Since 2002 through Reading is the Way Up, City National Bank has:

  • Donated more than 300,000 books to California, Nevada, Nashville, Atlanta and New York libraries.
  • Awarded more than $1,000,000 to teachers in elementary, middle and high schools for creative literacy projects.
  • Supported colleagues who have volunteered to read to children.

Program Recognition

  • Received the 2013 Innovations inReading Prize Award presented by the National Book.
  • Received the 2013 Above and Beyond Award for Excellence in Community Service presented by the Angel Light Academy Leadership Training Institute.
  • Recognized by the Los Angeles City Council in June 2009 for efforts to promote literacy in the City of Los Angeles.
  • Acknowledged by the City Council of Los Angeles with an official proclamation initiated by Council member Tom La Bonge in appreciation for City National’s support of local schools.
  • Honored as the Corporate Visionary Partner by The Wonder of Reading and received the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Corporate Citizen Award.
  • In 2006, received the Corporate Award from the Getty House Foundation.
  • Received the 2005 President’s Volunteer Service Award, the 2005 Corporate Philanthropy Award from the Los Angeles Public Library.


As both a traveling drama teacher in LAUSD (2nd largest public school system in the country) as well as a YA author, I cannot stress how important the Reading Is The Way up grants have been to the LA public schools. The books purchased for the middle and high schools were the only new releases the schools received both this year and last. The two grants spurred fifty LA teen authors to donate visits to 25 schools to discuss those very books with hundreds of students: win/win/win. On the elementary level, the RITWU grant of two sets of classroom books was instrumental in our receiving another donation from a different organization to use for field trips, art materials and theatre set pieces that not only furthered student understanding of the books but helped them create art and poetry performances to express the author's themes. Bravo to City National Bank's Reading Is The Way up! Program. We absolutely couldn't have done it with you!

Carol Tanzman
National Board Certified Teacher and YA author

I am very grateful for the literacy grant that was provided to me and my students this past school year. For many years I had funded "Kid City",my classroom management system, with my limited resources and some occasional donations from concerned parents. The funding received from City National Bank took my program to another level. With the provided funds I was able to extend my students's learning via extra field trips. In addition, the incentives purchased with the extra funds motivated the students to excel in academic areas in which they would have normally done barely enough to get by. All of my students met the requirements for promotion, and many of them performed well above projected expectations. The impact was so significant that one of my students renamed the bank "Kid City National Bank".

Kirk Stanley
Teacher, Long Beach, CA

Applying for and being awarded the Reading is the Way Up grant has been an incredible experience for my class. In the past, my classroom library consisted of a meager collection of books that my students would dutifully read but had no interest in. Consequently, the students didn't look forward to reading time and they were indirectly getting the message that reading was a boring chore to complete.

Because of this situation, I knew I had to find a way to refresh my classroom library and bring the fun and excitement back to reading. Well, I am happy to report that with the generous donation of City National Bank, I was empowered to do just that. With the books I purchased using the funds from the grant, I have turned our bookshelves into the magical wonderland that they're supposed to be. We have books on topics from dinosaurs to presidents, from rainforests to robotics, and the students simply can't get enough of them. They have been reading like crazy and some are even requesting to stay in at recess to read! That's incredible!

And, to make matters even better, the children are also comprehending more from their reading. I attribute this to the fact that they're reading about things they want to read about. In other words, City National has helped me to pull the ultimate switcheroo. Now the students aren't reading because I want them to, they're reading (and learning) because they want to… and this is the ultimate goal of any teacher!

On behalf of my class and me, thank you City National Bank for helping me show my students that Reading is (indeed) the Way Up!

Eric Slay
Teacher, Anaheim, CA