PLATINUM2024

Lead to Read KC

Creating a community of readers, one lunch hour at a time.

Kansas City, MO   |  http://www.leadtoreadkc.org/

Mission

Lead to Read KC’s mission is to support the social, emotional and reading skills that are foundational for student success by advancing our literacy platform and mobilizing community volunteers.

Ruling year info

2017

Interim Executive Director

Ms. Terri Barnes

Main address

P.O. BOX 411006

Kansas City, MO 64141 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

82-1256215

NTEE code info

Adult, Child Matching Programs (O30)

IRS filing requirement

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

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2023, 2022 and 2021.
Register now

Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

A child’s reading proficiency in third grade is the single biggest predictor of high school graduation and life outcomes. Lead to Read KC works with high-need schools in Kansas City where 80% of third graders attending Kansas City Public Schools and Public Charters Schools are not reading proficiently. Research shows that without reading interventions three out of four of these struggling readers will still read below grade-level in ninth grade, jeopardizing their chances for on-time graduation and future success. Our community’s early childhood literacy problem is too big and too multifaceted for school systems to solve in isolation. Now more than ever, our schools need broad-based community support. Lead to Read KC is one such organization. And we do so efficiently, effectively, and with proven results. Additionally, Lead to Read KC helps boost student self-image as we connect each child to a positive, caring adult who serves as their Reading Mentor for a school year.

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?

Lead to Read KC Program

Lead to Read KC is dedicated to supporting the social, emotional and reading skills that are foundational for success. It does this by mobilizing community volunteers, called Reading Mentors, to read one-to-one with elementary students attending high-need schools, managing a 1:1, high-dosage tutoring program through a partnership with Hoot Reading, distributing free children's books across the metro through the Reading Is Everywhere program, and using books to address students' mental health and wellness through a Reading For Life program.

We are KC’s premier literacy volunteer program based on massive community engagement. Distribution of services goes to under-performing schools in low-income communities. We partner with businesses and organizations to provide teams of mentors for whole-class reading sessions. Every student receives individualized reading support for 30 minutes every week over the entire school year.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
At-risk youth

Where we work

Awards

Community Champion 2022

Kansas City Public Schools

Community MVP 2022

15 and the Mahomies Foundation

Outstanding Agency 2021

Blue Hills Neighborhood Association

Certificate of Commendation 2023

American Association of School Libraries

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Hours of volunteer service

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

Children and youth

Related Program

Lead to Read KC Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Major Service Provided, hours of one-to-one reading support and mentoring inside the classroom over the course of of school year.

Number of volunteers

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

Children and youth

Related Program

Lead to Read KC Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We support children’s reading, social, and emotional skills by mobilizing community volunteers to read with students in Kansas City area classrooms.

Number of program sites

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

Children and youth

Related Program

Lead to Read KC Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Every week, Lead to Read KC mobilizes community volunteers to read one-to-one with kindergarten through third-grade students in high-needs schools.

Number of products distributed

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

Children and youth

Related Program

Lead to Read KC Program

Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

At least twice a year we distribute books to each student in our program. In 2019, we induced local author visits into classrooms as part of our program, increasing the volume of books distributed.

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.

Lead to Read KC is working to create a community of readers, because a community that reads is a community that succeeds. Young readers become a community’s future workforce. So it behooves everyone to help children become strong readers and successful students. As a community-powered, reading-based mentoring program, Lead to Read KC provides an on-ramp for the Kansas City community to engage directly with our schools and the students they serve. Every week Lead to Read KC mobilizes 1,400 community volunteers, called Reading Mentors, to read one-to-one for 30 minutes with 1,100 first through third-grade students in Kansas City’s highest-needs schools.

Medical experts have declared a national emergency in children's mental health, citing the serious toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on top of existing challenges. As well, childhood obesity skyrocketed during the pandemic. We are using our literacy platform to promote positive mental health strategies, as well as health and wellness. It's a time of critical need for further development of these life skills. We are in this for the long-term because we know that changing people’s habits can take time. But starting young will create a healthy community of readers who will become the future workforce of Kansas City.

During the 2022-23 school year, Lead to Read KC provided over 25,000 reading and mentoring sessions and donated more than 16,000 books to its students and teaching partners. Lead to Read KC is the largest, most hands-on, literacy volunteer corps in Kansas City. And it aims to be the simplest, making it as convenient as possible for community members to engage directly with students.

Lead to Read KC volunteers start out as lawyers, accountants, engineers, small-business owners, government employees, police officers, nurses, retirees and other community members. But they quickly become cheerleaders, role models, friends and advocates – caring adults in students’ lives who are stakeholders in their success. For many students it may be the only one-to-one reading support they receive.

In addition to improved student literacy skills and the development of mentoring relationships, Lead to Read KC provides a gateway for deeper engagement in our schools, resulting in additional corporate and individual donations of time, money and other resources our schools need. In addition, we aim to support classroom teachers as a trusted community partner. Our ultimate goal is to make Kansas City the city that solves the literacy challenge.

