iREAD Competitive Grants Program

 Please Note: The iREAD grants program has not yet opened for 2018; the grant application period typically opens in the fall. The following is an overview of the 2017 program.

The Issue

Education is the bedrock for addressing disparities in our community; it is a human right and essential to ensuring that all children meet their greatest potential.  Yet research shows that out of the starting gate, children who grow up in poverty face hurdles that can become nearly insurmountable if not addressed early. Children growing up in low-income families are exposed to less verbally rich home environments and are less likely to attend preschool, creating a ‘word gap’ of millions of words between them and their more affluent peers before they’ve even entered kindergarten.

Significant research shows that reading aloud to children from day one is the single most important thing a parent can do to help a child enter kindergarten ready to succeed. In Sonoma County, however, only 57% of parents read to their children every day. It is critical that we equip parents with the knowledge and tools they need to be effective role models and teachers, and remove the obstacles—real or perceived—to engaging their children in reading.

Community Foundation Sonoma County is an active member of Cradle to Career, a countywide collective impact effort working to ensure that children are successful throughout the educational pipeline. Through this partnership we launched the community literacy campaign iREAD to promote parents and family members reading to their young children. Through iREAD we seek to raise awareness that no matter what activity parents are doing with their children, they can build literacy at the same time—by reading the back of a cereal box, traffic signs or describing the pictures in a book.

To view and download the iREAD images, visit Cradle to Career Sonoma County’s website.


The Grant Program

Community Foundation Sonoma County’s iREAD grants program enables community organizations with trusted relationships with families of young children to explore innovative ways of promoting family literacy. Funding may be used for new or existing programs; if the program is existing, applicants must clearly demonstrate how this grant will enhance their work to promote literacy.

We will prioritize proposals that have a clear, strong path for promoting family literacy. Criteria include:

  • Program increases the number of days per week parents or other family members read to their children
  • Families and children receiving support may not typically have access to books or literacy training
  • Key staff implementing the program have experience working with families

Grants for the iREAD program are $10,000.

Please note: iREAD grantees will be expected to attend a meeting to learn about resources and collect iREAD materials.


Application Timeline

Monday, August 28, 2017: Application opens

Friday, October 6, 2017: Grant application closes at 4 p.m.

Friday, November 3 through November 8, 2017: Applicants informed of grant awards

How to Apply

Community Foundation Sonoma County uses an online process for submitting grant applications. If this is your first application using the online program, you will be asked to set up an account, provide your IRS Tax ID (or Fiscal Sponsor Tax ID) and take a short eligibility quiz.

If you have an established account, you will be asked for your password to either access existing application drafts or to open a new application.

Once you’ve opened an online account, you will be asked a series of question that include your contact information, funding request amount, project start and end date and a series of narrative questions. We highly recommend that you complete your application in a Word document and then copy and paste the content into the online template; to download a Word version of the narrative questions for the application, click here.

Applicants will also be asked to upload the following documents (templates will be provided for those documents with an asterisk):

A word of caution: When working in the electronic application program, save your work as you go along and, if you want to leave and then return to complete your application later, save your work before you exit the program. Once you’ve exited without saving, your unsaved work is lost. For answers to frequently asked questions, click here.

For questions about the iREAD grant program, please call Karin Demarest, 707.303.9621.

For questions about the online application process, please contact Annette Williams, 707.303.9639,