Philanthropy, Voluntarism, and Grantmaking

Northwest Literacy Foundation

Putting great books in the hands of young readers

Seattle, WA


The mission of Northwest Literacy Foundation is to enhance youth literacy in the Pacific Northwest by providing literature and resources to underserved communities.

Ruling Year


Board President

Alison Peters

Main Address

Po Box 3514

Seattle, WA 98124 USA







Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Philanthropy / Charity / Voluntarism Promotion (General) (T50)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Public schools in the Puget Sound area do not receive adequate funding for new library books each year. New library books are needed to foster basic literacy skills, reading fluency at grade level and confidence among students. Our organization exists to fill the gap between what is necessary (at least $10 per student per year) and what is received per school.

Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Fill the Shelves

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

We want to support a culture of reading at the elementary and middle school levels specifically. We work directly with the school in greatest need of resources (i.e. schools in high poverty areas) so we can make the most significant impact with at-risk students. We want to see circulation rates up, more students reading at grade-level and fresh collections that represent excellent writing and diverse topics and authors.

-We provide grants directly to librarians for them to select the books they need. We don't micro-manage their selections. -We partner with local, independent bookstores so that money stays in our local communities. -We build relationships with schools over time and aim to fund the schools year-after-year. -We establish and apply consistent grantmaking criteria so that schools know how to be eligible and how to apply for funds. -We encourage applications for author visits, in addition to book grants. -We also partner directly with large community library systems on Reading Challenge programs that involve multiple schools

We are celebrating 30 years as a nonprofit organization in 2019. We keep our mission focused on serving the schools that need our resources the most and stay tuned into our core mission. Our all-volunteer board includes directors with expertise in children's literature, school library operations, writing, data and information systems, finance and marketing.

-We assess the age and size of the collections at the schools we partner with, in addition to their annual circulation. -We assess metrics associated with Reading Challenge programs (e.g. number of participating schools and students, geographic reach, number of new schools joining). -We assess if schools eligible for our grants know about us and are applying for grants consistently. -We evaluate new donors each year,

The schools we support are making progress toward collections that represent their student populations. Older books are being replaced with new titles. Circulation is up in schools where we can make investments are made year-after-year. The annual Reading Challenge events at Seattle Public Libraries and Sno-Isle Libraries are growing. Each year, as more teams are participating, the benefits inside the classroom escalate as well.

External Reviews


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

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


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?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable


Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable

Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Sexual Orientation

We do not display sexual orientation information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity