Educational Institutions

Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, Inc.

  • Tallahassee, FL

Mission Statement

The mission of the Barbara Bush Foundation is to advocate for and establish literacy as a value in every home.

Main Programs

  1. Family Literacy
  2. Xprize
Service Areas



Since 1989, the Barbara Bush Foundation has supported the creation and expansion of innovative family literacy programs in all 50 states.

ruling year


President & CEO


Ms. Liza McFadden



Family Literacy, Mentoring, Education, Literacy

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014.
Register now





Physical Address

516 North Adams Street

Tallahassee, FL 32301


Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (B01)

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

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?


Self-reported by organization

More than 36 million U.S. adults lack basic English literacy, limiting not only their personal educational and career opportunities, but those of their children and future generations. For the past 26 years, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy has led the national literacy movement to foster the opportunity for every man, woman, and child in America to secure a better life through literacy. Since its inception, the Foundation has funded 1,500 family literacy programs across the nation, ensuring the growth and stability of these intensive programs while exploring innovative models offering scalability and highest possible impact.


Self-reported by organization

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

Program 1

Family Literacy

In 1989, Mrs. Bush pioneered the national family literacy movement, launching the Foundation that focuses simultaneously on early childhood education for preschoolers and adult literacy for their parents. Barbara Bush Foundation family literacy programs provide low-income parents and their young children, typically birth through age five, the opportunity to attend school together. Toddlers and preschoolers enrolled in these programs are better prepared to start school ready for academic success, while their parents improve their own literacy skills. Teen Trendsetters is another family literacy program that pairs middle or high school mentors with 1st, 2nd or 3rd grade students who are six months or more behind in reading. Participating elementary schoolers improve their reading skills and benefit from increased parent engagement, while teen mentors gain valuable leadership skills.



Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)


Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General


Program 2


The Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE presented by Dollar General Literacy Foundation is a global competition challenging teams to develop mobile applications for existing smart devices that result in the greatest increase in literacy skills among participating adult learners in just 12 months. The solutions will overcome key barriers to literacy learning by improving access, while increasing retention, and scaling to meet demand. Our vision is to empower the nearly 1 in 6 low-literate adults living in the U.S. with the skills they need to improve their lives and realize their dreams.



Population(s) Served



Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

1. Number of books distributed

Target Population
K-12 (5-19 years)

Connected to a Program?
Family Literacy
Context notes for this metric
Each school year 1st and 2nd graders receiving intensive reading services are provided with approximately 15 supplemental books to build their home libraries.

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?
    The Foundation's Strategic Plan through 2018 focuses on four goals:
    -To support early literacy and help students achieve grade-level reading
    -Create disruptive change in adult literacy
    -Expand family literacy opportunities for children ages 0-8 and their parents
    -Lead the National Literacy Movement
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    For Families. 2Generation programs, those that provide learning opportunities for both parents and their children, are the focus of our Foundation. For example, our newest outreach is Talk With Me Baby, based on the latest science in brain development. It is a public action campaign aimed at coaching parents and caregivers on “Language Nutrition" – talking with babies using language sufficiently rich in engagement, quality, and quantity to build brain pathways for deeper learning for children birth to three years.

    This past year, with our support, 741 parents and children received high intensity family literacy programming in small group settings. Overall, adult learners demonstrated an average of 1.1 grade levels in less than a year's time. English Language Learners in this group fared better, achieving an increase of 1.24 grade levels. Children made gains at all age levels and 3100 new parents received family literacy baby journals to help support early childhood learning.

    For Adults. Today, 36 million Americans cannot read above a 5th grade level, and less than 5% are served by in-person programs through federal funding. We must find a better solution. In response, we have launched the Adult Literacy XPRIZE. This $7 million prize challenge is engaging 109 teams from 15 countries to create mobile learning apps designed to help low-literate adults move to the basic literacy level in just one year. In 2017, the top entries will be tested in cities across America. In addition to seeding the global marketplace with solutions that work, the challenge is also raising awareness about low literacy and the commitment needed to solve the problem. Research expected from this first-of-its-kind endeavor is anticipated to generate significant data about how adults learn individually with technology, revolutionizing adult education and shifting policy discussions for years to come.

