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Feb 6, 2023 |
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At NCFL, we celebrate Black history and contributions all year long—but we’re especially excited to do so in February! The creation of Black History Month began in 1926, when Dr. Carter G. Woodson established what was then known as Negro History Week during the second week of February. Fifty years later, in 1976, Black History Month was officially observed for the first time by President Gerald R. Ford. In 1986, the U.S. Congress officially designated February as National Black History Month.

Black History Month Notable Figures

Black History Month is an established tradition now, but it’s important to keep looking at our history and culture with new eyes. If you’re an educator or parenting adult looking for new ways to celebrate Black History Month, read on! 

One of our favorite ways to engage kids with Black history and culture is through learning and activities on Wonderopolis®. In our Black History Month Collection, you’ll find over 50 Wonders of the Day related to Black history, arts, science, sports, and more.  Use our fun Try It Out activities to help kids learn interactively—from mapping a trip with the Green Book to writing their own Motown-style song

To celebrate Black History Month at home and in your school, Reading Rockets has compiled a list of children’s books about Black Lives! These colorfully illustrated stories teach children about lesser-known Civil Rights activists, Black history in the Wild West, the history of Juneteenth, and so much more. From exploring moments in Black history that can be difficult to broach with care, to sharing fantastical stories about prominent historical figures, this reading list provides options suitable for children ages three to twelve. 

While many focus their attention on immersing themselves in Black history and current events, this month often highlights or exacerbates the racial trauma experienced by the Black community. For those searching for a healing way to celebrate Black History Month, Safe Horizon has provided Five Ways to Celebrate Black Joy. Resources range from self-care guidance to educational materials on Black healers and innovators, all of which are carefully curated to offer support throughout the month of February and beyond. 

Whether it’s Black History Month or any time of the year, we’re excited to be a part of the way educators and families learn together! 


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NCFL Partners

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Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $50 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.

Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.

Read more about Toyota's commitment to communities

William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

NCFL received its very first donation in 1989 from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to promote and implement family literacy programming, first in Kentucky and North Carolina and later nationwide. The Kenan Family Literacy Model in part laid the groundwork for 30 years of subsequent family literacy and family learning programming developed by NCFL.

Kenan has continued to support NCFL’s place-based family literacy programs since our inception. Most recently, it has invested in our organization’s Sharon Darling Innovation Fund, which will launch emerging ideas and programmatic evolutions in the multigenerational learning space.

Learn more about the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to guide potential students and volunteers to literacy services, community education programs, and testing centers in their communities.

The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.

Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.

Learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation

PNC Grow Up Great

PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.

PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994, most recently in Louisville, Kentucky, to support Say & Play with Words, our pre-Kindergarten vocabulary-building initiative.

NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.

Learn more about PNC Grow Up Great

U.S. Department of Education

Initiated through the U.S. Department of Education in 2018, the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC) program provides 12 grantees and 13 states with five-year, $5 million grants to promote and implement systemic evidenced-based family engagement strategies. NCFL was selected to lead SFECs in two states, Arizona and Nebraska, and is a primary partner for two other SFECs in Kentucky and Maryland/Pennsylvania. 

The SFECs work to support family engagement through state- and local-level agencies while providing both professional development to school districts and direct services to families related to children’s academic outcomes and overall well-being.

Learn more about the U.S. Department of Education

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

NCFL was named a recipient of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s "Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenge," which seeks to elevate diverse voices in order to broaden the conversation about the issues inhibiting economic mobility and generate deeper awareness along with actionable understanding. NCFL will develop and launch a podcast series that will highlight the remarkable stories of low-income, diverse families across the U.S. who have improved their communities through Family Service Learning.

Foundation Website