PLATINUM2023

LitWorld International Inc.

Be The Story!

aka LitWorld   |   New York, NY   |  litworld.org

Mission

Strengthening kids and communities through the power of stories. LitWorld is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that creates connection, builds understanding, and cultivates confidence, leveraging literacy as a pathway for self-expression and change-making. Our child-centered programs and campaigns develop the 7 Strengths: Belonging, Friendship, Kindness, Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Hope. When kids are free to explore their identities and express their dreams, they have the power to create lasting change in their lives, their communities, and beyond.

Ruling year info

2008

Executive Director

Caitlin Cassaro

Main address

1115 Broadway, 12th Floor

New York, NY 10010 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

13-4367685

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

lliteracy​ ​is​ ​deeply​ ​tied​ ​to​ ​poverty.​ ​The​ ​inability​ ​to​ ​read​ ​and​ ​write​ ​fluently​ ​along​ ​with​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​material​ ​and cultural​ ​capital​ ​together​ ​form​ ​an​ ​entrenched​ ​legacy​ ​of​ ​inequity—generation​ ​after​ ​generation.​ 15 million​ ​children​ ​in​ ​the​ ​U.S. live​ ​in​ ​families​ ​under​ ​the​ ​federal​ ​poverty​ ​threshold,​ ​and​ ​child poverty​ ​rates​ ​are​ ​highest​ ​among​ ​black,​ ​Latino,​ ​and​ ​American​ ​Indian​ ​children. ​​Despite​ ​evidence​ ​of a​ ​direct​ ​correlation​ ​between​ ​access​ ​to​ ​books​ ​and​ ​success​ ​in​ ​school,​ ​children​ ​living​ ​in​ ​high​ ​poverty​ ​have few​ ​sources​ ​for​ ​age-appropriate​ ​and​ ​culturally​ ​relevant​ ​books​ ​and​ ​​educational​ ​technology, especially​ ​during​ ​the ​hours​ ​they​ ​spend​ ​outside​ ​of​ ​school.​ For communities that have been systematically oppressed and kept down, we provide a platform for voices to be heard, stories to be shared, and resilience to shine through.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

LitClubs

LitClubs target children aged 10-14, bringing them together once a week in a supportive literacy environment to use their own stories and experiences to increase civic engagement, future outlook, and sense of personal value.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Families

LitCamps are one to five week intensive literacy and enrichment programs designed to combat the reading loss that happens when children are not engaged in reading during pivotal out of school time.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

The HerStory Campaign uniquely addresses girls' needs using LitClubs, HerStory Summits, and other innovative girl-focused programming, amplifying and championing the voices of girls through storytelling, mentorship, and self-advocacy.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Children and youth

The LitCorps program immerses teens and young adults in the LitWorld philosophy and equips them with the tools to become literacy advocates in their schools and communities, helping them to explore their own stories and the passions that inspire them to act.

College students were trained and dispatched to three different LitCamp sites in New York City, gathering invaluable on-the-ground feedback on implementation of LitCamp program and serving as advocates of the 7 Strengths-Belonging, Friendship, Kindness, Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Hope- and joyful literacy learning.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults

World Read Aloud Day is celebrated by millions of children, teens, and adults in more than 170 countries, bringing attention to the power of shared stories and creating a community of readers who show the world that the right to literacy belongs to us all.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Awards

Library of Congress Literacy Awards Honoree 2019

Library of Congress

Affiliations & memberships

Library of Congress Honoree 2019

Non Profit Excellence Award-New York Semi-Finalist for Best Practice Non Profit 2019

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Young adults, Older adults, Adolescents, Children, Preteens

Related Program

LitClubs

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

LitWorld’s​ ​mission​ ​​is to strengthen kids and communities through the power of stories. We​ ​powerfully​ ​provide​ ​a​ ​combination​ ​of​ ​access​ ​to​ ​resources​ ​and​ ​also​ ​training​ ​and​ ​support for​ ​families​ ​and​ ​mentors​ ​to​ ​actively​ ​engage​ ​children​ ​in​ ​deep​ ​literacy​ ​exploration​ ​that​ ​helps​ ​them​ ​value their​ ​own​ ​stories—the​ ​stories​ ​of​ ​their​ ​lives,​ ​their​ ​communities​ ​and​ ​cultures,​ ​their​ ​hopes​ ​and​ ​dreams, and​ ​their​ ​imaginations.​ ​​Working​ ​across​ ​the​ ​United​ ​States​ ​and​ ​around​ ​the​ ​world,​ ​LitWorld​ ​employs side-by-side​ ​partnerships​ ​with​ ​local​ ​organizations​ ​and​ ​school​ ​districts,​ ​harnessing​ ​the​ ​ability​ ​of​ ​a community​ ​to​ ​boost​ ​itself​ ​from​ ​within.

