Lizzy the Literacy Bus

BRINGING THE GIFT OF READING TO THE COMMUNITY
Charlotte Community Foundation (CCF) is all about connecting people who care with causes that matter. Acting as the community’s center for philanthropy, CCF focuses exclusively on the current and emerging needs of Charlotte County.So, when the idea of designing and creating a literacy bus focused on children in kindergarten through the sixth grade in Charlotte County came about, CCF couldn’t wait to get involved. Long before “Lizzy the Literacy Bus” ever hit the road, CCF was committed to the project, allowing kids to visit the bus and select a book to keep.

Literacy is Essential to a Strong Community

“The Charlotte Community Foundation is proud to partner with the Leadership Charlotte Class, Smugglers Enterprises Foundation and the Punta Gorda After House Kiwanis in support of Lizzy the Literacy Bus,” said Justin Brand, Director of Community Engagement at CCF. “Being able to bring the gift of reading and books into the community is truly part of our mission of connecting the people who care with the causes that matter most. Literacy is so essential to a strong community, and this bus will serve the many areas and communities within Charlotte County that may not have easy access to children’s books. “
CCF’s commitment to the literacy bus, which has served thousands of children since it began its mission in June 2021, was evident from the moment the project was proposed, according to Katie Wallace. She was the point person for the development of the bus, a project of Leadership Charlotte of which she was a member.“CCF’s support of this project was felt very early,” said Wallace. “The idea was pitched to the Leadership Charlotte Class of 2019 at our community services day. Once the class fully fleshed out the idea, we began reaching out for sponsors, and CCF saw the value in our vision and committed early. The foundation and its employees also helped to spread the word about the project in our community. Not only did CCF make the largest single donation, but they also helped us to receive donations from individual community members based on CCF’s reputation and outward-facing support.”Lynn Dorler, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Charlotte County, echoed Wallace’s words.“CCF was instrumental in the success of the book bus,” he said. “They provided critical start-up funding for the project. Their involvement definitely helped make the project come to life sooner than (it would have) if additional funding was needed.”According to Dorler, “Lizzy the Literacy Bus” has allowed more than 3,000 children to start or build their home libraries.Wallace feels the CCF’s support and involvement are instrumental to the continued implementation and development of the project.“This project is still developing,” she said. “Although Lizzy is out in the community and has provided thousands of free books to children’s personal libraries just since June of this year, we are still in our infancy and developing organizational structure. This project is currently organized and managed by Leadership Charlotte with the tremendous assistance of the Executive Director and staff of the Boys and Girls Club of Charlotte County.“We have ideas regarding the bus that we still want to implement, including but not limited to providing comprehensive information about services available to families in Charlotte County, increasing registration for Pre-K, community reading events in specific income-limited areas, and STEM projects that encourage reading.”While CCF has played a crucial role in the literacy bus’s success, Smugglers Enterprises Foundation and the Punta Gorda After House Kiwanis Club have also made significant contributions to the literacy bus. To learn about how you can partner with Charlotte Community Foundation visit our ways to give page.