PLATINUM2023

Raising a Reader

Strengthening families through reading: Raising a Reader supports families to build, practice and grow reading together with their children.

Milpitas, CA   |  www.raisingareader.org

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Mission

Mission: Raising a Reader supports families and inspires the development of literacy skills and a lifelong love for reading. We help children attain brighter futures in which they can thrive and contribute in school, the workforce and society. Vision: Vision: Every child has the family support and reading skills they need to thrive. Overview: Raising a Reader is a national nonprofit that partners with parents and local agencies to create brighter futures for children by strengthening family bonds. Family engagement is at the core of what we do. Our evidence-based programs help caring adults set their children up for success by creating shared reading routines, fostering social emotional learning, healthy family relationships and learning skills needed to thrive in school and beyond.

Notes from the nonprofit

When you invest in Raising A Reader you are supporting an organization that believes that when families and educators are given high-quality support, tools, and evidence-based strategies to support early literacy, children will thrive. They will be inspired to engage in developing essential literacy skills, and families will be strengthened through maintaining meaningful shared reading routines. In a society where less than half of U.S. children who live in poverty enter school with the language and reading skills needed for academic success, and where communities of color face disproportionate impacts of poverty, RAR also centers the belief that our programs and approach can be a cornerstone for creating equity and opportunity for all.

Ruling year info

2023

President and CEO

Ms Michelle Torgerson

Main address

Sobrato Center for Nonprofits – Milpitas 489 Valley Way

Milpitas, CA 95035 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

94-3390149

NTEE code info

Kindergarten, Nursery Schools, Preschool, Early Admissions (B21)

Public Health Program (E70)

Family Services (P40)

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

Based on US Census Bureau estimates, 8 of the 16 million children who live in poverty are at risk of failing to read proficiently by 4th grade. Despite the clear evidence of need, a high percentage of children from low-income backgrounds and their families are not receiving support to meet critical developmental and learning milestones. They fall dangerously behind in ways that predict poor school and life outcomes. Parents and/or caregivers are often the most powerful, yet underutilized, resource in changing the trajectory of achievement in young children. RAR addresses the need with: • 'Family Friendly' versions of the most recent research are incorporated into RAR's training and support for families in a practical and understandable way. Families can quickly understand the critical role they play in their child's brain development and how they can help their child succeed. • Practical training provides families the opportunity to understand why reading is important.

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?

Early Literacy & Family Engagement

Raising a Reader is a national nonprofit that reaches over 150,000 children ages 0-8 across 34 states by partnering with parents and local agencies to create brighter futures for children through strengthening family bonds.

Family engagement is at the core of what we do. Our evidence-based programs help caring adults set their children up for success by creating shared reading routines, fostering social emotional learning, healthy family relationships and learning skills needed to thrive in school and beyond.
Through easy-to-use, multilingual materials and diverse stories, we meet families where they are and make shared reading more engaging and accessible for all children.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Infants and toddlers
Children
Immigrants and migrants
Family relationships

Where we work

Accreditations

Better Business Bureau 2023

Awards

Social Capitalist Award 2006

Fast Company Monitor Group

Social Capitalist Award 2007

Fast Company Monitor Group

Social Capitalist Award 2008

Fast Company Monitor Group

Organization Demonstating Best-Practices in Programmatic Success 2015

President Obama’s My Brother's Keeper Alliance

Identified as a Model Practice 2014

U.S. Department of Education's Dual Capacity Framework for Family Engagement

Recognized as a Best Practice 2014

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

Recognized as a Best Practice 2015

Clinton Foundation's Too Small to Fail

Literacy Best Practice Honoree 2021

Library of Congress

Affiliations & memberships

Campaign for Grade Level Reading 2023

Diverse Books for All Coalition 2023

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 children served

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

Children and youth, Family relationships, Ethnic and racial groups, Social and economic status

Related Program

Early Literacy & Family Engagement

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of children and families participating in one of Raising a Reader's three early literacy programs to help families build, practice and grow home reading routines.

Percentage of Affiliates who believe the Raising A Reader program meet their organizations' literacy and learning goals and objectives

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

Children and youth, Family relationships, Social and economic status, Ethnic and racial groups

Related Program

Early Literacy & Family Engagement

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

RAR conducts annual Affiliate surveys and uses this evaluation data to evolve and improve its program offerings. This work drives our mission by helping us measure success.

Percentage of RAR students and families who are part of a minority population (multiracial, Latino, African American, Asian, American Indian/Native Alaskan or Middle Eastern)

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

Children and youth, Ethnic and racial groups, Family relationships, Social and economic status

Related Program

Early Literacy & Family Engagement

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

More than half of the children and families we serve are Latine and many are English Language Learners. We provide books and materials in English and Spanish.

