Testimonials on Getting Started
Elementary principal Jim Swan, one of the founders of the Lewis County Reading Foundation in Washington (2003), states, ?As a new Reading Foundation, the advantages for us were obviousimmediate support, proven ideas that work, tips on implementation, and access to the pool of common resources.?
?The best geographical base for a Reading Foundation is neighboring school districts within a common media market. The Reading Foundation model has been successfully replicated in areas of various demographic and diversity,? says Brad Dell, executive director of the Washington Children's Reading Foundation (2000-2005). ?Getting multi-district buy-in requires a small group of champions to patiently enlist the support of dues paying school districts. Then the creative good-will of the community members generates fantastic ideas and opportunities. Partnerships and collaborations are key components of effective Reading Foundations. The community courageously commits to assure every child learns to read and help every parent raise a reader.?
?Utah State has a leveraged and dynamic Reading Foundation, thanks to help from The Children's Reading Foundation,? states Chieko Okazaki, cofounder of the Utah Children's Reading Foundation. ?It took a lot of up-front work. I encourage fledgling foundations to be prepared to take the necessary time to find like-minded people and develop strong partnerships. But after all our work, it is so gratifying to hear the message coming out of the governor's office. Now we have billboards, media ads, educational materials, and partner's statewide reminding families that success for children starts in the home when parents understand that the most important 20 minutes of their day is spent reading with their child.?
?One of our elementary principals came back from a conference with a copy of The 90% Reading Goal?, recalls Scott McDonald, executive director of the Treasure Valley Reading Foundation in Idaho. I read the chapter on the Reading Foundation and thought, ?If they can do it there, we can do it here.' It took us a year and a half to get the core districts signed on and ready to go. The local organizational phase of a Reading Foundation seems to take forever?but it doesn't. Never, never, never give up. This is the part that takes time and two or three resolute persons. But the actual legal organization is a snap. The Children's Reading Foundation takes care of helping with the incorporation, by-laws, 501(c)(3) tax exempt status filing for a fraction of the cost and time that it would have taken us. Then things take off. Before the end of the year we had 10 school districts as members; and during the second year of operation, we had 16 districts as members.?