18 Oct 2023

VM Foundation Banks On Literacy With Lead Sponsorship Of National Reading Competition

Samantha Charles (centre), CEO, VM Foundation shares a moment with the Jamaica Library Service 2023 National Reading Competition champions as they display their trophies after the recent awards ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston. They are (from left) Brianna Frater from Trelawny (15-20 age group); Johana McLeary from St Mary (12-14 age group); Quain Raymond from Portland (six-eight age group); St Mary’s Denese Chambers (nine-11 age group); and Tashique Gibson from Clarendon (21 and over age group). The VM Foundation is the lead sponsor of the Competition.


The VM Foundation has again donated $1 million to the Jamaica Library Service (JLS), to support the 36th staging of the National Reading Competition, held under the theme: ‘Reading is LIT’. As the title sponsor of the programme, the donation underscores the importance of this partnership focused on promoting literacy throughout Jamaica, empowering youth and fostering a culture of learning across all age groups.

In addition to the development of critical reading skills, this year’s staging of the competition benefited from an added financial literacy component, initiated by the Foundation.

“At the VM Foundation, we think about youth development in a holistic way. So, while the JLS lent its expertise toward language literacy, the VM Foundation, through the VM Financial Education to Empower (FETE) Challenge, focused on the financial literacy component. The participants who advanced from the parish finals in the age groups 9-11, 12-14 and 15-20 were fully engaged with a series of expertly tailored financial videos and booklets,” said Samantha Charles, CEO of the VM Foundation while addressing the national finals.

She added, “The resounding success of the financial literacy challenge demonstrates the Foundation’s commitment to advancing the VM Group’s overarching mission: to achieve financial wellbeing by facilitating informed financial decisions while equipping our youth with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the complexities of the modern financial landscape.”

(From left) Maureen Thompson, Director General, Jamaica Library Service is captured with Andre Robb, Programme Lead, VM Foundation and Samantha Charles, CEO, VM Foundation following the Jamaica Library Service’s National Reading Competition awards ceremony held recently at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston. The VM Foundation is the lead sponsor of the Competition.

Maureen Thompson, Director General of the Jamaica Library Service, while delivering remarks at the finals, lauded the VM Foundation for its commitment to youth and community development through the programme. She also emphasised the shared goals between the VM Foundation and the Jamaica Library Service.

Thompson said: “The Jamaica Library Service is grateful to the VM Foundation for recognising these commonalities and for its support in further enhancing the impact of the National Reading Competition. With the VM Foundation’s substantial donation for the second time, the National Reading Competition is positioned to expand its reach and make an even greater difference in promoting literacy throughout the country.”

There were approximately 2,600 participants across the 6-8, 9-11, 12-14, 15-20 and 21 and over age groups for this year’s renewal of the competition, representing a 38 per cent increase over the 2022 edition. The awards ceremony, which was held at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel recently, saw the champions, runners-up and various sectional winners receiving cash awards, trophies, books, tablet computers, hotel stays, and meal vouchers, among other prizes.

The VM Foundation also contributed over $1 million to the Library’s flagship programme last year.


Clover Moore


Assistant Vice President Group Corporate Affairs & Communications