Do You Wonder How Reading Works is Funded?

By Paula Brown, Executive Director of Reading Works

I ask because when introducing Reading Works to prospective supporters, one of their first questions is, “How is Reading Works funded?” I thought perhaps you might have this question a well.

Since Reading Works does not provide direct services to learners, but serves the agencies providing those services, we don’t qualify for the state and federal funds available for that work. This means, Reading Works is 100% privately funded. We enjoy generous support from large foundations, as well as many businesses and corporate gifts…too many to list here. (I invite you to visit our website for a list of our donors, and apologize for any omissions.)

However, it’s the gifts we receive in the mail each year from nearly 500 individuals like you who give anywhere from $10 to $10,000 that we find most remarkable. Your gifts are providing the ongoing and sustaining support that allows Reading Works to explore innovative solutions for improving adult literacy in our region.

I’m glad to have this opportunity to share with you what your gifts mean to adult literacy work, and to those of us who open the envelopes and the emails. Sometimes your checks are wrapped in the Detroit Free Press giving coupon and have the “Yes, I’d like to be a volunteer tutor” box checked (a double gift!). Sometimes your check or online gift includes a note, encouraging us to keep up the good work! (Thank you, that makes our day!) Many, many of you give every year, sometimes more than once, sometimes monthly online, and we recognize your names, taking a moment to celebrate with gratitude your commitment to adult literacy.

My only wish is we could meet and thank each of you personally, and in an attempt to do so, I’d like to invite you to participate in one of our new activities. We are hosting “awareness gatherings” which are small groups of people (who may or may not know each other) gathering for a meal and conversation about the challenges of adult literacy in metro Detroit.

We know by starting the conversation, more and more people will become as excited about improving this issue as you are! If you are interested in attending – or even hosting – one of these gatherings, please contact me for more details at It would be wonderful to meet you in person – you would allow us the privilege to say thank you again. You are helping people learn to read, a gift beyond measure.

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