• Rotary Year: 2013-2014
  • Application Date: 4/15/2013
  • Club Name: Kingsport-Downtown
  • Project Name: Rotary Reading Program
  • Project Total Expenditures: $6,000.00
  • Grant Amount Requested: $3,000.00
  • Describe the Project, its location and its objectives: The “Rotary Reading Program” will focus on involving Rotarians in a collaborative literacy effort and improving children’s reading skills. During the July community family event, Fun Fest, which is a program of the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce, Rotarians will read and distribute 1,000 Festus and His Fun Fest Favorites hardback books purchased at cost. Additionally, these books will be used in conjunction with local doctors’ offices to encourage summer reading that will spark the interest, curiosity and imagination of children and also connect them to literacy.

    Kingsport City and Sullivan County schools have a “straight combined average of approximately 50% proficient/advanced on third grade reading scores.” Research also shows that children lose reading skills during the summer vacation time. The Literacy Council of Kingsport, Inc. will help organize reading events where Rotarians will read and help distribute books to children.

    The Kingsport Downtown Rotary Club has agreed to host a reading event during Fun Fest with the local author and also read two to four times during the summer at several area summer children’s programs such as Boys & Girls Club, Girls Incorporated, YMCA and City Park and Recreation. Hardback copies of the award-winning children’s book will also be distributed to local pediatric and medical offices to give to patients or for reading in the waiting rooms. The project will reach 1,000 elementary children in the region.

    Fun Fest is in its 33rd year, and the selected children’s book, which commemorates the region’s festival, will connect children to reading and to the community providing a lasting, memorable learning experience. Rotarians will provide six hours of volunteer service per member and participation is expected at 90 percent. In addition to reading, Rotarians will also incorporate the gift of storytelling by sharing their own Fun Fest memories with the participating children.
  • This is the Club’s: Primary Project Application
  • Expected Start Date: 7/12/2013
  • Expected End Date: 8/31/2013
  • Describe how the project will benefit the community and/or improve the lives of the less fortunate: Research shows that children who are not on grade reading level in the third grade are the high school dropouts, which leads to low paying jobs, and increased crime rates and health care costs. The United Way of Greater Kingsport has launched the Early Grade Reading Community Impact Strategy. Tennessee’s READ20 Book Club, founded by Tennessee’s First Lady, Crissy Haslam, encourages families to set the fun goal of reading with their children for 20 minutes every day. Research also shows that children lose reading skills during the summer vacation time.

    The Kingsport Downtown Rotary Club has agreed to host a reading event during Fun Fest with the local author and read two to four times during the summer at several area summer children’s programs such as Boys & Girls Club, Girls Incorporated, YMCA and City Park and Recreation. Also, copies of Festus and His Fun Fest Favorites will be distributed to local pediatric and medical offices to give to patients or for reading in the waiting rooms. The project will reach 1,000 elementary children in the region.

    Fun Fest is in its 33rd year, and the selected, award-winning children’s book commemorates the region’s festival. With this book, Rotarians will connect children to reading and to the community by providing a lasting, memorable learning experience. In being proactive and supporting Early Grade Reading as the #1 cause of community service and human health needs, Rotary will also be advancing a true opportunity to continue to improve the entire region.
  • Describe the Rotarian hands-on activities in the project (i.e. non-financial participation): The Rotary Club of Kingsport-Downtown will host a reading event during Fun Fest with the local children’s book author, and hardback copies of the award-winning children’s book, Festus and His Fun Fest Favorites, will be distributed at no charge to all participants. Additional copies of the book will also be distributed by Rotarians to local pediatric and medical offices to give to patients or for reading in the waiting rooms. The project will reach 1,000 elementary children in the region. Rotarians will also read the book two to four times during the summer at several area summer children’s programs such as Boys & Girls Club, Girls Incorporated, YMCA and City Park and Recreation.
    Fun Fest is in its 33rd year, and the selected children’s book, which commemorates the region’s festival, will connect children to reading and to the community providing a lasting, memorable learning experience. Rotarians will provide six hours of volunteer service per member and participation is expected at 90 percent. In addition to reading, Rotarians will also incorporate the gift of storytelling by sharing their own Fun Fest memories with involved children.


  • Describe the publicity plan to inform the general public that this is a Rotary sponsored project: Since Fun Fest is a program of the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Kingsport Downtown Rotary Reading Program will occur during the festival, Rotary will be able to utilize the Chamber as a main source for publicity and community awareness, which is also strongly supported throughout the region by the local media.

    The selected, award-winning book is narrated by the festival sun man mascot, Festus, and he will be visible throughout the nine-day festival. Rotary will invite “Festus” to reading events and have photo opportunities with Festus and the Rotary Wheel. The local media will be informed of Rotary’s involvement and support of literacy and the early grade reading initiative.

    In addition to the Kingsport Downtown Rotary Club facebook, the Literacy Council of Kingsport, Inc., Fun Fest, and the United Way of Greater Kingsport also have facebook accounts, and event photos will be shared with each. Fun Fest and the Literacy Council will also be able to utilize Twitter and tweet about the event.
  • Cooperating Organizations – Please list each cooperating organization, if any: Literacy Council of Kingsport, Inc.
    Fun Fest – Kingsport Chamber of Commerce
    United Way of Greater Kingsport

    With Rotary’s focus on reading, and the United Way of Greater Kingsport identifying the importance of early grade reading, the Rotary Reading Program offers an ideal community connection. Because the program will take place during Fun Fest, the Rotary Reading Program will occur during the summer months, which is a time often associated with a decline in learning. Events will be coordinated through the Literacy Council of Kingsport, Inc., and, with the selected children’s book, Rotarians will be helping connect children to the importance of reading and to their community.
  • Letter(s) of Participation: Rotary Literacy Council of Kingsport Letter of Support.pdf, Rotary Fun Fest Letter of Support.pdf, Rotary United Way of Greater Kingsport Letter of Support.pdf
  • Project Expenditure Budget – list detail uses of funds for the project, or use the Budget Upload"See Budget Upload"


  • Project Funding Budget – list detail sources of funds for the project, or use the Budget Upload"See Budget Upload"
  • Budget Upload:Budget Template-130309.xls
  • Primary Contact Name: Brad Hoover
  • Primary Contact Rotary Position: President Elect
  • Primary Contact Email: hoover@chartertn.net
  • Primary Contact Phone: (423) 230-4304
  • Financial Contact Name: John Pridemore
  • Financial Contact Rotary Position: Treasurer
  • Financial Contact Address: 
    John K. Pridemore
    701 Dewberry Circle
    Kingsport, TN 37663
    United States View on Map
  • Financial Contact Email: john.pridemore@lpl.com
  • Financial Contact Phone: (423) 246-2300
  • District Grant Project Authorization LetterRotary D7570 Local District Grant Project Authorization Letter.pdf
  • Project Supporting Uploads:Festus Mascot Reading.JPG
  • Grant Number: 1314-18
  • Grant Award: $3,000.00