In 2011, Lead to Read KC began as a passion project serving one classroom at Whittier Elementary in Kansas City, Kansas. Today Lead to Read KC is a 501(c)(3) with 1,400 volunteers mentoring 1,100 students in 24 schools and 48 classrooms in Kansas City Public Schools, public charter schools, Center School District, and Kansas City Kansas Public Schools. Lead to Read KC’s vision is to create a community of readers, one lunch hour at a time. The one-to-one student-mentor relationship, centered around a book, is the beating heart of Lead to Read KC’s reading-based mentorship model. Lead to Read KC’s organizational priorities are aligned and organized to maximize the number of students, teachers, schools, and volunteers who benefit from the Lead to Read KC partnership. Tutoring is another one of our key strategies. High-dosage one-to-one tutoring from certified classroom teachers is improving literacy skills for children across Kansas City.

Mobilizing the community in support of our schools and students requires a volunteer model and experience that make it easy for people to sign up and commit for one school year. Lead to Read KC aims to be the easiest, most meaningful volunteer experience in Kansas City. The required commitment is just one lunch hour, once a week, during the school year. Many community support programs come and go in our schools; Lead to Read KC has staying power. In some schools, Lead to Read KC is the longest-running, and most consistent, community partnership the school has.

Lead to Read KC provides its services free of charge to partner schools that have at least 50% of students qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch, and have struggling reading scores. School leaders choose the number of classrooms Lead to Read KC will read in based on student need and the number of volunteers available, as program funding permits.

Volunteer Recruitment and Retention. Lead to Read KC generates its own pipeline of volunteers through proactive recruitment. Lead to Read KC staff identify businesses and organizations in the vicinity of prospective and participating schools and approach them to build partnerships. Helping foster relationships between schools and neighborhoods builds and strengthens community – when employees volunteer in schools, businesses become more invested in those schools’ success. Connecting volunteers with nearby schools also reduces the volunteer time commitment, making it easier for volunteers to commit to a full year of mentoring. Sessions are facilitated by Lead to Read KC Site Coordinators who manage the volunteer-student matches and ensure reading sessions go smoothly. Constant communication with the teachers and administrators is also a key component to our strength in having established such a long standing program.

Below is an overview of Lead to Read KC's programs and services:

Reading and Mentoring - Through partnerships with dozens of Kansas City businesses and organizations, we connect trusted, caring adult volunteers with students in first through third grade, providing students with 30 minutes of one-to-one reading and mentoring support each week. Our cadre of more than 1,200 volunteers pairs with students attending high-need schools each week to support social, emotional and reading skills.

High-dosage 1:1 Tutoring - Through our partnership with Hoot Reading, we offer equitable access to evidence-based, personalized, 1:1 tutoring from an experienced, certified classroom teacher (not a volunteer) three times per week. The one-to-one tutoring - utilizing a digital platform - is improving literacy skills for children across Kansas City.

Reading For Life Author Partnerships - To support students' social-emotional learning as well as health and wellness, we have expanded our author visit program. We partner with local authors whose books focus on mental health and wellness for interactive read-alouds where each student receives a copy of the book to take home.

Reading Is Everywhere Book Distribution - We provide thousands of free books in unconventional places such as barber shops, laundromats, transitional housing, food pantries, social service agencies, and restaurants. The program - which serves residents of both Jackson and Wyandotte Counties - also provides parent education and free books at neighborhood celebrations and community festivals throughout the year.

In 2011, Lead to Read KC began as a passion project serving one classroom at Whittier Elementary in Kansas City, Kansas. Today Lead to Read KC is a 501(c)(3) with 1,200 volunteers who mentor approximately 1,000 students in 24 schools and 48 classrooms in Kansas City Public Schools, public charter schools, Center School District, and Kansas City Kansas Public Schools. Lead to Read KC’s vision is to create a community of readers, one lunch hour at a time. The one-to-one student-mentor relationships center around books, and are the beating heart of Lead to Read KC's reading-based mentorship model.

A two-year study by UMKC's Urban Education Research Center found that our reading and mentoring program is an effective intervention. Students in the Lead to Read KC program outperformed control groups on district reading assessments and sight word acquisition and working with our Reading Mentors improves attendance and classroom behavior. The outcomes from our 1:1 tutoring program show that 98% of students improved reading levels.

Financials

Lead to Read KC
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our 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.

Operations

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

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

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.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

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.

Lead to Read KC

Board of directors
as of 02/08/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Eric Graham

TPG Investments

Term: 2018 - 2024

David Lowe

Lockton Companies

Dina Newman

UMKC Center for Neighborhoods

Ellen Pantaenius

Onspring Technologies

Eric Graham

TPG Investments

Holly Jenkins-Long

LISC of Greater Kansas City

Llyod Jackson

Kansas City Public Schools

Lynn Rundle

Founder of Lead to Read, Member Emeritus

Mark Swanson

Burns & McDonnell

Shawn Creger

Edward Jones

Sue Agrawal

Community Volunteer

Carol Espinosa

Freedom Interiors

Tony Temple

Temple Made Fitness

Jennifer Collier

Kansas City Public Schools

Scott Swezt

American Century Investments

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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/8/2024

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
Black/African American
Gender identity
Female

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/25/2024

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 ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • 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.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • 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.