How Community Partners Are Improving Literacy Needs for Charlotte Children Amidst the Pandemic

With school closures and many parents asked to assume the role of educator while also working from home, students are estimated to lose anywhere from six to 12 months of learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

Parsec Financial has awarded Read Charlotte and 14 other local non-profits $200,000 total in unrestricted grants towards reading and literacy.

Education and literacy are essential in shaping children into becoming well-rounded individuals. It affects the way they communicate, interpret, create, and understand. It allows them to dream while preparing them to become community leaders and changemakers.

Fee-only wealth management firm Parsec Financial, with an office in uptown Charlotte, not only understands this but also understands that investing in education and literacy programs is the greatest investment a company can make into its communities.

This year, the firm awarded $200,000 in unrestricted grants to 15 deserving non-profits across North Carolina that focus on education and literacy to commemorate the 15th year of the company’s Parsec Prize program. Two local organizations, Read Charlotte and YMCA of Greater Charlotte Y Readers program, each received $20,000 awards.

According to the Parsec grant committee who determined this year’s winners, both organizations have demonstrated their commitment to child literacy over the years, but most importantly during the unprecedented pandemic.

“Parsec has had a long commitment to education and literacy and giving back to the communities we serve,” Michael Ziemer, partner at Parsec Financial says. “We are big believers in having a win-win relationship with our communities, and as businesses, it is our responsibility to invest in them. Investing in education and literacy brings the opportunity to lift up the future and lives of all people.”

Unfortunately, the effects of COVID-19 have adversely affected the reading and literacy skills of children all over the nation. According to a recent report released by McKinsey and Company, the projected learning loss during this time is staggering. With school closures and many parents asked to assume the role of educator while also working from home, students are estimated to lose anywhere from six to 12 months of learning. The numbers are greatest for those in underserved neighborhoods.

“Sadly, I suspect that most students are now behind in their literacy programs,” Ziemer says. He and his wife have three young children.

“What we have utilized at home with our children is Read Charlotte’s new reading checkup, as well as our own incentive program to keep our children actively involved in their learning,” he says.

The Read Charlotte Reading Checkup is an effective tool that aims to get students back to, or beyond, grade level. The program’s algorithm designs a reading program based on your child’s problem areas and can be effective whether you have only 30 minutes or two hours per day.

The program is free and recommended for rising Kindergarten through 4th-Grade students. There are free weekly live workshops as well for parents wanting additional resources.

To learn more about this year’s Parsec Prize recipients and the company’s continued commitment to education and literacy, you can visit parsecfinancial.com/parsec-prize.