Educational Institutions

Literacy, Inc.

  • New York, NY
  • www.lincnyc.org

Mission Statement

“Literacy Inc. builds neighborhood networks that support young readers by working with school, library, and community partners. Our community-based strategy targets families in high-need, high-potential neighborhoods across New York City."

Main Programs

  1. Program 1
  2. Reading Buddies Program (RBP)
  3. Parent Engagement Workshops and School Capacity Building
  4. VIP (Very Involved Parent) Academy
  5. Reading Everywhere Celebrations
Service Areas

Self-reported

New York

LINC's Comprehensive Literacy Model provides interconnected programming designed to mobilize existing resources in the neighborhood in order to deliver reading opportunities for children. The combination programming delivered to schools, families and community partners emphasize and reinforce the importance of bringing literacy home and create a sustainable culture around reading. Every LINC neighborhood receives programming in 2-3 Schools, 1-2 Libraries and 3-4 Community Partner locations. LINC programming can currently be found in 10 Communities through out the city:

Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, South Fordham, Kingsbridge, Morrisania, Hunts Point, South Jamaica, East New York and Northern Staten Island.

By hiring Community Coordinators to work within their own neighborhoods, LINC is able to mobilize the 3 vital constituencies that have a demonstrated impact on childhood literacy – peers, parents and community members.

Our Community Coordinators are the backbone of LINC's success. They live in the neighborhoods in which they work. They KNOW the issues, strengths and challenges facing their communities. Our Community Coordinators make sure that children have many positive one-on-one reading experiences, that books are ALWAYS available in the community, and that reading is fun.

Our neighborhood parents are the driving force behind LINC's programs. In the VIP (Very Involved Parent) Academy, parents learn leadership roles by planning and executing LINC community reading activities. With the help of a Community Coordinator, our motivated parents make books a part of their everyday lives, activities and homes.

ruling year

2005

Executive DIrector since 2012

Self-reported

Shari Levine

Keywords

Self-reported

LINC, Literacy Inc., early literacy, literacy

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EIN

13-3911331

 Number

1914085940

Also Known As

LINC

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (B01)

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Founded in 1996, Literacy, Inc. (LINC) has implemented a vision that has not wavered in its community based focus for improving early literacy for children growing up in poverty in New York City. A strong literacy foundation is crucial to success in school and beyond. LINC helps break the cycle of urban poverty by working with families with young children to improve early reading achievement and build understanding about age-appropriate literacy expectations and skills.

High-quality early childhood programs, family engagement and community support are critical in developing strong literacy skills for at-risk emerging readers. Through its unique and effective approach, LINC builds vibrant networks that support literacy throughout the community. LINC works with schools, families, libraries, community centers, local businesses, and community partners to create a sustained, coordinated effort that gives children (pre-school through 2nd grade) opportunities to practice literacy skills, model good reading behaviors, and extend classroom learning.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

