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.”
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.