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Literacy Grant Program

City National’s Reading is The way up® and Dollars + Sense grant programs let K-12 teachers fund classroom projects that aim to foster creativity and critical thinking in students.

Key Dates

Online applications are accepted October 1 through October 31 of each year. Awards are announced in January of the following year (recipients are notified by email). 

Use of Funds

Grants may be used to purchase books, videos, CDs, DVDs, computer software and hardware, and any other educational resources to be owned, used and distributed to a K-12 school located in one of the eligible counties listed below.

Grant checks will be made payable to the school and designated for the stated use in the application. Funds must be expended by December 31 and projects must be completed by the end of the following school year.

"The books purchased for the middle and high schools were the only new releases the schools received both this year and last. The two grants spurred 50 LA teen authors to donate visits to 25 schools to discuss those very books with hundreds of students."

Carol Tanzman
National Board Certified Teacher

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants may apply for grants of up to $1,000. Applicants may not apply for multiple grants and cannot be involved with multiple teams.

Please note the following requirements:

  • The school principal or administrator must understand and fully support the project, as evidenced by signing the statement of support on the application form and final grant agreement.
  • Project goals and learning objectives are clearly defined and tied to students' academic needs. The expected impact on student performance is described for all participants.
  • If a field trip is involved, well-planned pre- and post-trip activities are connected to classroom learning objectives.
  • Teachers, librarians, school media specialists and administrators may apply if they work full-time at K-12 schools in the following places:


Alameda County
Contra Costa County
Los Angeles County
Orange County
Riverside County
San Bernardino County
San Diego County
San Francisco County
San Mateo County
Santa Barbara County
Santa Clara County
Ventura County


Miami-Dade County


DeKalb County
Fulton County


Hennepin County


Carson City County
Clark County
Douglas County
Washoe County

New York

Nassau County
New York County (Manhattan)
Suffolk County


Davidson County


Fairfax County

Washington, D.C.

District of Columbia

Reporting Requirements

Final reports are not required but are encouraged. We would like to hear about students' accomplishments and how grants were implemented.

Submit the report via email to

"I am very grateful for the literacy grant program that was provided to me and my students this past school year. The funding received from City National Bank took my program to another level."

Kirk Stanley
Teacher, Long Beach, CA

Program Recognitions

  • Received the 2013 Innovations in Reading Prize Award presented by the National Book Foundation.
  • Received the 2013 Outstanding Corporation of the Year Award presented by the Clark County School District-Community Partnership Program in Las Vegas, NV.
  • Received the 2013 Angel Light Foundation Award for excellence in community service and educational outreach, presented by Angel Light Academy in Orange County, CA.
  • Recognized by the Los Angeles City Council in June 2009 for efforts to promote literacy in the city of Los Angeles.
  • Acknowledged by the City Council of Los Angeles with an official proclamation initiated by Council member Tom La Bonge in appreciation for City National's support of local schools.
  • In 2007, honored as the Corporate Visionary Partner by The Wonder of Reading.
  • In 2006, received the Corporate Award from the Getty House Foundation and the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Corporate Citizen Award.
  • Received the 2005 President's Volunteer Service Award, and the 2005 Corporate Philanthropy Award from the Los Angeles Public Library.

Past Grant Recipients

City National Bank has always supported communities. Browse the documents below to see the communities that this program has contributed to in the past.

"In the past, my classroom library consisted of a meager collection of books that my students would dutifully read but had no interest in. With the books I purchased using the funds from the grant, I have turned our bookshelves into the magical wonderland that they're supposed to be."

Eric Slay
Teacher, Anaheim, CA