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City National Awards Literacy Grants to Educators in Five States Totaling $82,500

December 18, 2019

City National Awards Literacy Grants in Five States


LOS ANGELES – City National Bank today announced that it has awarded 135 Reading is The way up® literacy grants totaling $82,500 to support literacy-based projects as well as financial literacy to elementary, middle and high schools in California, Nevada, New York, Minnesota, Tennessee and Georgia.

(For a list of all grant recipients, go to

Reading is The way up is the award-winning non-profit literacy program through which City National has donated more than 1,000,000 new books to elementary school libraries in the bank’s footprint, and awarded nearly 1,500 teacher grants to enhance literacy totaling over $1.6 million since the program’s inception in 2005.

The grants provide educators up to $1,000 and will help augment or expand literacy projects that were judged to be creative and engaging, and that would have a tangible effect on student achievement. The winning programs are expected to directly improve literacy to more than 10,000 students in over 100 schools and non-profit organizations throughout California, Nevada, New York, Minnesota, Tennessee and Georgia.

The educators receiving literacy grants were selected from among the many full-time teachers, librarians, administrators and school media specialists who submitted an online application.  The one-page application was available to educators in every school district throughout the bank’s footprint across the country.

“We are very pleased with the total number of grants and dollar amount we were able to award this year,” said Jennifer Nickerson, senior vice president and corporate citizenship manager for City National.  “We significantly increased the number of grant recipients and funding this year over last year.  Putting more money into the classroom is the goal of our teacher literacy grant program, and we more than achieved our goal.  The money for this program comes from our colleagues and our workplace giving program, which makes it even that much more special.”

Some of this year’s grants funded various literacy programs such as ‘Igniting, Illuminating, and Inspiring Literacy’ at a school in California; ‘Reading our Way to Social and Emotional Skills’ at a school in Nevada, ‘Rhythm Activities: Improving Focus, Self-Regulation & Core Academics’ at a school in Minnesota; ‘Activating a Bright Future for all Students’ at a school in Tennessee; and ‘I Read, Therefore I Know’ at a school in Georgia.

About Reading is The way up®

Originally established to help improve the education of California’s future leaders, City National in April 2002 launched the multi-faceted Reading is The way up initiative to restock the state’s school library system. The program has since been expanded to include all areas where the bank has a presence.  Since its inception, the award-winning program has:

  • Donated more than 1,000,000 books to California, Nevada, New York, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Georgia school libraries.
  • Awarded over $1.6 million to teachers at elementary, middle and high schools for creative literacy projects.
  • Received the 2005 President’s Volunteer Service Award, the 2005 Corporate Philanthropy Award from the Los Angeles Public Library, the 2006 Corporate Award from the Getty House Foundation, the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Corporate Citizen Award, and honored as the 2007 Corporate Visionary Partner by the Wonder of Reading.
  • Received the 2013 Innovations Reading Prize Award from 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 the Angel Light Academy in Orange County, CA.

The Reading is the Way Up Fund is a 501(c)(3) administered by the California Community Foundation.  For more information, visit