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

Program 1

LINC has developed many different program models to guide Community Literacy Networks in the design and implementation of reading programs and events. Recent activities that the Community Literacy Networks have planned and implemented with LINC?s guidance include the following: 1) Reading Partner Programs: Groups of interested community members, such as youth groups and senior citizens pair up with young children in various reading partner programs. Many programs take place weekly, after school and in school, at a variety of neighborhood sites, including residential building lobbies, local restaurants, schools, early childhood centers and businesses. Reading partner programs have included groups ranging from fifth graders to local college students to a local senior center. 2) Weekly reading events at local restaurants that provide books and guest readers and encourage parents to read with their children. Guest readers have included parents, educators, members from the public sector, and law enforcement officers. 3) Reading corners created at local stores and laundromats to promote literacy and provide safe activities for children while caregivers shop or do laundry. These corners create a feasible way to promote LINC's message that literacy-building opportunities exist everywhere. 4) Parent Conversations: Reading Readiness In Every Family are peer facilitated sessions with parents that focus on how to best prepare children to be successful in school. The gatherings take place in neighborhood locations parents are already present, in order to reach those who may not feel comfortable or have the time to attend functions at school. 5) Neighborhood reading celebrations inviting parents and the community to read with children. For the fourth year, LINC has teamed up with the Bronx Zoo and Community School District 10 to establish TIGER (Together In Getting Everyone Reading) read-a-thons at local schools. In June 2003, participating children were invited to the opening of the Zoo?s new tiger habitat. In 2004, the LINC/Bronx Zoo collaboration involved their River Walk exhibit, which encourages young children to read and learn more about nature and the Bronx River. Last year the collaboration focused on the Zoo?s new butterfly exhibit and involved nineteen elementary schools in the Bronx. This year the read-a-thon is just underway and will focus on the bison exhibit. 6) Reading activities at established community events, like health fairs and family days. Community organizations, local businesses, and educators have the opportunity to distribute information promoting early literacy to families. 7) On-going partnerships with city-wide literacy initiatives: LINC has partnered with Get Ready to Read! and Cool Culture to provide children and families with tools to create reading and language-building opportunities in out-of-classroom environments. More partnerships of this kind are described below. In addition to the above mentioned programs and events, LINC's work with the Teen Tutor Reading Partner Program aims to elevate the academic skills and self-esteem of all the participants. The program shows teens that they create a positive influence for change in their homes, schools, and communities. Through the use of games, story writing, dramatizations, in addition to reading, teen tutors learn to help elementary school students develop a love of literacy and learning, while creating positive attitudes towards their own learning. Over the past five years, the Teen Tutor Reading Partner Program has grown from 87 tutors and 112 students to 629 teens reading with 664 young children in 34 programs that provided over 10,300 hours of additional reading time to young readers in the 2004-2005 academic year. In October of 2004, the Teen Tutor Reading Partner Program was awarded a Youth in Action Award from the New York Life Foundation for its work in Brooklyn.

Category

Population(s) Served

Budget

Program 2

Reading Buddies Program (RBP)

The Reading Buddies Program pairs older and younger students for 20 sessions of one-on-one reading. The "buddy" (1st or 2nd grader) is guided through read aloud and literacy activity, completing a reading portfolio with their partner, an older student (5th-8th grader) with whom they build a relationship around a positive and engaging experience with reading. The pairing improves cross-grade relationships and builds confidence for both readers. Aligned with Common Core ELA Standards, this inclusive program is for all students from the targeted grades, not just students who are behind, and includes special education pupils in CTT classes.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Budget

$735,000

Program 3

Parent Engagement Workshops and School Capacity Building

LINC offers a series of parent workshops, typically held at schools and libraries, to teach parents the importance of early literacy and teach various techniques to encourage reading and literacy in the home.
Parent LINC Workshops provide support for the families of emerging readers. Through meetings, short presentations and multi-session workshops, LINC provides clear instruction and resource materials, including appropriate books to assist parents in developing home libraries and the habit of daily reading. All communication is provided in an accessible, multi-lingual format for parents who do not speak English or read fluently themselves.
Literacy Inc. also conducts a series of professional development workshops for teachers to help engage parents in their child's academic success via open classrooms and interactive homework assignments.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Adults

Budget

$550,000

Program 4

VIP (Very Involved Parent) Academy

Parents are a powerful force. They are the backbone of the LINC model. Parents have the ability to shape and influence their children’s future. LINC’s Very Involved Parent Academy celebrates our parents who wish to take a greater role in shaping the future of their communities. VIPs are trained to be peer advocates who plan and execute their own reading activities in their neighborhoods. VIP Academies consist of 3-4 two hour workshops and are held in all LINC communities to offer parents easy access.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Adults

Budget

$425,000

Program 5

Reading Everywhere Celebrations

Reading Everywhere Celebrations organize the community around enrichment activities that emphasize the message that, “Reading success is a community-held value.” Whether a simple blanket spread under a shady tree at the park, literacy street fairs or a costumed animal-themed literacy celebration at a local library, these events engage community members and help cultivate a culture of reading.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Adults

