Reading Legacies

Reading Together Strenghtens Relationships

San Diego, CA   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Reading Legacies

EIN: 27-0523331


Our mission is to facilitate supportive relationships for children through family and friends reading aloud with them. Our vision is that all children will feel the security of caring adult relationships and develop a love of reading through the read aloud experience.. We provide program models that are replicable, volunteer-implemented, and based on our organizational premise that when you give to others, you gain yourself. Reading Legacies currently offers programs in San Diego County, CA.

Ruling year info


President and Founder

Ms. Betty J. Mohlenbrock M.Ed.

Main address

2750 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 210

San Diego, CA 92106 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Reading promotion

Public affairs

Youth services

Intergenerational mentoring

Civics for youth

Population served info

Children and youth



Incarcerated people

NTEE code info

Citizenship Programs, Youth Development (O54)

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The current challenges in families and society are causing a lack of educational and emotional support for children and youth, placing them at-risk for gangs, drugs, school drop-out, and delinquency. These children and youth are statistically at-risk of low literacy skills, ultimately contributing to economic stability and/or poverty. Our programs are designed to be both preventative and interventional. We address the following needs: • Need for young children to develop an interest in books and reading; • Need to empower and encourage at-risk youth through meaningful opportunities in their families and local communities; • Need to provide accessible and exemplary adult role models for children and youth; • Need to enlighten and support low-income and low-literacy parents in the activity of reading aloud with their children in the early years and beyond; • Need to re-connect children with their parents during long and stressful separations, such as incarceration of their parents

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?

Book Bridges

The Book Bridges program helps families transcend the separation that occurs when a parent is incarcerated or experiencing addiction recovery.

Parents are trained to read aloud to their children on video, forming healthy and lasting bonds and learning about the importance of reading aloud with children.

Volunteer facilitators offer tips and tools to make the shared reading experience fun and valuable to the child. After the incarcerated parents read aloud on video, the video link and storybook are sent to the children at home to be enjoyed time and again.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people
Substance abusers

The Youth Readers program benefits teens, young children and the communities in which they live through the simple yet magical experience of reading together.

High school student volunteer to read with preschool aged counterparts on a regular basis, which enhances the teen's sense of self, helps them realize their community leadership potential, and allows them to experience the impact of making a difference in the life of a young child.

Young children feel important when teenagers spend time with them in this way. They also learn to look forward to reading time and, in being read aloud to, are benefiting from the single best predictor of their future success in reading and in school.

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

Our Storybook Inspirations program is designed to enhance intergenerational relationships by sharing memories and values through storybooks. The purpose of this program is to provide meaningful communication between generations as they read together, using technology to bridge geographical separations and to enhance intergenerational interactions.

Adult/senior readers are coached and recorded on video reading a favorite book to their grandchildren, great grandchildren and other loved ones. The recording and book are sent to the family to be enjoyed and cherished time and again. A true “Reading Legacy” is created as readers reflect on their own memories and life experiences as they read the story aloud. It’s a gift to be treasured by generations!

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Every minute you read to children makes a difference. Empowering parents as their children’s “first teachers” is a pillar of educational and emotional success. The First Teachers program includes a series of workshops that encourage parents to trust their instincts, gather resources, and read aloud regularly to prepare their children for success in school.

This program aims to engage parents in the development of their children through discussion and collaboration. Members of the Reading Legacies Board, Staff, community partners, and parents regularly discuss personal and research-based insights on the benefits of reading aloud with children.

Population(s) Served

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 groups/individuals benefiting from tools/resources/education materials provided

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

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people, Incarcerated people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Number of beneficiaries provided with tools/resources and education regarding the benefits of reading aloud with children.

Number of books distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Hours of volunteer service

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Number of participants engaged in programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
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.

Our goal is to break the cycle of failure in reading and school for children and youth through our programs which actively engage family and community members in inter-generational shared-reading experiences. Our objectives include:
- To enhance the joy of reading for children and youth.
- To foster and maintain relationships and bonds between all ages by spending time with each other through shared-reading.
- To provide role modeling opportunities for at-risk youth and incarcerated family members through their commitment to the children and youth with whom they read regularly.
- To gain satisfaction from giving of oneself through the intergenerational shared-reading experience.
- To demonstrate the power of the shared-reading experience for developing meaningful intergenerational relationships and life-changing attitudes about reading and relationships.

The focus of our programs is helping the most vulnerable children and youth in our community especially those in underserved, low-income areas and/or those who have an incarcerated parent or other family member. Our vision is that shared-reading will connect all children and youth to their families and communities.

Our growth model for program implementation involves management of a growing team of capable volunteers, lowering the overhead costs and the need for increasing funds for staff to manage the volunteers. We have collaborations with several universities in which college students participate as volunteers. This reduces costs and encourages community education and involvement. In our requests for funding from corporations, we invite employees to participate as volunteers.

Our two programs continue to grow. With help from the community and our dedicated volunteers, children of incarcerated parents are having their fears relieved one book at a time. Children in at-risk communities are creating bonds with caring community members through the love of reading. Families are bonding and children are benefiting.

Betty J. Mohlenbrock, M. Ed., Founder & President, Stephen R. Lewis, M.D. Presidential Chair is an educator, reading specialist, Founder and CEO (Retired) of United Through Reading, and Founder and President of Reading Legacies (her current endeavor). Her educational background includes a Bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts, as well as a Master's Degree in Education with a specialty on teaching Reading. Both degrees are from the University of Illinois.

