Educational Institutions

Baltimore Reads, Inc.

  • Baltimore, MD

This organization has not appeared on the IRS Business Master File in a number of months. It may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to promote adult and family literacy as tools for
personal and economic self-improvement. We offer educational opportunities to
adults over the age of 16 who need basic foundation skills in reading, writing,
math, employment readiness and critical thinking, instruction for a high school
diploma or English language acquisition.

Main Programs

  1. Baltimore Reads Programs
Service Areas



Baltimore, Maryland

ruling year


Principal Officer


Ms. Shirley Bigley LaMotte



Baltimore Reads, adult literacy, family literacy, Book Bank, GED, ESOL, Literacy Garden

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Physical Address

31 South Calvert Street Fourth Floor

Baltimore, MD 21202


Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Adult, Continuing Education (B60)

Services to Promote the Independence of Specific Populations (P80)

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

In response to increased demand for
community-based programs, BRI's instructional team developed the Portable
Classroom© curriculum
that allows teachers to transport BRI programs to city neighborhoods. Adult
learners achieve improved outcomes if classes are in familiar surroundings and
logistical difficulties like childcare and transportation are
ameliorated.  Portable classrooms are also affordable: the cost per day for
one student to attend one class is approximately $15 or $540 for one 12-week

Students’ goals are to help their children
succeed, continue their own education and training at the post-secondary level,
work on advancement opportunities with a GED or improve English language skills
and achieve citizenshiGED and reading level attainment, anecdotal observations
and improved employment statistics.  

 BRI currently offers classes at its
site location in the Inner Harbor, as well as at three different Enoch Pratt
Library branches.  Moreover,
classes are taught at the Esperanza Center, Humanim, LIFT in East Baltimore,
and the St. Ambrose Learn to Earn center.

The Book Bank reaches out children,
families, schools, and community support services to combat intergenerational
literacy. We provide free books to children, parents and caregivers to
encourage reading in the home.  The Book Bank has provided more than 100
Baltimore schools with free books.  Over 500 schoolteachers are regular
visitors. With each teacher having an average class size of 25 students, the
Baltimore Reads Book Bank has provided books to more than 22,500 students
throughout the region.   

In December 2009, we developed a social entrepreneurship
business plan known as the Baltimore Reads Book Exchange. This system was developed to recover Book Bank operating expenses and produce
unrestricted revenue for BRI’s other programs within 3-5 years by reselling donated adult books online. We continue to
distribute all donated children’s books free of charge.
In October of 2011put its roots down in the Park Heights neighborhood, deemed a food and literacy, and now provides free fresh produce and books to the community every Saturday during the summer months.


Self-reported by organization

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

Program 1

Baltimore Reads Programs

Our students range in age from 16-65 and included homeless persons, former offenders re-entering society, recovering addicts, young adults from group homes or independent living, seniors, married and single parents, and people of all races and creeds. BRI’s student body is demographically diverse: 62% Black/African American, 28% Hispanic or Latino, 7% White and 3% Asian.  Sixty-two per cent of students participating in our programs are between the ages of 25–44.  Baltimore Reads monitors the success and achievements of all of its students from passing the GED, to job placement, to simply learning to read for better comprehension, with goal setting, scheduled testing and securing employment. While our classes are offered to adults ages 16 and up, our Book Bank allows BRI to tackle the complexities of intergenerational illiteracy by providing free books to youth. The Book Bank assists low-income families in building home libraries and promotes reading and life-long learning. Books are also available to teachers and schools. Book donations throughout the year provide the books BRI redistributes to children and families through churches, Head Start programs, shelters, children’s centers, social service agencies, and community organizations.  Last year the Book Bank distributed 20,716 free books to Baltimore City and 12,570 books throughout Baltimore County.
Below are individual descriptions of the different programs offered at Baltimore Reads:
Adult ESOL Classes: The students are guided by an instructor to develop a functional command of the English language. The EL Civics Program is a subset of the ESL Program, providing language instruction that emphasizes the many benefits and responsibilities associated with citizenship and helps students fully engage in life and community in the United States.
The Literacy Garden: More than just another urban garden, the Literacy Garden is a unique learning environment located in the Park Heights Community. The Garden provides fresh produce and free books to the Park Heights neighborhood in Baltimore City, which is a designated “food desert” and “literacy desert.”


Human Services

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General



Service Areas



Baltimore, Maryland

Social Media


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Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30

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

Baltimore Reads, Inc.



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

Ms. Shirley Bigley LaMotte


Ms. Bigley LaMotte has twenty years executive leadership experience in public, private, higher education and non-profit sectors. She has demonstrated expertise in not for profit management, organizational development and government relations, corporate governance and board relations, legal affairs oversight, policy development and advocacy. She previously served as Vice President for Legal and External Affairs at Citibank, Maryland and as General Counsel at UMBC. She has served on numerous boards and commissions and was named to the Daily Record's Top 100 Women in Maryland honors. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maryland of Law and a B.A. cum laude from Westminster College.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"BRI has made tremendous progress in the last three years in increasing its student enrollment and performance results, creating sound financial practices and diversifying its funding base. This growth and success can continue at a reasonable pace only if we have adequate unrestricted funding to attract and retain good staff, meet infrastructure requirements, develop the new book sales program and continue to provide the public with free services. 

BRI needs to increase its literacy classes in response to demand, expand its Book Bank services (collection, targeted distributions, on-site programming) and diversify family literacy offerings.

Why giveaway Books?  In 2003, the National Center for Education Statistics (NECS) reported that only 45% of fourth graders read for fun on a daily basis. This percentage drops to 19% among eighth graders. This is due in part to the educational level of one or both parents and lack of age appropriate reading materials for under privileged children. A study released in August 2010, found poor students who participated in book distribution programs, improved in reading performance on standardized and other reading tests. In addition, they were more motivated to read, and found enjoyment in reading. The students also had higher emerging literacy skills, like phonemic awareness. Finally, students on average had slightly better basic language skills, such as the ability to express themselves verbally and understand spoken language.


We need the security of a more permanent home for the Book Bank. To address these issues, we opted to explore a social entrepreneurship model with a goal of achieving financial sustainability -- initially for the Book Bank."



Clare Close Miller

No Affiliation


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