Budget

$500,000

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

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

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Literacy Inc. builds neighborhood networks that support young readers by working with schools, libraries, and existing community partners. Our community-based strategy targets families in high-need, high-potential neighborhoods across New York City in order to:
    Increase in and out-of-school time opportunities for students and families to practice essential literacy skills and model positive reading behaviors that result in grade-level reading achievement;
    Demonstrate to parents how to create a literacy-rich home environment and engage with the school around their child's literacy development, increasing the likelihood of long-term school success;
    Partner with teachers and administration to provide training and tools that build the capacity of schools to work with parents as allies, increasing the likelihood of school success;
    Organize the community, through parent leadership training and collaborations with neighborhood-based organizations, to grow and sustain a culture that supports reading achievement and school success for all children through coordinated enrichment opportunities.

    Children in high poverty areas experience a language and literacy gap which, when unaddressed, results in a lack of reading proficiency that impacts their lives. Children in low-income families lack essential one-on-one reading time. A report by the Packard and MacArthur Foundations found that the average child growing up in a middle class family has been exposed to 1,000 to 1,700 hours of one-on-one picture book reading by the time he or she starts school. The average child growing up in a low-income family, in contrast, has only been exposed to 25 hours of one-on-one reading. Jeff McQuillan, The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions, 1998. Since oral language and vocabulary are closely connected to reading comprehension, disadvantaged children face increased challenges learning to read. The achievement gap begins here, with an opportunity gap.

    Young children in New York City spend their days in a variety of places—homes, child care centers, preschools, and elementary schools. Each of these places needs to be literacy-rich, with parents, child care providers, teachers, librarians, and community members all providing such environments for children . The combination of positive social interactions with caring adults along with exposure to high quality materials (e.g., storybooks) has been shown to nourish literacy development. Literacy Inc. (LINC) employs a systemic approach to literacy development across the ecosystem of a childhood, increasing opportunities for children to experience reading and closing the achievement gap.

    Paul Reville, the Education Redesign Lab's director and a former education secretary in Massachusetts. Quoted in Education Week Ed. Groups Urge 'Whole-Child' Approach to Counteract Poverty Aim is to address barriers to success By Denisa R. Superville (Feb 2016)
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    LINC's Comprehensive Literacy Model consists of multiple program components that support an aspect of building a strong foundation for literacy for emerging readers.

    The Reading Buddies Program pairs older and younger students for 15+ sessions of one-on-one reading & skill practice. The “buddies" (1st or 2nd graders) are guided through a read aloud & literacy activity, completing a “reading portfolio" with their partners, older students (typically 5th – 8th graders). That pairing builds a strong connection around reading, strengthens cross-grade relationships, improving skills and confidence for both. Aligned with Common Core English Language Arts Standards (ELA), this inclusive program is for all pupils from the targeted grades, not just those needing individual intervention, and includes special education pupils in Integrated Co-Teaching classes.

    Our Parent Engagement Program provides support for families of emerging readers to become active partners in their children's educational success. Low-income/immigrant families face many barriers to engaging with their child's school. LINC provides workshops, proven tools, and resources, including appropriate books. LINC assists parents in developing their own strong out-of-school literacy support plan, along with a literacy-rich home environment - even if they do not speak English or read fluently themselves.

    The Very Involved Parent (VIP) Academy trains parents to serve as peer advocates and deliver community reading events to their neighbors. This extends LINC's reach and raises the profile of reading across the neighborhood. Delivered parent to parent, the message is amplified, “Children need family support to become strong readers."

    Our School Capacity Building Program trains and coaches educators, and entire schools, towards greater collaborative communication with parents around the ELA curriculum. LINC helps schools create and sustain an environment in which parents understand how to support their child's learning, and teachers have the tools necessary to work with parents as allies.

