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Press Release

United Way’s Day of Action Rallies Tens of Thousands of Volunteers in Communities Across the Globe

ALEXANDRIA, VA (June 21, 2019) – United Way Day of Action, which occurs worldwide around June 21, is an invitation for people and organizations around the world to come together and take action to address a variety of community challenges. Day of Action is a global event that convenes people to give, advocate and volunteer to enrich their communities. From sorting and distributing books and supplies to under-resourced schools to providing nutritious meals to food-insecure families, tens of thousands of volunteers are joining United Way to make their communities stronger through Day of Action.  This year’s global focus is on summer reading and nutrition. 

This year’s activation kicked off in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with the Principal Financial Group Foundation, Inc. partnering with United Way for its volunteer event to provide financial education and literacy kits to children from low income families in and around Kuala Lumpur.  

“Everywhere around the world, people want to do their part to strengthen their communities,” said Brian Gallagher, President and CEO, United Way Worldwide. “Day of Action brings individuals and families together to collectively harness their passion and work ethic around common goals, like greater opportunity for kids. All children deserve a strong start in life, and we are grateful to all our volunteers and partners who are rolling up their sleeves this year to make a difference where they live and work.” 

Summer is a critical time for children’s continued academic development and overall well-being, but in many communities, kids don’t have access to books and are falling behind and succumbing to "summer slide"— the learning loss children frequently experience while school is out and that research suggests can accumulate to a two-year reading achievement gap by middle school. According to findings from the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report™: The Summer Reading Imperative, 20% of kids reported not reading any books at all over the summer, an increase since 2016.

In addition to Day of Action efforts across the country, United Way is also joining forces with Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, to get kids reading this summer and involved in giving back. Now through September 6, kids can join the Scholastic Summer Read-a-Palooza, a nation-wide movement to unite kids, parents, educators, public librarians, community partners, and booksellers in efforts to get books into the hands of more kids during the summer, keeping every child reading. Through the free online program, kids can read books, record their minutes and help to unlock a book donation of 200,000 books to kids in need. The books will be distributed to children in communities across the country through select United Way locations where access to high-quality books is needed most.  

"It is an undeniable equity issue that many kids don't have access to books when school is not in session and too many kids are missing out on rich summer reading experiences. This must be addressed to ensure no matter where a child lives, they have the books and reading time needed to ensure they return to school reading-ready and on grade-level," said Richard Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic. "Through Scholastic Summer Read-a-Palooza and working with United Way, booksellers, and libraries nationwide, we will expand access to books across the country while supporting parents and educators in their effort to keep kids reading this summer." 

Learn more about the Scholastic Summer Read-a-Palooza at scholastic.com/readapalooza or sign up for a volunteer activity by visiting unitedway.org/dayofaction  

About United Way
United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. Supported by 2.8 million volunteers, 9.8 million donors worldwide and $4.6 billion raised every year, United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit. We’re engaged in 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide to create sustainable solutions to the challenges facing our communities. United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, government, civic and faith-based organizations, along with educators, labor leaders, health providers, senior citizens, students and more. For more information about United Way, please visit UnitedWay.org. Follow us on Twitter: @UnitedWay and #LiveUnited. 

Media Contact

Southerlyn Reisig, Director of Public Relations
United Way Worldwide
Tel. 1.703.836.7100 ext.321