Sacramento Kings have pledged to donate fans' 2014–15 season ticket deposits to local reading and literacy initiatives in the community. The initiative is expected to generate as much as $100,000 for the following local efforts:
- Sacramento County Office of Education's Preschool Bridging Model Plus (funded by First 5 Sacramento and First 5 California) enhances the quality of child care for three to five year-olds by incorporating on-site mentoring and coaching support for private child care centers and family child care homes, educational and quality improvement planning, and instructional materials to enhance classroom environments. The Kings donation will allow Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) staff to provide professional development and resources to private child care centers and family child care providers in high-need communities. Additionally, the staff will conduct parent workshops and provide resources for a lending library.
- United Way's STAR Readers project helps local children with significant challenges read at level by the end of third grade. The Kings donation will be used for assessment tools, as well as adding dozens of children from a waiting list into the program.
- Sacramento READS! is a 10-year initiative for children up to age eight to improve literacy by focusing on school readiness, school attendance and summer learning loss. The Kings donation will expand the existing program.
- Sacramento Public Library delivers more than 2,300 programs annually to children under the age of five, serving more than 65,000 children and their parents and caregivers, teaching through play, music, stories and fun. The donation will help expand the 1,600 reading programs delivered throughout 28 locations by 20 percent. The Kings donation will also help secure tablets for every location, providing children appropriate learning apps and tools.
"We are grateful to the Sacramento Kings for their generosity. This donation will help our youngest students develop the most important of all academic skills: reading. It will also provide our preschool parents with useful tools and books so they can help their children grow as readers," said Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon.
"The Sacramento Kings continue to demonstrate their strong commitment to our community," said Rivkah Sass, Director of the Sacramento Public Library System. "This donation will help ensure our children are at appropriate reading level by the end of the third grade, the critical age when students transition from learning to read to reading to learn."
"Only 37 percent of Sacramento's third graders are reading at level," said Chris Granger, President of the Kings. "We can do better, and we believe that investing in early childhood education will help local students achieve their dreams and grow up to be the next generation of Sacramento leaders."
The campaign was announced at the 2014 Sacramento State of the City address, during which Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson discussed the importance of improving education, gave an update on the future Entertainment and Sports Complex, and released a second set of design renderings.
The Kings reading and literacy campaign runs through March 3 (National Reading Day and Dr. Seuss' birthday). In the coming weeks, the Kings plan to announce additional community events to raise further awareness of the campaign.