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November 15, 2012

Innovative Matching Grant Program Funds Highly-Effective Literacy Tutoring Program

$75,000 from The Rose Hills Foundation and Focusing Philanthropy Will Support Reading Partners Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA–National education nonprofit Reading Partners today announced it received two grants totaling $75,000 to support a highly-effective one-on-one literacy tutoring program in Los Angeles. Focusing Philanthropy, a strategic nonprofit dedicated to supporting effective, well managed charities, announced a $25,000 matching grant opportunity to Reading Partners in October 2012. The Rose Hills Foundation committed to match the original grant, as well as contribute an additional $25,000 to Reading Partners. The grants from Focusing Philanthropy and The Rose Hills Foundation will support 500 students across 10 school sites in the Reading Partners program in Los Angeles.

Focusing Philanthropy identifies, evaluates, showcases and supports nonprofit organizations as candidates for informed philanthropy, all from the perspective of active donors who wish to be confident that funds contributed are achieving the greatest possible impact.

“Reading Partners is exactly the type of organization that Focusing Philanthropy is set up to identify, evaluate and support: it has a proven record of achieving significant results in addressing a pressing problem, and it has demonstrated a capacity for significant growth,” said Larry Gilson, Chairman of Focusing Philanthropy. “We are delighted that we are able to help so many young people develop the indispensible reading skills on which success in school and later life depends. At the same time, we know that there is far greater need than we have been able to meet so we encourage others to give to Reading Partners to help them expand their extraordinary impact.”

Reading Partners is a literacy intervention program, offering children one-on-one tutoring with a volunteer. In the 2011-12 school year, Reading Partners provided volunteer-driven individualized instruction to 360 students in Los Angeles County. Eighty-eight percent of Reading Partners’ Los Angeles students accelerated their rate of learning that same year. Nationally, the organization operates in 104 schools, serving 4,150 students in Kindergarten through fifth grade.

In California, only one in four students can read proficiently by the fourth grade. In Los Angeles, 55% of fourth graders read below the “basic” level.

“We are extremely grateful for the support of Focusing Philanthropy and The Rose Hills Foundation. Their investments are a commitment to improving the lives of students, their families, and their communities,” said Michael Lombardo, CEO of Reading Partners. “These grants will enable us to bring our life-changing program to more students in Los Angeles, unlocking the door to a brighter future.”

Reading Partners sees demonstrable results in the reading skills of students in its program. In the 2011-12 school year, 89 percent of students accelerated their progress in reading. Before enrollment last year, Reading Partners students gained an average of only 0.6 months of reading skills for every month in the classroom. By the end of the year with Reading Partners, our students gained an average of 1.6 months of reading skills per month, more than doubling their rate of learning and catching up to their on-grade peers.

About Focusing Philanthropy
Focusing Philanthropy was established in response to the experience of its founders – individuals who were searching for confidence-inspiring, smaller, extraordinary nonprofits that had been closely evaluated and continued to be monitored by a credible, independent group. When they failed to find existing groups that employed sufficiently rigorous diligence or the creative identification of lesser-known but high-impact charities, the founders created Focusing Philanthropy to fill the gap, in support of their own giving and that of others with similar objectives. The organization now showcases15-20 nonprofits on its website, all of which receive support from the founders, who also fund 100% of Focusing Philanthropy’s operating costs. To learn more, visit www.focusingphilanthropy.org.

About Reading Partners
Reading Partners is a national nonprofit that provides volunteer-led, one-on-one literacy tutoring to K-5 students at low-income elementary schools. Reading Partners has an 89% success rate improving students’ reading skills. At each school site, Reading Partners transforms a dedicated space into a reading center and recruits a corps of 40-100 community volunteers who work directly with students. Volunteers are trained and supported by site coordinators to use a highly structured and research-validated curriculum to work one-on-one with students who have fallen behind in reading. To learn more, visit www.readingpartners.org.

Media Contact: Joe Ventura / (510) 830-3035 / joe.ventura@readingpartners.org

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