Book Dealers staff doing a read in, lesson on anti racism and book giveaway


What Are Community Action Grants?

Each school year and summer the Oakland Literacy Coalition invites applications for action grants of up to $500 for reading projects across the community that give away high interest, new books and encourage reading with Oakland children and youth.

The following are a few examples of projects from this year and we welcome your fun and creative ideas!

  • An in-person and live streamed Children’s Storytime for QTBIPOC families, with interactive stories by youth, teen and adult leaders, and library card sign up with an Oakland librarian.
  • A visit with a local African American author-illustrator for children and families to listen to a story and learn illustration techniques.
  • A girls book club where students invite a friend to come read and discuss the same book with a facilitator. Students take the book home and continue reading in between sessions.
Who Should Apply?

Oakland-based community organizations and faith-based organizations that work with preschool through middle school age children are encouraged to apply for events in community-based (not school-based) spaces. We also welcome applications from informal neighborhood and/or cultural groups and childcare providers.

Your organization does NOT need to have a literacy or education component in order to apply, We believe that literacy happens everywhere and we LOVE working with all kinds of organizations to reach kids where they are and inspire a love of reading.

Organizations may apply on behalf of one or more sites/locations but  are required to submit separate applications for each. 

Schools and nonprofits that run school-based programs are not eligible for action grants at this time. However, we frequently have other opportunities for teachers and school-based educators and programs to apply for books for your students.

Important Details (Please Read Carefully):
  • All participating students must receive at least one new book to keep. The OLC has access to a large quantity of new, free, high interest books that grantees will be able to pick up from our office starting May 30, 2023. 
  • We welcome projects and book giveaways that focus on promoting literacy in languages other than English.
  • Projects should either directly engage students’ families or share information with families on how to support reading at home. The OLC will provide you with a toolkit of resources.
  • Applications will be prioritized that present a clear and compelling idea for how they’ll respond to students’ interests and needs.
  • Grant amounts will be awarded based on the estimated number of students served and the scope of the project. Grants can be used for project activities, including food and supplies. Please include a brief description (a detailed budget is not required).
  • You can apply for only books, only grant money, or both books and grant money up to $500.
  • If you only need books, please apply and put $0 in the “Amount Requested” field.
  • Please specify if you have a particular book that you would like to purchase with the grant money instead of coming to pick out books (we can’t guarantee specific titles on hand at the OLC office).
How to Apply:

Interested organizations are asked to submit the brief online request form linked below – starting April 17. We estimate the application should take 30-45 minutes.

We are happy to work with you to come up with an idea for your project or submit your request. Please reach out to us!

Key Dates:
  • Applications will be released on April 17, 2023, and can be submitted anytime until May 19, 2023 by 11:59pm.
  • The OLC will review applications and announce final funding decisions by Monday, May 30.
  • Grantees will need to come to the OLC office (2744 E 11th Street) to pick up books starting June 1. We will work with you to coordinate a time for pickup.
  • Projects must be completed by August 18, 2023.
  • Grantees will be asked to submit a short report by September 8, 2023
Click here to access the Summer 2023 Application. 

If you have questions about applying for an action grant or book distribution, please send us an email at

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