Why We Fight

To give kids an equal chance

Every child in our community deserves an equal opportunity to learn and succeed.

Only one out of every three students in Metro Nashville Public Schools is able to read on grade level by the end of third grade. Together, we can ensure that every child in our community enters kindergarten ready to learn, has the support they need to develop crucial reading skills for success and receives essential social and emotional support from preschool to graduation.

How We Win

Preparing students for kindergarten

Children who have not developed basic literacy skills by the time they enter kindergarten are three to four times more likely to drop out in later years. United Way works in partnership to ensure children have access to books that are crucial to early brain development, to provide accessible, high-quality child care and pre-K programs, and to deliver training and support for educators to increase the quality of early childhood education throughout the community. 

Improving literacy rates

Third grade is the turning point when children make the transition from learning to read to reading to learn. If they aren’t reading well by that point, they will most likely struggle to read their social studies texts, understand their math problems or follow directions on their science experiments, and they rarely catch up. There is no greater investment in our community than in the future success of our children. United Way is fighting to make sure every child has the skills they need to succeed through graduation and beyond. 

Making sure kids graduate

In 2017, 20 percent of Metro Nashville Public School students did not graduate from high school. We are determined to change that statistic to make sure every one of our students makes it through to graduation and has a plan for continuing education, vocational training or career success. To do this, we give our students social and emotional education through their middle and high school years. We also provide opportunities for mentorship, guidance and support to the whole family to help our children walk across that graduation stage and move onto adulthood with confidence. 

2018 Results

In 2018...
  • 508K books were distributed to young children through Imagination Library of Middle Tennessee. 
  • 3,248 students increased their creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communications skills.
  • 1,297 students showed at least one year's growth in key literacy and academic skills.
  • 415 preschoolers gained early literacy skills necessary to succeed in kindergarten.
  • 1,844 students gained key social and emotional learning skills.


Read to Succeed

Read to Succeed focuses on building literacy and social-emotional skills for at-risk preschoolers. Learn more. 

Imagination Library of Middle Tennessee 

The Imagination Library of Middle Tennessee provides one book per month to children from birth to age five at no cost to families, regardless of income. Learn more. 

Education Funded Partners

United Way funds 30 partner agencies focused on education. Learn more.