” Worth (August 2004).
• “Muscular Philanthropy.” Education Week (February 11, 2004).
• “Building Better Foundations.” A senior executive of the Annie E. Casey Foundation discusses the contentious issues facing 21st-century philanthropy. McKinsey Quarterly (February 2004).
• Fred Rogers Leadership in Philanthropy Award, Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families, 2011
• Jane Addams Distinguished Leadership Award, United Neighborhood Centers of America, 2010
• Harvey Levin Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence, University of Pennsylvania School of Law
About Beth Duda
Director, Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) for the Patterson Foundation
Since 2015, Beth Duda has been one of the driving forces of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) is an initiative for Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties that is designed to explore new ways to deliver the support and resources children need to achieve reading proficiency early in life and build a strong foundation for future success. An award-winning playwright and educator, Beth's more than twenty years of experience working with students of all ages fuel her commitment to improving reading proficiency.
Beth is a member of the staff of The Patterson Foundation. The Patterson Foundation strengthens the efforts of people, organizations, and communities by focusing on issues that address mutual aspirations, foster wide participation, and encourage learning and sharing.
As the Director of SCGLR, Beth works closely with local lead partners to drive positive change. To embed lasting change, the future-focused partners strive to collaborate with every sector: business, government, nonprofits, media, and individuals.
Beth was raised in Central New York and received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from SUNY-Oswego.
Join us for a conversation with Ralph Smith & Beth Duda
on Wednesday, January 27, 2021
12:00 - 1:00 PM