    LINC's Reading Everywhere Program organizes the community around enrichment activities that drive the message that, “Reading well is a community-held value." Whether a read-a-loud under a shady tree at the park, a bi-lingual library story hour, a building lobby reading corner, or a family literacy night at a school, these events engage community members and help cultivate a culture of reading.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    LINC was founded in 1996 by New York State Regent Emerita, Mimi Levin Lieber. Her vision was to engage the entire community as a resource to support childhood literacy success. LINC's grassroots model creates systemic change in the high poverty communities we serve by building parent, school and community capacity.

    LINC has a diverse and collaborative 22 member Board that believes in the mission and is integral to LINC's financial & programmatic success. We expect to increase Board membership in both number and diversity through recruiting members from the communities we serve. The Board is currently developing a strategic plan, in collaboration with LINC's senior management, to guide growth through 2020.

    LINC provides its Comprehensive Literacy Model in 10 neighborhoods across all five boroughs in New York City. In each neighborhood, we provide programming in a cluster of 3-5 Title I elementary schools that share access to a branch library & other community resources, including local businesses, banks & cultural institutions.

    LINC's Community Managers, Coordinators & Assistants are the backbone of LINC's successes and effectiveness. They connect with existing literacy resources, address gaps in service with supplemental programs, and organize and support members of the community to build sustainable literacy networks. Staff have deep ties to the neighborhoods where they work; they are familiar with neighborhood resources and may have attended or have children in neighborhood schools. This establishes credibility with participants and leads to trusting relationships between LINC's staff and those we serve.

    LINC reached over 19,000 program attendees (15,000 children and 4,000 adults) during our program year 9/1/14 to 8/31/15; distributed 6,000 books; provided 178 Parent Engagement events; and administered 54 Reading Buddies classroom partnerships, involving 2,489 children. LINC trained over 50 new parent volunteers though our VIP Academy, resulting in over 150 parent-led literacy events. These parent volunteers are a critical part of LINC's commitment to helping community members model positive family literacy practices for their neighbors.

    In addition to direct program services, LINC spearheads three coalitions of peer literacy organizations and educations program providers in New York City. LINC serves as the facilitator for two place-based collaborative impact projects funded by The Pinkerton Foundation – South Jamaica Reads and East New York Reads. LINC also leads City's First Readers, a city-wide New York City Council initiative that allies ten literacy and education organizations, including all three public library systems.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    LINC collects quantitative and qualitative metrics for all programs and measures effectiveness through several overlapping methods: pre and post surveys (students, teachers, and administrators), interim quality assessments, and end of program interviews and focus groups. LINC has recently invested in increased data collection and is developing a comprehensive evaluation plan of our literacy model that demonstrates impact over time within a community. LINC adopted Salesforce Database in 2013-14, which has led to better management and analysis of our metrics.

    LINC has improved intake records and our sign-in process for public events, using tablets to facilitate this process with an audience that may be reluctant to provide contact information. LINC is collecting data on program retention (repeat visits to a type of program) and circulation (participation in multiple program components). LINC seeks to monitor and set goals for these metrics as a way of gauging programmatic impact. LINC monitors community and programmatic targets, and compares year to year results to understand progress. Within the next 2 years, LINC will be able to monitor family progress.

    LINC has been working with Algorhythm, an independent evaluator, for 3 years to create meaningful systems of measurement that allow our staff and management to set and meet goals, better define optimal dosage, and inform improvements to our program design. Algorhythm has also been retained to assess City's First Readers and the Pinkerton Foundation initiatives, which will enable a truly broad assessment of all aspects of LINC's effectiveness.

    LINC's Theory of Change provides an overview of how the program components work in an ecological way to improve attitudes and behaviors about literacy. LINC's program focus is consistent in supporting emerging readers but our approach to that goal involves their classmates, their families and their community. Our work changes the environment surrounding those young readers by changing the emphasis – reading is not just something that happens in school. It becomes part of the daily routine at home and is accessible across the community.


