Enhance Education

35% of children in our community entering fourth grade are not reading on grade level — and are four times less likely to graduate on time. United Way provides these children a safe place to learn, after-school activities, mentors, books and summer programs to keep them on track to graduate and have a successful life.

Midlands Reading Consortium

Literacy Skills

United Way believes a strong foundation of reading greatly impacts a child’s success in school and beyond. The Midlands Reading Consortium (MRC) is a library of services including one-to-one tutoring, book donations, book nooks, at-home libraries through Be a Book Bunny, parent engagement events, guest reading opportunities for individuals and companies, and summer reading camps. Last year, United Way supporters helped 600 elementary students improve their reading skills through the MRC.

Summer Camps

Summer slide is a term used in education that refers to learning loss that takes place during the summer months. If a child falls behind in reading during the school year, summer can make it worse. Studies suggest that students without access to books and learning can fall behind by as much as 2 months over the course of the summer. Over the years that adds up. In partnership with local school districts in the Midlands, United Way supports Summer Reading Camps for students who are not reading proficiently at the end of third grade, a critical grade for literacy.


AmeriCorps Members will enroll prekindergarten to second grade students in one-to-one reading engagement sessions with district approved volunteers, engage parents about the importance of reading at home, increase home libraries through book distribution, and promote literacy through general outreach and community engagement in Richland and Lexington Counties.

Our Impact

United Way of the Midlands fights to make sure children enter kindergarten ready to learn, read on grade level by third grade, and are on track to graduate high school on time. Through United Way-funded programs, students and families are engaged to ensure children’s success.

  • 512 children were tutored through the Midlands Reading Consortium (MRC) and the number of children who improved reading skills generally doubled between fall and spring
  • 1,415 elementary students completed summer reading camps that mitigated the impact of summer learning loss and helped students start the next year on track
  • 2,800 students participated in quality programs during and after school
  • 3,645 parents demonstrated increased knowledge about their children’s development through school readiness and parent engagement programs
  • More than 90% of students demonstrated progress on one or more of the following indicators: grades, improved reading skills or attitude, progressing (on time) to the next grade

Our REsearch


In order to build on the efforts of the Midlands Reading Consortium (MRC), a landscape survey of family engagement practices to support youth academic success at the level of school districts (4) and schools (12) was completed. Both qualitative and quantitative survey methods were used to establish a picture of current family engagement practices that can be used to guide future programmatic and investment strategies.

USC Parent Engagement Study (PDF)

See All Education Research

Want to help?

Every child deserves a chance to succeed. By giving to United Way, you support important education efforts beyond the classroom and help create lifelong learners.

Helping children at the local level

Local organizations are often in the best position to make a positive impact on a community, quickly. Last year, United Way of the Midlands distributed over half a million dollars in grants to local organizations who are fighting to equalize educational opportunities for all our children. 

Total Funding $680,385

$185,000 to Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands

Be Great Academy

BGCM provides high quality and affordable programming during the critical out of school time both afterschool and in summer.

$12,450 to Calhoun County First Steps

COVID-19 Response

Calhoun FS purchased technology and children's activities for their staff and families to facilitate virtual "home visits."

$106,435 to Communities in Schools of the Midlands

The Sanford Harmony Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) Program

CISM integrates Sanford Harmony SEL into its model of dropout prevention that seeks to improve academic performance, attendance, school behavior and literacy outcomes.

$5,000 to EdVenture

COVID-19 Response

EdVenture purchased sanitization supplies and PPE to support reopening.

$25,000 to Homeless No More

Affordable Childcare for Homeless Families

Homeless No More offers a daily afterschool and day camp program at St. Lawrence Place for children (ages 5-12) of families participating in HNM programs.

Homeless No More Website

$10,000 to Orangeburg County First Steps

COVID-19 Response

Orangeburg FS purchased technology and children's activities for their staff and families to facilitate virtual "home visits."

$30,000 to Prisma Health

Hyatt Park Community Connections

Prisma Health addresses the social determinants of health by providing case management and wraparound services to families of students at Hyatt Park Elementary.

$306,500 to Vital Connections of the Midlands

VCM provides childcare for children who are at or below poverty, children experiencing homelessness, foster children and children who are not typically developing. The Reading To Learn program supports their efforts in getting children ready for school.