Company: Dollar General
Impact Award: Educational Support/ Learning Advancement
One of the nation’s top value chains, Dollar General’s support of educational support and learning advancement programs is deeply rooted in the retailer’s history. Dollar General’s co-founder, J.L. Turner, was functionally illiterate and never completed a formal education.
In1993, J.L.’s grandson, Cal Turner, Jr., who was Dollar General’s then-CEO, founded the Dollar General Literacy Foundation (DGLF) to honor him and support others’ educational journeys. With the belief everyone deserves an equal opportunity to receive a basic education, the DGLF has invested in and provided financial assistance to literacy programs increasing access, enhancing the quality of instruction, and inspiring and advancing innovation.
To date, DGLF has awarded more than $219M to support literacy and learning, enabling more than 16.1 million people to achieve their goals. DGLF supports programs in Dollar General’s hometown, often rural, communities and helping individuals take next steps toward a bright future.
A few of the grant programs include:
- Adult Literacy Grants: Programs provide direct services to adults in need of literacy assistance in adult basic education, high school equivalency preparation and/or English language acquisition.
- Family Literacy Grants: Programs support the whole family including adult education instruction, children’s education and parent and child together time (PACT).
- Youth Literacy Grants: To implement new or expand existing literacy programs, purchase new technology, equipment, books, materials or software at schools, and fund public libraries and nonprofits who help students below grade level or who are having trouble reading.
As the COVID-19 pandemic created challenges for many children and their learning, Dollar General stepped up this year to help young students get back on track. In March, DGLF announced approximately $5 million in grants across five national organizations to further support students and educators:
- Save the Children: Providing support for in-school and after-school programming for K-3 students, inclusive of digital book access, training and technical assistance and support for the Rural Library Network.
- Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy: A two-year commitment to support implementation of the National Action Plan for Adult Literacy, with a focus on boosting literacy organizations, advancing professional development for teachers and identifying opportunity gaps.
- DonorsChoose: Matching donations on all book-related projects posted by teachers across the U.S. on DonorsChoose.org and expanding on a 2021, $1.45M partnership provided much-needed tools and resources in underserved schools that was celebrated on World Teacher Day on The Kelly Clarkson Show, including a surprise $50,000 donation to Read Aloud West Virginia in honor of teacher Jennie Fitzkee.
- Discovery Education in Partnership with National Afterschool Association: Launching a no-cost, nationwide literacy platform focused on supporting teachers with research-based micro-learnings, providing standards-aligned resources to advance the application of new strategies, and create equitable access to tools and resources for under-resourced communities, both in and out of school.
- Children’s Defense Fund: Funding the southern expansion of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools program, which provides high-quality, culturally responsive academic enrichments to K-12 grade students nationally.