PLATINUM2022

Ferst Readers, Inc.

A child's path to a brighter future is paved with books.

aka Ferst Foundation   |   Madison, GA   |  http://www.ferstreaders.org

Mission

Ferst Readers' mission is to “strengthen communities by providing quality books and literacy resources for children and their families to use at home during the earliest stages of development."

Ruling year info

1999

CEO/President

Ms. Davida Morgan-Washington

Main address

PO Box 1327

Madison, GA 30650 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

58-2489181

NTEE code info

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The single most significant factor influencing a child's early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school, yet 61% of low income families do not have even one age-appropriate book for their child in the home. This lack of language/literacy exposure at an early age is one of the key reasons children enter kindergarten without basic early literacy skills and school readiness. In fact, an array of consequences including obesity, academic failure, substance abuse, teen pregnancy and juvenile delinquency have been linked to a child's literacy level and correlated with inadequate early exposure to books. Ferst Readers targets these issues by providing children, 0-5 years, with developmentally appropriate books, mailed to them at home every month, and their parents with essential literacy support that reinforces the importance of early learning and encourages them to read frequently with their children.

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?

Ferst Readers Early Literacy Program

The single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school, yet 61% of low income families do not have even one age-appropriate book for their child in the home. This lack of language/literacy exposure at an early age is one of the key reasons children enter kindergarten without basic early literacy skills and school readiness.

Founded in 1999, Ferst Readers addresses the critical issue of children from low-income communities entering kindergarten without basic early literacy skills and school readiness. Our recipe for encouraging early literacy development is to ensure that children have age-appropriate books in their home and that parents have access to useful resources to support them as their child’s first teacher. A newsletter accompanies each book, with a reading guide for the parent and a story-related activity for the child.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Parents

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

Infants and toddlers

Related Program

Ferst Readers Early Literacy Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We mail quality, age-specific books to children, birth to five, monthly. Our Read To Me Library books are evaluated according to strict guidelines and selected for maximum developmental impact.

Number of children, birth to five, receiving books and literacy resources mailed to them at home.

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

Infants and toddlers, Parents, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Ferst Readers Early Literacy Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

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.

Ferst Readers' overall goals and objectives are to:
1) provide quality, age appropriate books for children, birth to five, mailed to them at home every month
2) provide parents with the resources they need to be effective as their child's “first teacher"
3) partner with local organizations to support early literacy efforts in the community
4) increase the number of children, especially from low-income environments, entering school with the necessary skills for learning success
5) positively affect the number of children who graduate from high school

Ferst Readers partners with local communities and organizations/foundations to get our youngest and most vulnerable what they need, where they are – books in the home beginning at birth. Community Action Teams, or CATs, are our dedicated all-volunteer teams who oversee and administer the Ferst Readers program in their county/community. CATs are responsible for registering children and promoting literacy through partnerships with other local organizations. They also raise the majority of the cost ($36 per year per child) locally through donations from individuals, foundations, businesses, civic groups, corporate sponsorships, and churches. This local involvement enables sustainability by creating a diverse funding base and helps build capacity at the community level around the important issue of literacy.

Partner Action Teams (PATs) are formed when a specific funding group wants to target a unique group of children for program enrollment. A civic organization may sponsor a number of daycare centers in a low-income neighborhood or support several Head Start classrooms. PATs allow Ferst Readers to have the flexibility to make its valuable program available in creative ways.

Ferst Readers has come a long way since it was founded in 1999. A strong core staff collaborates with more than 500 volunteers in 90 counties/communities across seven states to implement our program. Strategic partnerships with programs such as Talk With Me Baby, Get Georgia Reading, the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading, Texas Home Visiting Program help support the work of early literacy and move the needle on grade level reading. Ferst Readers mails sixty different children's book titles each year – each one designated for a particular birth year. These books are reviewed annually by a panel of experts in early child development/education/library science and are evaluated according to strict guidelines for maximum developmental impact. Parent resources, in print and online, include researched-based reading strategies for a deeper dive into building early literacy skills, in addition to other essential information that promotes reading together and underscores the importance of developing early literacy skills. Ferst Readers has mailed more than 6.5 million books to children at home in the past 20 years and currently serves more than 47,000 children, birth to five.

Based on recent program evaluations, it is evident that Ferst Readers is moving the needle on grade level reading. Results from these evaluations indicate:
• Ferst Readers participation helps develop the skills children need to be successful in school.
• Ferst Readers children demonstrate better reading behaviors, are much more actively engaged during story time and are better listeners.
• Ferst Readers parents are more engaged across the board in their children's academic progress than non-Ferst Readers parents.
• The Ferst Readers program contributes to "leveling the playing field" for children who, because of socioeconomic factors, would likely enter school up to two years behind their peers.

Beyond that, through our partnerships in local communities, we've built capacity around the issue of early literacy and helped more children enter school with the skills they need to be successful learners.

Targeting parent engagement as an integral component of improving early literacy is at the forefront for next steps. We will be increasing resources, adding platforms for communications and providing literacy coaching workshops for community partners.

Financials

Ferst Readers, 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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  • 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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Ferst Readers, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 12/02/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Errika Moore

TAG-Ed

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Paul Alberto

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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 11/3/2022

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
Black/African American
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