Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. aka RIF

aka Reading Is Fundamental   |   Washington, DC   |

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Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) works to disrupt the alarming U.S. literacy crisis by inspiring the joy of reading in children, a critical element to driving the frequency, motivation, and engagement needed to create skilled readers. We know that if we build a foundation of joy for children, then development, discovery, and opportunity follow. RIF partners with educators, families, and literacy advocates to bring books and reading resources to children in the communities that need them the most—and in the process, creates new generations of lifelong readers.

Ruling year info


President and CEO

Alicia Levi

Main address

750 First Street NE Suite 920

Washington, DC 20002 USA

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NTEE code info

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Voluntarism Promotion (T40)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

With 25 million children in the United States unable to read proficiently, the literacy crisis affects every community across the country. 63 % of fourth grade children are reading below grade level (1), and only 37% of high school students graduate at or above reading proficiency (2). 20 % of Americans read below the level needed to earn a living wage (3), and it’s estimated that illiteracy costs the U.S. economy $225 Billion each year (4). A productive, thriving nation is dependent on a literate society. Literacy is an essential life skill that provides the foundation for a lifetime of opportunity. We must work together to change these staggering statistics and ensure every child can read. References: (1) NAEP The Nation’s Report Card, October 2017. (2) NAEP The Nation’s Report Card, October, 2015. (3) National Institute for Literacy, Fast Facts on Literacy. (4) National Council for Adult Learning.

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?

Books for Ownership

Books for Ownership, RIF’s flagship reading program, enables children to select new, age-appropriate books to take home and own and is supported by resources for educators, caregivers, and local literacy advocates to create a continuous focus on reading. With only 1 in 300 low-income children owning a book, this program enables participating children to select books to take home and own for the first time. The program relies on a simple yet fundamental truth: if you allow children choice and access, they will be more engaged. Over 50 million children nationwide have had the opportunity to experience the power and excitement of this program.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Read for Success is a kindergarten – 3rd grade supplemental reading program designed to improve reading proficiency and encourage a passion for reading. This evidence-based program is based on the wide body of research that demonstrates that both reading to children and independent reading are key components of literacy development. The program includes three critical elements:
• Book collections for classroom read-alouds
• Instructional resources for educators
• Books for students to choose and take home

Population(s) Served

Skybrary ( is RIF’s interactive, digital library for educators, children, and families, with almost 1,000 eBooks and hundreds of real-world video field trips to engage young readers and encourage a passion for reading. Skybrary inspires children to engage with stories through child-friendly navigation and themed collections of eBooks with optional read-to-me narration and interactive animation. Skybrary for schools includes standards-aligned lessons and easy-to-use teacher management tools.

Population(s) Served

Literacy Central ( is an online destination for teachers, caregivers, and literacy volunteers to get thousands of free digital resources tied directly to the books that children love and teachers turn to every day. The portal provides tools to keep reading resources organized in one place with customizable book lists, printable lesson plans, activities, games, reading passages, calendars, videos, and more.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Children and youth
Children and youth

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.

Number of books distributed

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

Children and youth

Related Program

Books for Ownership

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


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.

Reading Is Fundamental is committed to giving children the confidence to strive, because literacy opens doors to life. Our work is designed to address the literacy crisis in America today, to develop innovative solutions in partnership with leaders in literacy, and to activate local networks nationwide to deliver actionable and measurable solutions.

RIF believes every child deserves an opportunity to own books, learn how to read, and obtain the fundamental building blocks to achieve their highest potential. Literacy opens doors and enables every child the chance to live their own journey. We do this by:
• Serving as the leader in generating awareness and a sense of urgency for the issue of children’s literacy.
• Supporting the implementation of RIF programs in sites across our country in partnership with leading community organizations.
• Creating high-quality content and programs that address key literacy issues.
• Engaging with individual volunteers, sites, community groups, and organizations that share our passion to ensure that impact is created at the local level.

RIF continues to cultivate and diversify funding channels to grow impact and relies on a grassroots network of volunteers and dedicated staff to achieve the mission of a literate America. With their help and local established chapters throughout the country in schools, Head Start programs, community centers, health clinics, migrant camps, and homeless shelters, RIF provides books and supporting literacy resources to reach children wherever they are in need.

RIF has provided more than 100 million children with over 425.6 million books since 1966. RIF's 50-plus year legacy has helped inspire generations of children read, learn, and grow, but the fight for a literate America continues. Today, 25 million children are still not reading at a proficient level, and 34% of children entering kindergarten lack the basic skills needed to learn to read. (1) RIF will continue to be a champion and advocate for children’s literacy until every child reads.

(1) Council on Early Childhood. (2014). Literacy promotion: An essential component of primary care pediatric practice. Pediatrics, 134(2): 404–409

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, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • 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 get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, 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 share the feedback we received with the people we serve

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback


Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. aka RIF

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


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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

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Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. aka RIF

Board of directors
as of 09/01/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. John Remondi


Term: 2006 -

John F. Remondi


J.J. Johnson

Fidelity Investments

Alicia Levi

Reading Is Fundamental

Emily Moore


Camille Hymes


Thomas Plath

International Paper

Rick Zimmerman

Sunny Delight Beverages Co.

Marc Walby

FTI Consulting

Michelle Mesack

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Kevin Smithson

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Michelle Murphy

Trane Technologies

Joe Thornton

Scooter's Coffee

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? No
  • 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 7/11/2023

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


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/01/2021

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

  • 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.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.