    For Children. Our programs for young children help build critical literacy skills that lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning. Our Teen Trendsetters™ program addresses reading needs of 1st and 2nd grade students who are, on average, half a year behind in reading. Research shows proficiency in reading by the end of 3rd grade enables students to shift from learning to read, to reading to learn. This intensive reading program develops literacy skills through weekly sessions with trained teen mentors. Parents sign a contract agreeing to continue reading at home, and receive books to build a home library.

    In 2015-16, a third-party comparison study revealed that mentees showed 61% more growth than their peers who did not take part in the program, gaining nearly half a year's worth of additional reading skills. Mentors benefited as well, reporting that the program helped them learn leadership skills (95%), helped their prospects for college admissions (82%), and kept them on track for graduation (79%).
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    With a small and efficient staff, we are hard at work in creating, securing funding for, and deploying programs that are cost-effective, easily replicable, and based on our decades of expertise in family literacy. Our staff of 21 employees is largely virtual, working in the field in geographic areas of concentration. During the 2015-16 fiscal year, our literacy outreach spanned the nation through our programs.
    We are dedicated to creating new models of efficiency, using innovative ideas and technology, to recast our family literacy work for the future and to bring great, new ideas to scale. With innovative partnerships key to future success, we are joining with major organizations in programmatic and thought-leader convenings across the country, and abroad.
    Barbara Bush is a pioneer in American family literacy. Her long and effective work in the field helps us attract the attention of, and engage, important partners in our work to fight illiteracy and low literacy. In 2016, we joined technology incubator 1776 in Washington D.C. as a founding member of the newly formed Coalition for the Future of Learning and Work. And through an introduction by The White House Initiative on Behavioral Science, we have partnered with the early childhood language program creators at Emory University in the Talk With Me Baby training. This will enable us to bring a powerful, online parent tool to scale by teaching effective communication between parents and their babies, through health care, social service workers, teachers and others across the nation who regularly interface with parents.
    The Adult Literacy XPRIZE, launched in partnership with the Dollar General Foundation and the XPRIZE Foundation, is engaging 109 teams from 15 countries in developing mobile applications aimed at improving literacy for adult learners. It is the first of its kind competition that will seed the marketing with powerful learning apps, raise awareness of the 36 million American whose reading capabilities are below basic, and generate ground-breaking research on how adults learn using technology.

    Also, in January of 2017, we will launch Voices For Literacy, a collaboration of 10 founding organizations who share a common value of literacy for all. The collaboration of organizations will seek to amplify the literacy message through campaigns that will provide an opportunity for people across the globe to raise their hand in support of literacy, educate people about literacy and activate them around the cause of literacy.
    We are a 501(c)(3), public charity and do not have an endowment.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Evaluation is an important component of our programs, providing both formative and summative data for improving programs. Since no single measure can adequately evaluate the complex interactions in family literacy, our evaluation does not stop at pre- and post-standardized test scores. Our mixed-model evaluation includes: Entry and Exit Participant Questionnaires, Monitoring Reports, and a Final Program Report. Independent evaluations are conducted annually by a nationally recognized university researcher.
    The most recent evaluation of our Family Literacy programs reported the following impressive results:
    • Parents enrolled in Barbara Bush Foundation family literacy programs, on average, improve their literacy skills by at least one grade level in a seven-month program. English Language Learners improve their literacy skills by 1.2 grade levels in a seven-month program.
    • Nearly a quarter of all preschoolers entering Barbara Bush family literacy programs were at risk for developmental delays. By posttest, there was a 41% reduction in the number of children showing concern for communication impairment. On subscales addressing communication skills such as emotion, eye contact, communication and gestures, the number of children showing concern at year end had dropped by 79% and on the subscale addressing expressive language the number had dropped by 46%.

    • Children over 2.5 years of age showed statistically significant improvement in receptive and expressive language skills during the seven-month program.

    • 90% of parents reported that the family literacy program helped them to become a more confident parent, who was better equipped to improve their family's quality of life, including being better able to evaluate their child's progress, while also being more skilled at communicating with professionals and advocating for their family.

