PNC Foundation awards $500,000 grant to bolster early literacy support for local children

Grant builds on PNC Foundation’s longstanding commitment to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life 

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation announced today, during a special edition of Storytime at ImaginOn, that a five-year, $500,000 grant from PNC Foundation in support of PNC Grow Up Great® will help activate a rigorous, multi-pronged strategy to boost early literacy and school readiness for children in Mecklenburg County.

The grant will fund a wide range of impactful initiatives designed to reach young children, parents and caregivers, including:

  • The delivery of Learning Together, a weekly intervention program serving lower-income Hispanic/Latino families with children from birth to age 5 who are not enrolled in a daycare or preschool program. The comprehensive and scalable program includes bilingual storytimes, early learning skill development and literacy workshops for parents;
  • The circulation of high-quality, developmentally appropriate “book bundles” to educators at MECK Pre-K sites serving a combined 1,800 children;
  • The curation of early literacy kits for use by children of visitors, including English language learners, at the new Main Library (slated to open in 2026), to include a combination of books and educational tools, as well as Launchpad learning tablets pre-loaded with resources for children ages 4-5;
  • The commission of a feasibility study, with input to inform and optimize the Library’s ongoing and future efforts to strengthen children’s school readiness levels.

“PNC shares with the Library Foundation the firm belief that education is a powerful means for achieving economic and social mobility,” said Weston Andress, PNC regional president for Western Carolinas. “The grant announced today is designed to help our community’s youngest citizens and future workforce gain access to resources and programming to help spark a lifelong passion for learning.”

“[The Learning Together program] has taught me to understand my son better and to promote reading for his development and [now] he’s able to share with other children,” a parent shared after her experience. Another remarked, “My daughter was very shy and wouldn’t leave my side; she has learned to socialize in the program. We love the program.”

The scope of this grant funding is in addition to PNC’s generous support for the Library during the past decade, including PNC Bank’s founding presenting sponsorship of Verse & Vino, the Library Foundation’s annual fundraising gala showcasing New York Times bestselling authors.

“Weston and his team are more than funders, they are partners,” said Jenni Gaisbauer, executive director of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation. “We are so grateful to be in this work with them.”

About PNC Foundation

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (, actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through PNC Grow Up Great®, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. For more information, visit  

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