Number of books distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Early Literacy & Family Engagement

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our two newest programs, Super Summer Learning Adventures and Family Shared Reading Program help families build home libraries. Our Classic Red Book Bag Program exposes children to new books weekly.

Number of students demonstrating responsible behaviors and work habits

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Early Literacy & Family Engagement

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We provide caregivers and educators with the books and materials needed to establish home reading routines.

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.

Raising A Reader's (RAR) mission is to engage caregivers in a routine of book sharing with their children from birth through age eight to foster healthy brain development, healthy relationships, a love of reading, and the literacy skills critical for school success. Our proven, award-winning program helps families:
-Understand why sharing books on a regular basis matters
-Provide children and families with award-winning books each week that build the book sharing routine
-Establish connections to libraries to maintain literacy habits at home
RAR engages educators and families to support early brain development and early literacy skills through a red book bag rotation, educator workshops and support, parent training, and family literacy events. RAR supports families in building one of the simplest and most important routines: daily book sharing. Each week children take home a bright red bag filled with high-quality children’s books and ask their parents to read with them. As families engage in the practice of daily book sharing, children’s brains develop, their confidence and connection to their parents grow, and they build early literacy skills. This simple routine ensures that children enter school ready to learn. As an evidence-based early literacy intervention, RAR does much more than just give families books: we provide comprehensive programming that supports families and educators to help each child reach their full potential.

Raising A Reader Helps Families Develop, Practice, and Sustain Home Literacy Routines.
-Develop Routines through Family Training
-Practice Literacy through our signature Red Bag Program
-Sustain home literacy through access to libraries

Family and educator workshops provide early literacy training, read-aloud techniques, and support to help instill regular reading routines with the children and their families. Children bring home over 100 books throughout a program cycle, while RAR trains the educators and parents in interactive “read-aloud” techniques that stimulate brain development, language acquisition, and critical early literacy skills. The book bags are filled with high-quality, age-appropriate, multicultural, and multilingual books so families see mirrors of their own community and windows of the outside world. RAR strives to build educator capacity to support early literacy development in the classroom as well as parent capacity to engage in book sharing regardless of literacy level or home language. Partnerships with families and educators reinforce the central role of families in helping their young children enter school loving books and ready to learn. Connections to the library continue the habit of sharing books once the program cycle is over and makes connections to community resources.

Raising A Reader (RAR) is a train the trainer model and award-winning program where qualified staff train and engage with program coordinators across the country and provide the resources needed to replicate RAR in their local community. Program books, materials, and training are delivered turnkey to agency doors with specialized book collections in multiple languages that are constantly updated and created to meet the needs of families across the country. In almost two decades, Raising A Reader has grown from a beloved site based family reading program to an integral component of early education systems throughout the country. RAR's book selection, professional development, and workshop content all align with early learning quality standards. RAR maintains relationships at the agency level and supports programs across the country to maintain program fidelity.

Our proven, award-winning program helps families:
-Understand why sharing books regularly matters
-Excite children and families with award-winning books each week that build the book sharing routine
-Establish connections to libraries to maintain literacy habits at home

Through a network of more than 3,000 community partners (school systems, libraries, community agencies, and others) across 34 states, Raising A Reader reaches more than 130,000 children and families each year, nearly 80% of whom are living at or below the poverty level and more than half being English Language Learners. Since our inception in 1999, we have helped more than 1.625 children and their families build and sustain reading routines in their homes, with special attention to highest-risk for educational failure.

We continue to increase the number of book titles and languages to support children across the country and to have more children and families impacted by the program. Each year, innovations are being supported to make a bigger impact in the lives of children and families.

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 demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, 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 identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, 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 demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), 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, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, Collecting feedback was difficult during the pandemic but things are steadily improving.

Financials

Raising a Reader
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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.

Raising a Reader

Board of directors
as of 08/31/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Carol Emig

Child Trends

Term: 2022 -

Kirk Law

Chief Development Officer, Cohesity Inc.

Carol Emig

President, Child Trends

Erica Wood

Former Executive Vice President, Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Jennifer Blatz

President and CEO, StriveTogether

Sterling Speirn

Senior Fellow, National Conference on Citizenship

Portia Kennel

Former, Senior Advisor, Buffet Early Childhood Fund

Kris Perry

Executive Director, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development Former, Deputy Secretary and Senior Advisor to the Governor, California Health and Human Services Agency

Meredith Crooks

Director, Sale Training, Yelp

Karen Calloo

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Calloo Consulting Services LLC.

Gihani Fernando

Vice President of Strategy and Board Affairs at Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF)

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 8/23/2023

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 (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/23/2023

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 review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • 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 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 use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • 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.