Including Betty, there are 3 full-time and 1 part-time staff; managing 200 volunteers reaching over 4,000 beneficiaries annually.

We believe that leveraging our reach through collaboration with other like-minded organizations will help to accomplish our mission. Aligning with service organizations and corporations as a source of volunteers and donations will enhance our growth goals, while educating and involving the community-at-large.

An important program component is also the incorporation of quality children's books. This provides opportunities for community groups to conduct book drives and give these books as gifts to needy children - thereby, reducing our costs while also increasing awareness in the community.

2019 begins Reading Legacies' celebration of ten years of community service to the people of San Diego County. In the first 9 years, with the support from volunteers, collaborative partners and generous donors, over 49,000 beneficiaries have participated in our programs reaching the most at-risk children of San Diego County. We are only beginning, so many children still need to experience comforting rituals of shared reading. Studies have shown that family bonds, such as those created by Reading Legacies' shared-reading parenting classes/video recording workshops, help reduce recidivism, saving tax payers money and providing safer communities.

Areas in which we would like to grow include:
• Expand geographic footprint of program(s) outreach with numbers of beneficiaries significantly increased.
• Include outreach to senior citizens in our program models facilitating reading relationships with the younger generation.
• Collect data from homes including short and long term studies to measure the effect of our programs on all involved.
• Initiate a Research project showing evidence-based outcomes in programs.
• Improve community communications via Reading Legacies website, collateral materials, social media, and newsletters etc.
• Develop a 3-5 year Strategic Plan (underway) accompanied by a fund development and an execution model including the engagement and empowerment of the Board of Trustees.
• Endow the Legacy Fund at the San Diego Jewish Community Foundation.

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

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 13.80 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 3.9 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 9% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Reading Legacies

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Reading Legacies

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Reading Legacies

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Reading Legacies’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$20,978 $5,992 -$100,679 $135,730 $62,563
As % of expenses -7.7% 1.8% -29.6% 42.8% 16.7%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$20,978 $5,992 -$100,679 $135,730 $62,563
As % of expenses -7.7% 1.8% -29.6% 42.8% 16.7%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $290,959 $290,087 $290,066 $409,720 $416,088
Total revenue, % change over prior year 13.9% -0.3% 0.0% 41.3% 1.6%
Program services revenue 27.5% 25.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 1.2% 1.9% 0.6% 0.1% 0.1%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 36.0% 5.8%
All other grants and contributions 71.2% 72.7% 99.3% 54.8% 91.9%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.3% 0.1% 9.0% 2.2%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $273,154 $337,596 $340,594 $317,125 $373,525
Total expenses, % change over prior year 3.6% 23.6% 0.9% -6.9% 17.8%
Personnel 71.2% 69.2% 65.1% 72.5% 75.0%
Professional fees 2.7% 2.7% 4.2% 6.0% 4.6%
Occupancy 4.4% 3.5% 4.5% 6.6% 5.4%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 21.7% 24.6% 26.2% 14.9% 15.0%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $273,154 $337,596 $340,594 $317,125 $373,525
One month of savings $22,763 $28,133 $28,383 $26,427 $31,127
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $295,917 $365,729 $368,977 $343,552 $404,652

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 4.4 2.5 2.5 3.9 4.9
Months of cash and investments 8.8 5.7 5.5 7.5 7.7
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 1.9 1.8 -1.8 3.2 4.7
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $100,716 $71,683 $70,260 $103,715 $151,952
Investments $100,718 $88,823 $87,037 $95,476 $88,047
Receivables $15,220 $11,360 $0 $0 $0
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $3,846 $3,846 $3,846 $3,846 $3,846
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 10.3% 10.8% 31.4% 4.4% 3.8%
Unrestricted net assets $43,925 $49,917 -$50,762 $84,968 $147,531
Temporarily restricted net assets $152,532 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $152,532 $105,490 $160,203 $106,947 $86,947
Total net assets $196,457 $155,407 $109,441 $191,915 $234,478

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

President and Founder

Ms. Betty J. Mohlenbrock M.Ed.

Betty is an educator, reading specialist and Founder/President of Reading Legacies, a nonprofit organization established in CA on June 17, 2009 and receiving its 501(c)(3) status on Jan. 6, 2010. Reading Legacies’ programs are designed to empower children/youth as valued family and community members through intergenerational shared-reading experiences. As Founder/Chair Emeritus of her first nonprofit organization, United Through Reading, Betty designed and implemented a variety of programs benefiting over two million children, youth, and family members over its 25 years of existence. Betty's first non-profit, which is the model for Reading Legacies' current programs, received The Congressional Medal of Honor Society Community Service Hero Award in 2016 for demonstrating the impact of one person's courageous transformative vision and actions. Betty earned her bachelor's degree in liberal arts and her master's degree in reading and literacy at the University of Illinois.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Reading Legacies

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Reading Legacies

Board of directors
as of 01/29/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board co-chair

Ms. Betty Mohlenbrock

Reading Legacies

Term: 2010 -

Board co-chair

Mr. Richard Radosh

Attorney at Law

Term: 2014 -

Betty J. Mohlenbrock

Reading Legacies

Richard Radosh

Attorney at Law

Michael Malone

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Michael J. Haynes

Pro Football Hall of Fame

Eric Manese

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Derek Cox

Contract Advisor

Julie Beaty

Community Volunteer

Shaun R. Wiley


Vivian Lin

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Liz Valenzuela Banker

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Elana Levens-Craig

Community Volunteer

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 9/29/2023

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
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/22/2023

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

  • 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 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 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 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.