  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Building on her training as a sociologist, plus forty years of experience as a consumer attitude consultant, and fifteen years of service as a member of the New York State Board of Regents, Mimi Levin Lieber understood 20 years ago the power of reading to change lives. She also knew that every neighborhood, no matter how impoverished, has resources that can and must be mobilized to help children read well and love to read.

    LINC draws upon the work of Professor Joyce Epstein of Johns Hopkins University and her findings of positive impact when schools, family and communities work in partnership and share responsibility for student learning and development. Additionally, our programs are informed by the research of Karen Mapp of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. For children living in poverty, high-quality early childhood programs, family involvement and community support each make critical contributions to developing literacy skills. Evidence based research and a consistent vision intersect to shape LINC's Comprehensive Literacy Model. Consequently, LINC's has created a unique and effective model, serves many families and communities ever year, and has strong partnerships across the city that help us achieve our mission.

    A remaining challenge is to fully capture our lasting impact on individual families and their larger community context. Because LINC changes attitudes and behaviors, those changes are portable for program participants and are potentially self-sustaining. When a mother learns the value of reading as part of a LINC workshop, is assisted in procuring a library card, and then talks about a book or story hour or homework tip on a park bench with her friends, she has learned to model literacy. When she takes the further step of training as a LINC Very Involved Parent (VIP), she acquires the skills to become a literacy ambassador within her neighborhood. This positive experience in modeling literacy and providing community service also leaves sustainable changes in behavior. Because we are looking for individual and community impact, these results are difficult to track. LINC continues to develop its evaluation strategy to capture and communicate the impacts that we know, anecdotally, are happening for those we serve.

    LINC's role as initiative facilitator (described in Section X) is a logical extension of our ecosystem approach. LINC also seeks to expand our leadership role within New York City in the field of early childhood literacy and take on more opportunities to collaborate with strong partners.
Service Areas

Self-reported

New York

LINC's Comprehensive Literacy Model provides interconnected programming designed to mobilize existing resources in the neighborhood in order to deliver reading opportunities for children. The combination programming delivered to schools, families and community partners emphasize and reinforce the importance of bringing literacy home and create a sustainable culture around reading. Every LINC neighborhood receives programming in 2-3 Schools, 1-2 Libraries and 3-4 Community Partner locations. LINC programming can currently be found in 10 Communities through out the city:

Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, South Fordham, Kingsbridge, Morrisania, Hunts Point, South Jamaica, East New York and Northern Staten Island.

By hiring Community Coordinators to work within their own neighborhoods, LINC is able to mobilize the 3 vital constituencies that have a demonstrated impact on childhood literacy – peers, parents and community members.

Our Community Coordinators are the backbone of LINC's success. They live in the neighborhoods in which they work. They KNOW the issues, strengths and challenges facing their communities. Our Community Coordinators make sure that children have many positive one-on-one reading experiences, that books are ALWAYS available in the community, and that reading is fun.

Our neighborhood parents are the driving force behind LINC's programs. In the VIP (Very Involved Parent) Academy, parents learn leadership roles by planning and executing LINC community reading activities. With the help of a Community Coordinator, our motivated parents make books a part of their everyday lives, activities and homes.

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

LITERACY, INC.
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

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

Literacy, Inc.

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Executive DIrector

Shari Levine

BIO

Shari Levine brings broad financial and management experience to Literacy Inc. After working on Wall Street for several years, Shari was the Vice President of Finance and Administration for Columbia Pictures. She then served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer for an internet start-up, as well as the finance officer for the nonprofit The Red Hot Organization. Shari served on LINC's Board of Directors 2005 to 2012. Ms. Levine earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of Rochester, and received her M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Carl D Folta

Viacom

Term: Jan 2007 -

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. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & 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?

No

CEO OVERSIGHT

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

Yes

ETHICS & 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?