February 24, 2022
National Nonprofit, Reading Partners, Receives Unsolicited $20 Million from MacKenzie Scott
National senior director of marketing & communications, Reading Partners
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Nonprofit, Reading Partners, Receives Unsolicited $20 Million from MacKenzie Scott and Announces Plans to Raise $100 Million Over Three Years to Advance Educational Equity Through Early Literacy
“This unprecedented gift is a huge win for early literacy in this country, which remains a widespread and critical challenge we have a responsibility to address as a society.”
-Adeola Whitney, CEO of Reading Partners.
(Oakland, CA) February 24, 2022 – Reading Partners received a $20 million, unrestricted gift from MacKenzie Scott to support the national nonprofit’s evidence-based early literacy intervention program. This comes as the organization is embarking on an initiative to raise more than $100 million over three years to provide a range of literacy support services to tens of thousands of students each year.
Reading Partners collaborates with under-resourced public schools in a dozen regions across the country and mobilizes community volunteers to provide students with the proven, individualized reading support they need to read at grade level by fourth grade. Working one-on-one with their tutors, students become proud, confident readers and research shows that students who read at grade level by fourth grade have a greater opportunity to shine in school and beyond.
To deliver its traditional program in schools, Reading Partners transforms a dedicated space into a reading center, complete with a library and teaching tools managed by a full-time AmeriCorps member or staff member. When the pandemic started, Reading Partners rapidly innovated and launched an interactive online literacy tutoring program—with access to a digital library—to ensure students could still receive their weekly tutoring sessions during campus closures and limited access. The new program model, Reading Partners Connects, enables students and tutors to connect safely online, and includes a curriculum aligned with Common Core and state literacy standards.
Over the next few years, Reading Partners aims to leverage Reading Partners Connects and other programmatic innovations and community-centered partnerships to positively impact far more students than ever before. The contribution from MacKenzie Scott provides timely support as Reading Partners aims to accelerate progress toward its mission of helping children become skilled, confident, lifelong readers.
“We are so grateful to MacKenzie Scott for this donation of unrestricted resources, given to the organization with full trust that we will maximize this generous gift,” said Adeola Whitney, CEO of Reading Partners. “Every investment in Reading Partners is an investment in the students and communities we are so proud to partner with. Whether it’s 200 dollars, 20 million dollars, a year of AmeriCorps service, or any one of the hundreds of thousands of tutoring sessions delivered by volunteers each year, every contribution we receive is precious to us because it brings our vision of educational equity into clearer focus.”
The extraordinary challenges of the past few years have exacerbated pre-existing opportunity gaps, with pandemic-related learning disruptions disproportionately impacting Black and Latino students and students experiencing economic disadvantages. Reading Partners is committed to ensuring that all students receive equitable access to a high-quality literacy education, and rigorous past research has proven that Reading Partners helps students significantly increase reading proficiency.
Reading Partners believes reading is foundational and that the ability to read transforms lives and empowers children and communities to thrive. To get involved with or learn more about Reading Partners, please visit readingpartners.org. To make a contribution toward Reading Partners’ $100 million growth initiative to support exponentially more students, please visit readingpartners.org/donate.
A regional coordinator supports a Reading Partners student working remotely with a volunteer tutor using the Reading Partners Connects program innovation (photo credit: Reading Partners)
About Reading Partners
For over 20 years, Reading Partners has helped empower students to succeed in school and beyond by engaging community volunteers to provide one-on-one literacy tutoring. Since its founding, the national nonprofit organization has mobilized over 70,000 community volunteers to provide proven, individualized literacy tutoring to nearly 70,000 elementary school students in over 450 under-resourced schools across ten states and the District of Columbia. Visit readingpartners.org to learn more about our program impact and our Reading Partners Connects online program innovation, or connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Reading Partners is a proud AmeriCorps service partner and has been endorsed by The New York Times.
Learn more about MacKenzie Scott’s perspective on giving.