FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kimberly Lannear

March 1, 2021 Community Engagement and Outreach Manager


NASHVILLE, TN—Urban League of Middle Tennessee, in partnership with the web-based application BookNook, has launched a free literary initiative for kindergarten through third-grade students enrolled in three Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. The Read and Rise Literacy program provides one-hour virtual tutoring for children who attend Schwab, Amqui, and Warner Elementary Schools. A parent or caretaker can accompany children during the one-on-one session with an adult volunteer, who will teach phonics, reading comprehension and offer interactive reading games. The program also provides social emotional learning. 

“ULMT recognized that Read and Rise would not only be impactful in changing the lives within underserved communities, but it was also fiscally-sound and sustainable. BookNook has proven to be effective across the country,” said ULMT CEO Clifton Harris. “The tutor and student relationship dynamic unlocks the possibility of what children can be and allows them to envision what they can have with someone who looks like them. The child’s family can be involved. Also, it allows the volunteer to give back.” 

Read and Rise will run from March 1 through April 30. Individuals who are interested in volunteering may visit

About the National Urban League and Urban League of Middle Tennessee 

Established in 1910, The National Urban League is the nation’s oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream. Today, the National Urban League, headquartered in New York City, spearheads the non-partisan efforts of its local affiliates. Over 90 local affiliates of the National Urban League located in 36 states and the District of Columbia providing direct services to more than 2 million people nationwide through programs, advocacy, and research.

The Urban League of Middle Tennessee was chartered on April 15, 1968, by a group of diverse business and community leaders to “Carry on social service programs improving the economic welfare of Negroes.” In 2008, ULMT celebrated 52 years of Empowering Nashville and Middle Tennessee Communities and has built a strong reputation for connecting job seekers and employers together for success. Since 2004, ULMT has added up to 12 million dollars back into the Nashville economy due to successes in connecting clients with employers. 

The Urban League of Middle Tennessee’s mission is to enable African Americans, other minorities, and disenfranchised groups to secure economic self-reliance, power, parity, and civil rights. Efforts focused on the following areas: Economic Empowerment – which includes workforce development, jobs, housing, and entrepreneurship; Youth & Education services focused on ensuring academic competence while preparing our young people for life, leadership and success within a global economy; Health & Quality of Life for all and particularly for the least of our citizens; Civic Engagement and empowering communities through participation in the political process; and Civil Rights and Racial Justice. 

Whitney M. Young Jr. best articulated the Urban League’s need during his tenure as executive director from 1961 – 1971. He stated, “As this country sinks deeper into polarization and bitterness, the need for the Urban League’s role as a bridge between the races and as a problem-solver and a hope-giver becomes more crucial.”