Eagles' Chris Long continues campaign of giving, this time for child literacy

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long announced on Friday morning that he’s donating a quarter of his post-tax 2018 salary – about $400,000 – to child literacy.

Last year, Long donated his entire $1 million salary to educational initiatives.

‘First Quarter for Literacy’

Calling it the “First Quarter for Literacy,” Long is partnering with the United Way and Philadelphia’s “Read by Fourth,” which aims to ensure that every child in the city is reading on grade level by fourth grade.

As Long tweeted, studies show that if kids are reading at grade level by the start of fourth grade, “they are much more likely to success in school, graduate on time, and go on to earn more throughout their lives.”

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NFL Family: Chris Long, Kyle Long and Howie Long
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NFL Family: Chris Long, Kyle Long and Howie Long
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 21: Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long (56) poses with his father Howie Long and brother Kyle Long during the NFC Championship game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings on January 21, 2017 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. Eagles won 38-7.(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: TV personality and former NFL player Howie Long celebrates with son Chris Long #95 of the New England Patriots after defeating the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. The Patriots defeated the Falcons 34-28. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 16: After the practice ended, Patriots defensive end Chris Long (#95, right) held his five-month-old son Waylon, as Chris' brother (#and Waylon's uncle), Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long (left) leaned in and tried to entertain his nephew. The New England Patriots and the Chicago Bears held a joint practice session at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Aug. 16, 2016, in preparation for their NFL exhibition game Thursday night. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 18: Chicago Bears head coach John Fox (left), has a word and a hand for the Long brothers, Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long (center) and New England Patriots defensive lineman Chris Long (right) on the field after a preseason game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Aug. 18, 2016. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - NOVEMBER 24: Defensive end Chris Long #91 of the Virginia Cavaliers stands with his father and Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long before Chris' jersey retirement during pregame of their matchup against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Scott Stadium on November 24, 2007 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Oakland Raiders Hall of Famer Howie Long and his son, the St. Louis Rams first round draft pick Chris Long during the 2008 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York, NY. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Chris Long #95 of the New England Patriots speaks to father Howie Long before Super Bowl 51 against the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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In 2016 and 2017, almost two-thirds of children in Philadelphia entered fourth grade unable to read at grade level.

Chris and his wife, Megan, have a goal of donating 75,000 books for children who need them most to have their own little libraries at home, and they’ll also fund three Chris Long Book Nooks, which will be neighborhood-based areas for families to read.

Kids don’t have a choice. Kids don’t pick their parents, they don’t pick their economic background, they don’t pick the neighborhood they grew up in, they don’t pick any of the factors that can hold them back; they don’t pick their school system,” Long said. “So [investing in them], it just feels like you’re doing something productive. …I just feel like this is something where you’re going to see results.”

Influencing others to help

There’s another aspect to the Longs’ program: they’re matching donations from fellow NFL players, up to $25,000, to help in other communities. Beau Allen, a former Eagle who is now with Tampa Bay, pledged $5,000, and with Long’s match, there will be $10,000 worth of books donated in Tampa.

Long’s current linemate, Fletcher Cox, tweeted that he’s giving $10,000 for books in his native Mississippi; doubled thanks to Long’s pledge, that’s $20,000 in books for children in the state, where the populace is among the least-educated in the country.

You can learn more about Long’s program or donate at firstquarterforliteracy.org.

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