Agenda for Children


Winter 2019 New Orleans ECHO Fund: Literacy Grant Request for Proposals


Overview of the ECHO Fund

The ECHO Fund is the Early Childhood Opportunity Fund, an innovative grant program that seeks to increase access to high-quality early care and education for New Orleans children, birth through age four, through directly funding early child care center needs. The ECHO Fund is made possible through the generous support of educational leaders and partners at the New Orleans Early Education Network (NOEEN), Agenda for Children, the Louisiana Department of Education, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, United Way, First Book, and the Campaign for Grade Level Reading.

Current Grant Opportunities

The Winter 2019 ECHO Fund Literacy Grant, powered by First Book and the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, intends to help build the capacity of early care and education programs to address Orleans Parish’s challenges in access to and quality of early childhood programming. This new grant program is specifically designed to provide assistance in expanding classroom libraries or purchasing high quality literacy materials. 

Grant Timeline:

Funding for the Winter 2019 ECHO Fund round comes from First Book, a non-profit social enterprise outfitting educators with books and other essential supplies for children in need. Due to grant restrictions, only Type III centers located in Orleans Parish are eligible to participate. 

Purpose of the Grant: What Materials Will be Funded?

The current ECHO Fund Literacy Grant will provide grants of up to $2,500 to assist Early Head Start, Head Start, and other early learning centers / programs who serve 70% or more economically disadvantaged students in purchasing books and literacy materials from First Book’s online Marketplace. 

Purchases are restricted to books available through First Book’s online Marketplace. All grantees are required to register with First Book (at no cost) prior to participation. We encourage interested parties to register as soon as possible. All applicants must separately share their wishlist of books with in order for the application to be considered complete. Please read more in “How to Apply,” below. 

How to Apply

  1. REVIEW: Review all instructions and materials included here, and review the full online application.

  2. PREPARE: 

    1. Create an account on First Book’s Marketplace. Detailed instructions can be found here.

    2. Once you create an account, go to the home page and select “Books” on the top left of the page. (Books are the only allowable purchase for this grant.)

    3. Add your desired books to your wishlist.

      1. Wishlists that exceed $2,500 will NOT be considered and will be ineligible for funding. 

      2. Wishlists should be aligned with the statements and intentions described on your application.

    4. Once you have built a wishlist with a “Grand Total”  at or below $2,500, share the wishlist with Click here for detailed instructions on creating a wishlist. 

    5. Note: If awarded this grant, we will purchase your entire wishlist on your behalf. Please ensure that your wishlist includes  only the purchases that you wish to be made, and do not edit it after November 27, 2019.

  3. SUBMIT: Complete the grant application online by or before the deadline of Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at 5 PM. 

Grant Eligibility and Priorities

Applicants and proposed grant projects must meet the following criteria:

Funding priority will be given to:

Award Notification

The New Orleans Early Education Network will announce our Winter 2019 ECHO Fund grant awards by December 8, 2019 via email to the contact named in the grant application. Some applicants may be contacted between their submission date and the grant announcement to clarify application components. 

Grant Term

The term of the grant is November 14, 2019 – January 2019. Awardees may expect to receive requested books by January 2019. 

Grant Requirements

A clear, complete First Book Marketplace wishlist totaling $2,500 or lower, shared with is REQUIRED in order for your Winter 2019 ECHO Fund application to be considered complete. All purchases on behalf of awardees will be made directly through the Campaign for Grade Level Reading and First Book. Wishlists which are incomplete, developmentally inappropriate, include items that are not related to reading and/or literacy, or which exceed $2,500 will not be considered valid. 

In order to compile a First Book Marketplace wishlist, registration on First Book’s website will be required. Please see details under “How to Apply,” above. 

Important Dates

Overview of the Funding Partners

The New Orleans Early Education Network’s mission is to ensure an excellent start for every child in New Orleans by strengthening the early education sector. NOEEN was created by over 150 local early childhood practitioners to increase access to early childhood education, improve the quality of early learning experiences for young children, and connect organizations who work with and on behalf of young children to resources.

Agenda for Children is a thirty-five year-old nonprofit advocacy and service organization that focuses on the well-being of children, from birth through eighteen years of age. Agenda’s mission is to make Louisiana a state in which all children can thrive and works to educate and train early childhood teachers, connect parents to quality child care, and inform public discussions on the well-being of children.

New Orleans Grade Level Reading Campaign works to ensure all students in New Orleans read at grade level by the end of third grade. The Campaign is a collaborative of community members and professionals from health, education, early childhood development, youth development, business, and philanthropy.

First Book is a non-profit social enterprise outfitting educators with books and other essential supplies for children in need.


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