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Greenberg Traurig Announces Partnership with Philadelphia Initiative Promoting Childhood Literacy

Firm is First in City to Join the ‘Read By 4th’ Campaign to Have Children be Proficient Readers by Fourth Grade.

PHILADELPHIA – February 26, 2020 – Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP announced its commitment to helping increase literacy rates among the city’s school-aged children by joining the Read by 4th campaign.

Greenberg Traurig is the first law firm to join the citywide coalition, an effort spearheaded by the Free Library of Philadelphia and includes the region’s leading corporate and philanthropic leaders as well as grassroots mentors and volunteers. The campaign seeks to boost reading scores for school-aged children who too frequently are not reading on grade level. Most recent statistics from Read by 4th leaders show that just 40 percent of the city’s students – 2 in 5 – are reading with proficiency or mastery at the end of 3rd grade.

“Being a part of Read by 4th really was an easy decision,” said Curtis B. Toll, managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s Philadelphia office. “As a firm, we seek to address problems and positively impact the communities we serve. This initiative allows our lawyers and our business staff to directly participate in both of those endeavors. “This program and our investment in it will support the robust business momentum underway now in Philadelphia – and help prevent the costlier social ills.”

Read by 4th takes a multi-pronged approach, with a focus on pairing students with adult reading mentors, increasing personal home libraries, supporting school attendance, boosting free, quality tutorials, plus training and deploying reading champions in neighborhoods across the city.

“The leadership Greenberg Traurig has exhibited through this partnership thrills us to no end,” said Jenny Bogoni, Read by 4th executive director. “We love it when businesses do more than write a check, but choose to go all in. The approach and enthusiasm this law firm has exhibited is indicative of the concern for and investment in both Philadelphia as a whole, and its youngest citizens, in particular.”

Other corporate supporters include Wells Fargo, PECO, and the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia. Foundational support comes from the John S. and James L. Knight, the Connelly, the William Penn, and the Lincoln Financial foundations, among others.

Greenberg Traurig’ support will help supply books for home libraries and reading mentors for students at James G. Blaine Elementary, a K-8 school in North Philadelphia.

“We are thrilled to begin this relationship with a firm that shares our commitment to serving and supporting children,” said Blaine Elementary School Principal Gianeen Anyika.
“It’s important for students to be able to connect what they are learning with the world around them,” Anyika said. “Being able to interact with people in the legal field directly and in a positive way could leave indelible impressions that help open their eyes to new possibilities in so many ways.”

One conduit to those possibilities may come from the firm’s sponsorship of Blaine’s inaugural installation of Vello – an innovative, one-on-one virtual reading program of the United Way. Students in a Blaine second-grade class and Greenberg Traurig employees will read online together for 30 minutes, communicating via headphones. The sessions will continue through the end of the 2020 school year.

The United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, a Read by 4th partner, is launching Vello at the School District of Philadelphia this year and expects to garner the types of results seen in other locations nationwide that have adopted the system into reading curricula.

“We recognize there are professionals in our community who are ready and willing to raise their hands to make a difference – but barriers like commuting and hectic schedules can make it nearly impossible to volunteer,” said Bill Golderer, president and CEO of UWGPSNJ. “That’s why we’re grateful to partners like Wells Fargo, our presenting sponsor, and for generous corporate sponsors like Greenberg Traurig, who are bringing Vello to Philadelphia.
“It’s inspiring to see the firm’s commitment to offering innovative employee volunteer engagement opportunities.”

Representatives of the firm will participate in a literacy celebration and formal launch of Vello at Blaine on March 5 as part of local commemorations of Read Across America Week.

About Greenberg Traurig’s Philadelphia Office: Founded in 1997, Greenberg Traurig’s Philadelphia office is home to more than 50 lawyers and more than a dozen practices including Real Estate, Litigation, Restructuring & Bankruptcy, Corporate, White Collar Defense & Special Investigations, Environmental, Immigration & Compliance, Investment Regulation, Labor & Employment, Public Finance, Government Law & Policy, Private Wealth Services, and Tax. The Philadelphia office represents clients in the manufacturing, health care, real estate, energy, financial, and insurance industries, state and local governments, professional service, and energy firms, and individuals.

About Greenberg Traurig, LLP: Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GT) has approximately 2,200 attorneys in 41 locations in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. GT has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, diversity, and innovation, and is consistently among the largest firms in the U.S. on the Law360 400 and among the Top 20 on the Am Law Global 100. Web: Twitter: @GT_Law