GOLD2024

Working in the Schools

Building Communities. Empowering Readers.

aka WITS   |   Chicago, IL   |  http://www.witschicago.org

Mission

WITS believes that literacy is the foundation on which all other learning develops. Our mission is to empower Chicago elementary students to discover themselves through reading while developing foundational literacy skills. We do this by creating community through literacy-based mentorship, enabling teachers to build diverse classroom libraries, and promoting book ownership at home.

Ruling year info

1993

Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Tena Latona

Main address

150 N. Wacker Drive Suite 1120

Chicago, IL 60606 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

36-3891846

NTEE code info

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

Adult, Child Matching Programs (O30)

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

There is an opportunity for WITS to make a significant impact on literacy rates in Chicago. WITS aims to instill in students a lifelong passion for reading through our longitudinal programming.

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?

Mid-day Mentoring

Mid-Day Mentoring (MDM) supports 2nd and 3rd grade students during the later stages of the transition from learning to read and reading to learn. This significant, and often difficult, milestone requires students to exercise strong foundational literacy skills in order to comprehend increasingly challenging curriculum. Volunteers travel to the school and are paired with the same student for an entire school year. Volunteer-student pairs spend time reading aloud and building comprehension skills through conversation. MDM mentors make a weekly or bi-weekly commitment from October-May.

Population(s) Served
Children

WITS Kindergarten (WITSK) develops trusting and fun relationships between adults and students with the intention of developing the mindset for learning at an important developmental age. WITS Kindergarten mentors read one-on-one with kindergarten students, helping them build book and print awareness, letter name and sound recognition, as well as developing a lifelong love of reading. WITSK volunteers commit to working with the same students once a week for 60-90 minutes from October-May.

Population(s) Served
Children

Workplace Mentoring (WPM) provides one-on-one mentorship in a professional setting. 4th through 8th grade students are bussed after school to downtown corporate offices, where they spend time reading. WITS program facilitators lead literacy-based activities, which foster student-mentor conversation and bonding. Participating students also gain insight about what it is like to be a professional employee at a major Chicago firm. WPM mentors make a weekly or bi-weekly commitment from October-May.

Population(s) Served
Children

The WITS Rochelle Lee Teacher Award (RLTA) is an award-based grant for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) pre-kindergarten to eighth grade teachers to help them add brand new books to their classroom libraries. CPS teachers apply for the grant and select books to enhance their libraries and receive books that their students may borrow.

Population(s) Served
Teachers

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Percentage of students who improve reading level growth.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

64% of WITS students met or exceeded the national average for reading level growth in one year.

Percentage of WITS students improve attitudes towards reading.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

At the end of the school year 83% of WITS students said they like reading books for fun, up from 65% at the beginning of the year.

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.

WITS is the only literacy nonprofit best positioned to make a significant impact on literacy rates in Chicago.
That’s because WITS provides whole school enrichment by layering student and teacher literacy programming in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). We have 3 stages of strategic focus to help make WITS even better than ever.

1. Evaluate and drive quality; focus portfolio on highest impact programs.
2. Reimagine WITS literacy delivery through creative design.
3. Expand reach to greatest number of students with highest need.

Financials

Working in the Schools
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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.

Working in the Schools

Board of directors
as of 05/15/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jennifer Alter Warden

Jeremy Cole

Jones Day

Olimpia Bahena

Chicago Public Schools

John Martin

JFM OPS Consulting LLC

Doug Buchler

CIBC US

Patrick Hatton

The Chicago Athletic Association hotel

Maria Arosteguy

KPMG LLP

Stephanie Braming

William Blair & Company

Craig Close

PPM America/ Jackson

Carolyn Goldhaber

Segall Bryant & Hamill

Sydney Morris

Chicago Public Schools

Diane Graham-Henry

Diane Graham-Henry Photography

Philip Hildebrandt

Kweku Obed

Marquette Associates

Kaitlin Reimann

Google

Jennifer Alter Warden

Sana Hakim

K&L Gates LLP

Debra H. Levin

Jenner & Block LLP

Orrin Murray

American Institutes for Research

Crystal Reynolds

The Family Institute at Northwestern University

Maria Seimenis

Deloitte

Kevin Yao

Skybox Capital

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

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/15/2024

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, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data