UNC Charlotte recieves investment from local organzation for education literacy

·2 min read

UNC Charlotte’s Cato College of Education has been selected by the Mebane Foundation to help continue its legacy of supporting innovation in literacy education in North Carolina.

This support comes in the form of a five-year grant and a potential endowment of up to $23 million.

The decision follows a competitive statewide search to identify a partner to continue to carry on founder Allen Mebane’s commitment to supporting inventive educational endeavors as the foundation winds down operations over the next decade.

“We are grateful the Mebane Foundation selected UNC Charlotte as its long-standing partner,” Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber said. “This transformational investment will take Charlotte’s highly rated literacy programming and clinical experiences and move our teacher candidates to the next level. The Mebane name will continue as a gold standard for teacher readiness, assuring Mr. Mebane’s vision is realized. Together, we will create a better future for North Carolina.”

Over the past 25 years, the foundation has granted more than $25 million to educational program partners across the state. In 2019, it invested in the University’s research-based summer reading camps.

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Through the free summer camps, elementary school students from across the Charlotte region have access to a place where they can learn to read. They are also a setting for teachers-in-training to apply new educational techniques and skills learned at the University.

The foundation will increase its funding to Cato College over the next five years in support of teacher development, community partnerships, and research and innovation. It is expected the gift will then culminate in the Allen Mebane: Leaving a Legacy for Future Generations endowment to create and fund the Mebane Early Literacy Center into perpetuity.

“From the leadership team down through the college’s faculty and teacher candidates, focus on early childhood literacy is embedded in the Cato College,” chair of the foundation’s board, Marianne Mebane said. “I know Allen would be pleased with the direction we’ve taken and the partner we’ve chosen to carry on his work. I have no doubt that this partnership will flourish, but more importantly, it will provide world-class opportunities for some of the brightest young teachers in our state while at the same time supporting young struggling readers, both inside and outside the classroom.”

The Mebane Foundation’s gift is one of the largest in UNC Charlotte’s history. It comes after a report commissioned by the UNC System Board of Governors that designated the University as “strong” in literacy instruction, the highest rating achievable. UNC Charlotte is the only North Carolina public university to earn the distinction.

In recognition of the gift, the College of Education building will be renamed Mebane Hall later this year.

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