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Ysleta ISD wins $25K grant

The Ysleta Independent School District is among 100 recipients nationwide – and the only one in El Paso – to win a $25,000 State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant, which will help pay for a special Ysleta ISD book festival to promote reading and address the literacy needs of the community.

State Farm Neighborhood Assist, a crowd-sourced philanthropic program, seeks to empower communities to identify issues in their neighborhoods and apply for funding for specific improvement projects. Grant recipients were selected based on online voting by the public.

Over the course of 10 days of online voting this spring, 88,000 people cast more than 2 million votes to determine the grant recipients from 34 states. In Texas, eight neighborhood improvement projects were chosen to receive the $25,000 grant, including Ysleta ISD’s proposal for a “Communities Reading Together Book Festival.”

The book festival would not only connect the Ysleta ISD community with public and school libraries, but would also allow families to meet and hear from authors of popular literature; connect with book vendors; buy books to expand their home libraries; and get information about free events and resources available to city library cardholders.

“Encouraging our economically and educationally diverse community to tap into these free resources is at the heart of this project,” said Rebecca Calderon, Ysleta ISD’s coordinator of libraries. “The festival may prompt someone to open a book and take a peek, or it may spark the imagination of a future space traveler, deep sea diver, research professor, or perhaps a creative storyteller or a future librarian.

“Teaching Ysleta ISD families how to build a good relationship with their local library can have a positive lifelong impact,” she added.

The grant money would also help provide free El Paso Public Library cards to families who don’t live within the city limits and would normally have to pay $50 for a nonresident library card.

Over the past 11 years, nearly 500 causes have received a total of $12.5 million to enact change in their communities through the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program.

 “State Farm is happy to celebrate its 100th anniversary by providing these 100 causes with grant money to help them address the needs in their communities,” said Rasheed Merritt, Assistant Vice President at State Farm. “We look forward to seeing the impact these $25,000 grants will have.”

This grant was written in collaboration between the district's Library Services Department and the Office of Competitive Grants.

For a complete list of this year’s 100 winners, please visit: