Literacy Lab
2920 W Broad Street Suite 111
Richmond VA 23230
Mission Statement

The Literacy Lab’s mission is to provide low-income children with individualized reading instruction to improve their literacy skills, leading to greater success in school and increased opportunities in life.

Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Ashley Johnson
Board Chair Ned Mandel
Board Chair Company Affiliation Retired
Contact Information
Address 2920 W Broad Street Suite 111
Richmond, VA 23230
Telephone 804 363-4278
Fax 888 426-8208
E-mail info@theliteracylab.org
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2010
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
 
 
Projected Revenue $8,358,515.00
Projected Expenses $8,299,900.00
Additional Documents
Annual Report2015View
Statements
Mission

The Literacy Lab’s mission is to provide low-income children with individualized reading instruction to improve their literacy skills, leading to greater success in school and increased opportunities in life.

Impact

The Literacy Lab’s top accomplishments in Richmond over the past year include:

  • 100% of school principals chose to continue partnering with The Literacy Lab in the current school year based on their positive experiences last year;
  • 58% of the tutors who worked with The Literacy Lab moved on to pursue careers in education after their year-long experience, demonstrating the organization’s significant impact on the human capital pipeline in the areas where we work;
  • We have recruited, hired, and trained 47 full-time tutors to serve 846 Richmond children at risk of third grade reading failure in the 2017-18 school year.
The Literacy Lab works quickly to help students close the literacy achievement gap. In many cases, early, evidence-based literacy intervention can help students catch up to their peers in less than a year.
 
In the 2016-17 school year, we had the following impact across all of our target cities:
  • An average of 94% of pre-K students showed significant gains in Kindergarten readiness as measured by growth in three out of five early literacy measures. 
  • In the most recent year, more than 54% of K-3 participants made enough growth in only one year to be on track for 3rd grade reading proficiency, significantly closing their literacy gaps with grade-level peers. In Richmond, 60% of K-3 students made enough growth to be on track for third grade;
  • Tutors demonstrate fidelity rates of more than 90% on interventions and assessments, indicating that students are consistently receiving high-quality programming across diverse school sites. 

 We have the following goals for the current program year:

  • Provide research- and evidence-based literacy interventions to nearly 850 children in Kindergarten through third grade to help them catch up to their peers;
  • At least 70% of K-3 program participants will have a growth rate above grade level peers, meaning that they are closing their achievement gap.
  • The Literacy Lab’s tutors will maintain fidelity rates of at least 90% on all assessments and interventions as measured by completed coaching integrity checklists.

 

Needs

In Virginia, the achievement gap is measurable before children even reach Kindergarten. According to the 2016 Virginia School Readiness Report Card, 18.5% of economically disadvantaged pre-K students did not meet Kindergarten-readiness benchmarks in early childhood literacy, compared to 8% of all students. This gap has a particularly significant impact on elementary literacy proficiency rates in high-need regions of the state. In the Richmond area, where there are large concentrations of low-income families, third grade students are consistently not proficient in reading. In 2015-16, 35% of third grade students attending schools in Petersburg and 38% in Richmond did not meet grade-level standards in reading.

To address this gap, our most pressing needs include:

  • $525,000 in school contracts and foundation support to meet the required cash match for AmeriCorps funding;
  • $2,500 for family engagement materials that encourage caregiver involvement in a child’s literacy practice;
  • $1,500 for assessment materials that allow tutors to adjust interventions in response to real-time data about a child’s literacy skills;
  • $1,500 for literacy training supplies to support tutors’ work with students at-risk for reading failure.

Background

Founded upon the core belief that all children have the right to read, The Literacy Lab’s mission is to provide low-income children with individualized reading instruction to improve their literacy skills, leading to greater success in school and increased opportunities in life. Teach for America alumna Ashley Johnson co-founded The Literacy Lab after she saw firsthand the urgency of improving literacy in low-income communities. As a teacher in Washington, DC, her 9th grade students were only able to read on a third-grade level on average.

The problems she witnessed in her 9th grade classroom actually began much earlier in her students’ lives, when they missed out on opportunities to build critical early literacy skills because their schools and teachers were not equipped to provide them with individualized support. Today, The Literacy Lab is working to improve early literacy and add capacity to the education field by intervening early, both in the lives of the children at risk for low literacy proficiency and in the career paths of future educators.

Since 2009, the organization has provided research- and evidence-based literacy interventions to more than 10,000 children at risk for reading failure. By working in both early childhood centers to reach children ages three to six and elementary schools to reach children from Kindergarten through third grade, The Literacy Lab strives to create a full six-year continuum of support for young readers.

Additionally, the organization actively recruits, trains, and coaches diverse cohorts of potential educators. In the 2017-18 school year, The Literacy Lab has mobilized 230 full-time tutors to serve schools in four cities across the country. More importantly, it has a strong track record of supporting tutors in pursuing careers in education. As of spring 2017, 57% of tutors chose to pursue graduate degrees in education, to continue serving as tutors in high-need schools, or to enter teacher/paraprofessional preparation programs.

CEO Statement

When I founded The Literacy Lab with my Co-Executive Director, Tom Dillon, we wanted to give young children a better chance at success through individualized literacy support. Now, just eight years later, we have built a smart, efficient and hard-working organization that has a real impact on schools’ capacity to support individual students’ literacy growth in five cities across the country.

