Public support will be needed before a local group can make use of a proposed grant to significantly increase the number of children in Columbia and Richmond counties provided with new books.
The Knox Foundation recently supplied the Greater Augusta Partnership for Literacy with a $30,000 matching grant -- meaning the group must raise $30,000 on its own to get those funds.
"What that does is put us on the map relative to providing these books to children," partnership Chairman Chuck LaMarsh said of the Knox Foundation grant. "Now, we've got to go out and find people in Richmond, Columbia County, the CSRA to match that thing."
With $60,000, LaMarsh said, he could increase the number of children provided new books by the partnership by more than seven times.
"Right now, we help slightly over 200 children," he said. "This has been supported primarily by the Rotary Club in the Augusta area. ... My estimation, my gut feeling, is that with this grant we can jump up to about 1,500 children."
The partnership works with the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy to improve reading skills by providing books to needy children from birth to age 5.
In 2009, the foundation supplied nearly 480,000 books to Georgia children. Currently, it has a monthly registration level of nearly 43,000 children.
Anyone who wishes to donate can send checks designated for the Greater Augusta Partnership for Literacy but addressed to the Ferst Foundation. They can be sent to 2602 Commons Blvd., Augusta, GA 30909.
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