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March 7, 2022

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


Joyce Macek

Executive Director, Reading Partners Seattle



Funds will help Reading Partners support students in Seattle and across the country at a time when learning disruptions have disproportionately impacted students experiencing economic challenges

(Seattle, CA) March 7, 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 across the country each year.

Reading Partners collaborates with under-resourced public schools in Seattle Public Schools, Highline Public Schools and 11 other regions across the US and recruits and trains 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. 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 program in schools, Reading Partners Seattle partners closely with Sanislo Elementary, Rising Star Elementary, Leschi Elementary, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary and Beverly Park Elementary and transforms a dedicated space into a reading center, complete with a library and teaching tools managed by a full-time AmeriCorps member. When the pandemic started, Reading Partners rapidly innovated and launched an interactive online literacy tutoring program and digital library to ensure students could still receive their weekly tutoring sessions when schools were closed. The new platform, Reading Partners Connects, enables students and tutors to connect online and includes a curriculum aligned with Common Core and state literacy standards.

MacKenzie Scott’s contribution will support the expansion of Reading Partners Connects and the organization’s mission of helping children become skilled, confident, lifelong readers. Over the next few years, Reading Partners aims to leverage Reading Partners Connects, other innovations, and community-centered partnerships to support far more students than ever before. For the Reading Partners Seattle team, this means working with more schools in Seattle, exploring community-based partnerships and launching new school district partnerships around the Puget Sound and beyond.

“This unprecedented gift is a huge support for early literacy in this country, which remains a widespread and critical challenge we have a responsibility to address as a society, especially given the challenges of the past few years,” said Joyce Macek, Executive Director of Reading Partners Seattle. “We are so grateful to MacKenzie Scott for entrusting us with this generous unrestricted gift. We are thrilled it supports our work nationally and the expansion of our program in her hometown. Every investment in Reading Partners is an investment in the students and communities we are so proud to partner with. Whether it’s a monetary donation of any size, a year of AmeriCorps service, or any one of the thousands of tutoring sessions delivered by volunteers each year in our partner schools, each contribution we receive is valued because it brings us a step closer to our vision of educational equity for all students.”

The extraordinary challenges of the past few years have exacerbated pre-existing opportunity gaps, with pandemic-related learning disruptions disproportionately impacting Black, Latinx and Indigenous 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 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 Seattle, please visit To make a contribution toward Reading Partners’ $100 million growth initiative to support exponentially more students, please visit

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)

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 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.

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  • Logo for Deerbrook Charitable Trust

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