For​ ​LitWorld,​ ​the​ ​mastery​ ​of​ ​literacy​ ​goes​ ​well​ ​beyond​ ​learning​ ​to​ ​read​ ​words​ ​on​ ​a​ ​page​ ​or​ ​to construct​ ​a​ ​functional​ ​sentence​ ​or​ ​paragraph.​ ​With​ ​transformational​ ​literacy,​ ​students​ ​gain self-understanding,​ ​the​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​listen​ ​deeply,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​interpersonal​ ​skills​ ​to​ ​work​ ​collaboratively​ ​and empathetically​ ​with​ ​others.​ ​We​ ​also​ ​understand​ ​that​ ​transformational​ ​literacy​ ​can​ ​occur​ ​only​ ​in​ ​​a​ ​safe, supportive​ ​environment​ ​fueled​ ​by​ ​caring​ ​mentor​ ​and​ ​peer-to-peer​ ​relationships,​ ​and​ ​that​ ​it​ ​has​ ​its​ ​fullest impact​ ​when​ ​there​ ​is​ ​access​ ​to​ ​high-quality​ ​academic​ ​enrichment​ ​and​ ​varied​ ​reading​ ​materials​ ​and technology.​ ​Our​ ​innovative​ ​evaluation​ ​tools​ ​demonstrate​ ​that​ ​LitWorld​ ​programs​ ​result​ ​in​ ​a​ ​dramatic increase​ ​in​ ​children's​ ​reading​ ​and​ ​writing​ ​capacities,​ ​civic​ ​engagement,​ ​future​ ​outlook,​ ​and​ ​sense​ ​of personal​ ​value,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​improvements​ ​in​ ​reading​ ​and​ ​writing​ ​habits​ ​and​ ​in​ ​overall​ ​literacy​ ​levels.

In our programs and campaigns, we engage children with rich, authentic literature to develop their literacy skills and create a pathway to confidence, self-expression, and change-making. Working across the U.S. and around the world, LitWorld engages in partnerships with local organizations, school districts, and corporations, providing a combination of access to resources with training and support. LitWorld’s programs help kids cultivate self-understanding and the confidence to work collaboratively and empathetically with others. When children are free to explore their identities and share their stories, they find the power to create lasting change in their lives, their communities, and beyond.

LitClubs and LitCamps give children and families a safe place to share stories, build trust, and experience mentoring from supportive adults while strengthening their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. LitClubs are year-round after school programs—managed through our partnerships with over 50 grassroots and mission-driven organizations around the world—that encourage kids to own and author their stories, developing self-empowerment and creating social change through literacy. LitCamps are run during school breaks to bring joy, community, and academic development to students and teachers, while working to combat the summer slide. We work with Scholastic to bring LitCamps to classrooms across the US.

The HerStory Campaign, co-founded with our partner Global G.L.O.W., uniquely addressed the needs of women and girls through LitClubs, HerStory Summits, and other innovative girl-focused programming, amplifying and championing the voices of girls through storytelling, mentorship, and self-advocacy.

World Read Aloud Day is our major advocacy day, celebrated by millions of children, teens, and adults in more than 120 countries, bringing attention to the power of shared stories and creating a global community of readers who show the world that the right to literacy belongs to us all.

Our core value is that literacy is a research-proven form of protection that fortifies children, supports their social development at every age, and leads to high-impact health and economic benefits. LitWorld’s acclaimed model is predicated on side-by-side partnering with local community organizations. The success of the work is rooted in active listening and collaborative goal-setting with our partners to achieve desired literacy outcomes. Our expertise helps community-based leaders, young people and families connect to literature and literacy in the deepest possible ways, sharing best practices that build and fortify independence, hope and joy in the lives of children and their families.

LitWorld provides a combination of access to resources with the training and support for families and mentors to actively engage children in deep literacy exploration that leads them to value the stories of their own lives. LitWorld activates this mission through its core programs. LitClubs are LitWorld’s signature out-of-school program, which provide a haven for literacy development and social-emotional exploration. We run LitClubs in partnership with locally-based organizations that have access to community members who can become LitClub mentors, groups of children who can become LitClub members, safe spaces for the clubs to meet, and places where they can connect with other LitClubs virtually. LitCamp is a breakthrough summer literacy program that combines innovative research-based reading and writing lessons with an engaging and interactive summer camp approach. LitWorld also touches millions of lives across the world through a number of annual advocacy efforts, including the LitWorld created World Read Aloud Day, Stand Up for Girls, and Story Summits.

LitWorld currently reaches over 7,000 children, teens, and adults through year-round LitClubs and HerStory programs with our on- the-ground partners where every child has access to a supportive network of mentors and peers. Through a partnership with Scholastic, LitCamp is in the hands of 1 million kids in over 45,000 classrooms across the US, making year-round learning more established and permanent within communities. Every child enrolled in K-8 summer literacy programming through the New York City Department of Education is a LitCamper, and the administration and teachers alike say they have never before seen their children’s literacy rates improve so quickly. In 2021, 90 million people across 120 countries engaged in our annual World Read Aloud Day campaign, fostering a value for storytelling within communities and advocating for literacy as a human right. LitWorld's goals are to reach even more children and teens around the world with our programming, empowering them to be global change-makers through the power of story.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time

Financials

LitWorld International Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

LitWorld International Inc.

Board of directors
as of 06/12/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Samantha Siegal

Nadeige Sterlin

Steve Records

Caleb Stratton

Samantha Siegal

Katie Cook

Alice Goh

Nicholas Drayson

Gemma Juan-Simo

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/12/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/08/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.