Awarded 1.6 million dollars to elementary, middle and high schools for creative literacy projects, reached clos to 1,000,000 students, reached close to 1,000,000 books donated California, Nevada, New York, Nashville, Atlanta, Washington, DC


"As both a traveling drama teacher in LAUSD (the second largest public school system in the country) as well as a YA author, I cannot stress how important the Reading is The way up grants have been to the LA public schools.

"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: win/win/win.

"Bravo to City National Bank's Reading is The way up program. We absolutely couldn't have done it without you!"

Carol Tanzman
National Board Certified Teacher and YA author

"I am very grateful for the literacy grant that was provided to me and my students this past school year. For many years I had funded 'Kid City,’ my classroom management system, with my limited resources and some occasional donations from concerned parents.

"The funding received from City National Bank took my program to another level. With the provided funds I was able to extend my students' learning via extra field trips. In addition, the incentives purchased with the extra funds motivated the students to excel in academic areas in which they would have normally done barely enough to get by.

"All of my students met the requirements for promotion, and many of them performed well above projected expectations. The impact was so significant that one of my students renamed the bank 'Kid City National Bank'."

Kirk Stanley
Teacher, Long Beach, CA

"Applying for and being awarded the Reading is The way up grant has been an incredible experience for my class. 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.

"Now the students aren't reading because I want them to, they're reading (and learning) because they want to … and this is the ultimate goal of any teacher!

"On behalf of my class and me, thank you City National Bank for helping me show my students that Reading is (indeed) The way up!"

Eric Slay
Teacher, Anaheim, CA

List of past grant recipients

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.

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