The Lois Lenski Covey Foundation



Literacy Program Grants


Lois Lenski, children’s book author and 1946 Newbery medalist for Strawberry Girl, understood that childrens’ ability to read is imperative for their success and their ability to understand the world around them. Toward that end, the Foundation provides grants to innovative and effective literacy programs that serve children from disadvantaged populations in the following regions: greater Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia and surrounding areas, and the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay areas.


Literacy programs operated by charitable [501(c)(3)] and other non-taxable agencies, including public libraries and schools, are eligible. The Foundation provides grants to organizations that serve economically or socially at-risk children. New literacy programs are welcome to apply, as are those with a proven record of effectiveness. Please note that funding is limited to the regions listed above and is not awarded outside of the United States.


Purpose and amount of the Grants


We are interested in literacy programs that engage children in activities that advance literacy and foster a lifelong love of reading. Programs may  introduce or assist pre-school children in the enjoyment of books, or increase school-age children's reading skills. Literacy activities can take a variety of forms and can take place in a variety of environments, including but not limited to classrooms, after-school settings, community centers, libraries or other public spaces, or in the home. Programs that demonstrate innovative, positive, or unique approaches are desired.


We support programs that have repeated and regular interaction with youth by skilled staff or volunteers who provide stepped programming to advance literacy. We also recognize the benefit of two-generation approaches to literacy advancement, wherein parents, other family members, or caregivers are educated in the importance and methods of exposing a child to books and reading. We do not provide grants to programs consisting of once-only contact, or to book give-away programs.


Grants from the Foundation may go to general program support. We will also consider funding for a specific purpose that might otherwise not receive attention from other funders. Literacy grants from the Foundation have ranged from $2,000 to $10,000. We are interested in partnering with grantees and thus applications for renewals will be considered.



Applying for a Grant


We review literacy grant requests in two cycles annually: new requests in the spring, and renewal requests in the fall. Please note the following deadlines:


February 15 - Letters of Intent from potential new grantees

October 1 - Renewal requests from current grantees


Potential applicants should contact the following Foundation trustee via email in the areas listed:


Baltimore –

New York City –,

Philadelphia –

Sacramento and SF Bay Area –


When emailing a director, please attach a brief (one page) Letter of Intent. Also provide telephone contact information, along with relevant website URL information, if available. Typically, an informational phone call and/or site visit will follow. If appropriate alignment of goals for the organization and the Foundation are established, a brief grant proposal will be requested before a grant can be awarded.





Questions regarding the Foundation's literacy program grants may be emailed to the trustee responsible for their particular geographic area, listed above.