    We also evaluate the outcomes of our Teen Trendsetters™ program. Using the same rigorous methods and independent evaluator as the family literacy program, we look at a combination of data to determine if we are meeting our goals and objectives. Our Teen Trendsetters™ evaluation has yielded the following outcomes:
    • In 2015-2016, nearly half of the mentees—who started the program, on average, a half a year behind in reading—progressed at least one year's reading level in just seven months
    • 3,541 teens mentored 3,183 elementary students, with over 63,955 hours in mentoring received by participants, and 59,604 books were distributed during the program year.
    • Overall, mentees gained an average of one year's worth of reading knowledge during their participation in this 7-month program.
    • Studies show that ethnically and culturally relevant mentoring relationships are far more meaningful and impactful to mentees. Racial makeup of our mentors and mentees are shared. This is both unusual and highly effective for a mentoring program.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    We believe that education is a civil right, no matter one's age. And after nearly three decades of providing family literacy programs in which both parents and children work toward their educational goals, we are intensely aware that learning is communal and intergenerational. We've seen firsthand how a parent's desire to provide a better life for their children can inspire them to overcome immense obstacles, and, in turn, the life-changing effects those efforts have on their children. We've helped thousands of families, but with more than 36 million low-literate Americans, the need for more programs far exceeds today's resources.

    Guided by our Strategic Plan, we are thinking broadly and boldly about ways to exponentially increase access to educational resources for learners of all ages and backgrounds. The enormous size and scope of America's low literacy problem necessitates an equally large response. In 2012, we transitioned from a donor-advised fund to a public charity, better positioning the Foundation to lead the national literacy movement. We've cultivated—and continue to thoughtfully grow—a strong, diverse network of thought leaders and advocates to help us raise awareness of and generate innovative solutions to what we call “America's Biggest Challenge." And our Barbara Bush Adult Literacy XPRIZE is inspiring educators, engineers, innovators, gamers, and technology experts worldwide to develop a new generation of mobile literacy learning apps that are highly scalable, non-place based, cost-effective, and customizable.
    We have a saying at the Barbara Bush Foundation: “If you can read this, you can help." It's simple and powerful and true. We need donors, sponsors, partners, champions, and new ideas to help us realize our vision of fostering the opportunity for every man, woman, and child in America to secure a better life through literacy. For more information on how you can help, visit
Service Areas



Since 1989, the Barbara Bush Foundation has supported the creation and expansion of innovative family literacy programs in all 50 states.

Social Media

Funding Needs

Funds will allow us to: • Improve the reading skills of many more 2nd and 3rd graders; • Train teens as productive mentors and leaders; • Buys books for children to nurture a lifelong love of reading and learning; • Provide emergency response training to youth; and • Improve a child's chance for a fulfilling life, by teaching parents how to be a child's “best and first" teacher

External Reviews


The review section is powered by Great Nonprofits


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

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

Sign in or create an account to view this information


Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Get all this now for free
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.


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

Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, Inc.



Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

President & CEO

Ms. Liza McFadden


Liza McFadden is President and Chief Executive Officer for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, a nonprofit charitable organization that is committed to helping America's youngest children and their parents improve their lives though literacy. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2012, Liza served in executive roles as the Founder and President of the Volunteer USA Foundation, President of the Volunteer Florida Foundation, Executive Director of the Governor's Family Literacy Initiative and Executive Director for the Florida Education Foundation.

Liza was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the National Institute for Literacy Board. She also has held volunteer roles as chairman of the Florida Schools of Excellence Board and Challenger Learning Center. Liza worked on her PhD in American Literature and received her M.A. from Florida State University and a B.S. from Fitchburg State College.


"Our founder, former First Lady Barbara Bush, has long maintained that the "home is the child's first school and the parent is the child's first teacher." That's why, in 1989, she pioneered the national family literacy movement by launching the Foundation that focuses simultaneously on early childhood education for young children and adult literacy for their parents.
Her leadership continues today, along with daughter and Honorary Chair Doro Bush Koch. For nearly three decades, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy has funded two-generation literacy programs across the nation, ensuring the growth and stability of these intensive programs while exploring innovative models offering scalability and highest possible impact. Our programs have provided life-changing educational opportunities for more than half a million Americans of all ages. But with 36 million Americans unable to read above a fifth grade level, we recognize that we have much left to do.
Moving forward, we remain committed to Mrs. Bush's vision--and to focusing our energy, time, and resources in key areas of innovation, leadership, engagement, and capacity--as we continue to work toward our mission of establishing literacy as a value in every home in America.

Liza McFadden
President and CEO
The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy



Mr. Timothy E Gage

Comcast Cable


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



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?



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



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



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



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