The key to our success is a strong team of passionate education and literacy experts who adhere to our core values – Going Above and Beyond, Strong Relationships, Careful Use of Resources, Giving the Best to Those Who Need it Most, and Impact. By aligning our work with these values, we can act with urgency to provide the literacy support children need to be prepared for the rest of their lives. Examples of our values in action include:

Going Above and Beyond: We constantly look for ways to help our students build literacy skills faster. Because our tutors work over 40 hours each week, they often collaborate with their school sites to incorporate literacy activities into after school programs, in addition to providing literacy interventions throughout the school day. Last year, two tutors created an afterschool program called “Lab Learners” to provide literacy interventions to 40 additional preschool and Kindergarten students at their school site every day.

Strong Relationships: The Literacy Lab’s model encourages effective collaboration between our program staff, tutors and partner teachers at our school sites. In one classroom, the tutor, lead teacher and teaching assistant developed “Literacy Week” to encourage greater family engagement. Last year, 98% of school principals chose to continue their partnership with us, which is significant because most contribute financial resources as well.

Careful Use of Resources: We strive to make every dollar count by planning ahead, being resourceful and staying organized. The majority of our funding goes directly to our program costs.

Giving the Best to Those Who Need it Most: We ensure that our research- and evidence-based programming delivers excellent literacy support to every child every time. We provide rigorous training to our tutors as well as support from Master Coaches with advanced degrees in education. Last year, our tutors implemented interventions with an average fidelity rate of 95%.

Impact: We know that what we do makes a difference in the lives and literacy skills of the children we serve. Our staff and board believe in our mission and work hard to constantly improve our results.

Areas of Service
Areas Served
Area
Metro Richmond

The Literacy Lab has partnered with Richmond, Petersburg, Henrico, and Hopewell City Public Schools to close the literacy achievement gaps at their highest-need elementary schools. In 2016-17, only 53% of third grade students attending schools in Petersburg and 48% in Richmond were proficient in reading. Similarly, in Henrico and Hopewell, 57% and 59% of all third grade students, respectively, could read on grade level (VA-SOL, 2015).

Board Chair
Board Chair Ned Mandel
Company Affiliation Retired
Term Sept 2014 to Sept 2018
Email nedmandel@aol.com
Board of Directors
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Hugh Cole IIIWashington Property Company
Elizabeth Duff Harbour Capital Advisors
Bailey Edelson JBG Companies
Patricia L. Evans DC Human Resources Center for Learning and Development
Praveen Jeyarajah Astor Place Holdings
Ashley Johnson The Literacy Lab
Elisabeth Liptak International Dyslexia Association
Ned Mandel Retired
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 6
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 3
Female 5
Governance
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 100
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Finance
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Executive Director
Executive Director Ashley Johnson
Experience

Ashley Johnson is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of The Literacy Lab. Prior to founding The Literacy Lab, Ashley worked as a Special Education teacher and coordinator at public and charter schools in the District of Columbia. Ashley was a Teach For America Metro DC corps member. Ashley earned her Master’s degree in Special Education from American University and her Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Co-CEO
Co-CEO Tom Dillon
Term Start May 2009
Email tdillon@theliteracylab.org
Experience

Tom Dillon is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of The Literacy Lab. With a background in foreign language instruction, Tom brings an understanding of language acquisition and linguistic processes to the organization. Tom has experience teaching, coaching, and working in a number of academic programs in the Washington, D.C. area. Tom earned a Bachelor’s degree in European Studies at The College of William and Mary and holds a Certificate in Contemporary Europe from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Staff
Full Time Staff 224
Contractors 14
Plans
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers N/A
Management Succession Plan? Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Collaborations

The Literacy Lab’s relationships with schools, teachers, administrators, and other leaders in closing the literacy gap are critical to its success. In Virginia, The Literacy Lab partners with Richmond, Petersburg City, and Henrico County Public Schools to embed rigorously-trained tutors in high-need elementary schools to reach children at risk for third grade reading failure. The organization also benefits from the support of the Virginia General Assembly, which provides financial support and connections to school districts.

Finally, The Literacy Lab benefits from a formal partnership with the Minnesota Reading Corps, which provides technical support to implement the research- and evidence-based literacy intervention program as well as annual external evaluations.

Awards
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
Data Spotlight AwardRaise DC2015
Impact AwardLehrman Family Foundation2011
Outstanding NonprofitCatalogue for Philanthropy2013
National Replication PartnerMinnesota Reading Corps2012
Programs
Description

The Literacy Lab has partnered with Richmond, Petersburg, Henrico, and Hopewell City Public Schools to close the literacy achievement gaps at their highest-need elementary schools. In 2016-17, only 53% of third grade students attending schools in Petersburg and 48% in Richmond were proficient in reading. Similarly, in Henrico and Hopewell, 57% and 59% of all third grade students, respectively, could read on grade level (VA-SOL, 2015).

Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Budget $1,472,666.00
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $8,358,515.00
Projected Expenses $8,299,900.00
Endowment Value $0.00
Spending Policy N/A
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$409,000$525,463$380,000
Government Contributions$1,226,059$686,306$443,534
Federal$460,662$403,593$170,131
State$175,028--$52,815
Local$207,185$214,020$220,588
Unspecified$383,184$68,693--
Individual Contributions$625,564$304,372$89,859
------
$1,025,440$312,123$191,829
Investment Income, Net of Losses$463$872$507
Membership Dues------
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind$18,069$14,000$69,305
Other------
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$2,500,152$1,470,130$893,303
Administration Expense$49,883$65,457$112,516
Fundraising Expense$111,598$54,664$42,972
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.241.161.12
Program Expense/Total Expenses94%92%85%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue5%4%5%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$1,785,307$1,067,631$677,229
Current Assets$1,757,381$1,064,388$672,074
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$199,802$125,088$87,571
Total Net Assets$1,585,505$942,543$589,658
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities8.808.517.67
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit ExemptionView