The READ Center
4915 Radford Avenue, Suite 204
Richmond VA 23230
Mission Statement

The READ Center’s mission is to help adults with low-level literacy develop basic reading and communication skills so they can fulfill their roles as citizens, workers, and family members. This mission is accomplished by providing classroom instruction, one-to-one tutoring, and educational resources to support students.

Web and Social Media
Every year in June, The READ Center celebrates its students and tutors at an awards celebration.
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Karen S. La Forge
Board Chair Mr. Sam Baronian
Board Chair Company Affiliation Baronian and Associates, P.C.
Contact Information
Address 4915 Radford Avenue, Suite 204
Richmond, VA 23230
Telephone 804 288-9930
Fax 804 N/A
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1986
Former Names
Literacy Council of Metropolitan Richmond, Inc.1995
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
Projected Revenue $354,837.00
Projected Expenses $455,255.00

The READ Center’s mission is to help adults with low-level literacy develop basic reading and communication skills so they can fulfill their roles as citizens, workers, and family members. This mission is accomplished by providing classroom instruction, one-to-one tutoring, and educational resources to support students.

  • 204 students participated in READ classes or tutoring. This is an increase of 46 students or 29% over last year.
  • 130 volunteers gave 5,895 hours of tutoring to support READ Center students. This is an increase of 8% over last year. 
  • READ started group tutoring programs for men and women in the Richmond City Justice Center. In April, the first student from the City Justice program registered for READ classes when he was released. 
  • Reach at least 225 students with READ services in the 2017-2018. A 10% increase.
  • Open an evening classroom on Richmond's south side. (Currently, there is one evening class in the Richmond area and it is on the north side.) 
  • Pilot a health literacy class for low literate adults that will help them improve their literacy skills and ability to navigate the healthcare system. 
  • Provide 15-20 trained adult literacy tutors to support literacy partners  - Richmond City High School Aspire and ISEP programs, Henrico County Adult Education GED program and Chesterfield County Adult Education program at the Chesterfield County Jail.
  1. Support of READ Center educational programs and initiatives. The READ Center provides classes at no cost to our students. The cost to provide services to one student is about $1,700 per year. The cost for one class (15 students) is about $25,000. 
  2. As an educational program, our tools are great teachers and tutors. The cost of a part-time teacher is $7,436 per year. The cost to train, manage and provide professional development for a tutor is about $600 per year.
  3. The READ Center is has expanded its definition of literacy to include both math and digital learning. READ will be purchasing math workbooks at a cost of about $2,500 and new testing materials at a cost of about $4,000.
  4. Volunteer Tutors - The READ Center tutors provide much needed donation of time and skills. Tutors work with students throughout the Richmond metro area to help support their learning, improve their skills and support their literacy goals. Volunteer applications can be submitted through our website at any time. Tutor training will be held throughout the year on Saturdays.

READ was founded as the Literacy Council of Metropolitan Richmond in 1982 by Altrusa International Richmond, Inc., a professional women’s business service club and became a 501(c)(3) organization in 1984. For over 30 years, READ has trained and provided resources to volunteer tutors who work on a weekly basis with adult learners with low-level literacy. Today, services also include twice weekly classroom instruction. These services address the need for greater frequency and intensity of instruction in weekly tutoring, and support student progress. 

CEO Statement

It is a great honor and responsibility to be a part of the important and rewarding work of helping adults with low literacy skills achieve valuable, and often life-changing, reading goals. I am privileged to work with a very dedicated Board of Directors, an amazing group of educational professionals, a cadre of trained and committed volunteer tutors, and so many determined adult-learners who amaze and inspire us each and every day. 

The READ Center has been committed to working with adults with low-level literacy for over 33 years. Our services are free. Originally developed as a one-to-one tutoring program, READ has continued to grow and change its methods over time to keep pace with field of Adult Literacy. Classroom instruction was added and frequency of student participation was increased.
There are many stories of trials and triumphs from our students, we also hear moving and instructive stories from tutors of unexpected rewards and incredible personal benefits derived from helping an adult learner become a more active participant in the reading-writing world.
Your support of our mission is vital, whether it’s through volunteering to tutor students, making a financial contribution to help provide training and instructional materials, or by referring students who may benefit from READ Center services. There’s a place for everyone at The READ Center as we continue eradicating illiteracy and helping to write new and compelling stories.  

                                                   Karen La Forge, Executive Director

Board Chair Statement

Areas of Service
Areas Served
Metro Richmond
Richmond, City
Chesterfield County
Henrico County
The READ Center serves metro Richmond students from areas of low educational attainment like the east end, north side and south side. 
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Sam Baronian
Company Affiliation Baronian and Associates, P.C.
Term July 2017 to June 2018
Board of Directors
Board Members
Ms. Kathleen Albanese Attorney-at-Law
Mr. Samuel Baronian Jr.Cherry, Seymour & Baronian, P.C.
Ms. Nora Crouch Markel Corporation
Mr. Max Duncan KMPG
Mr. Earnest Greene Dominion Virginia Power
Ms. Delores Kimbrough Altria/Phillip Morris - retired
Mr. Frank McCormick Fidelity Trust
Mr. Larry Mills Joyner Properties
Ms. Jean H. Proffitt Retired
Mrs. April Rehmann UPS
Mr. William Seymour Cherry, Seymour & Baronian, P.C.
Mrs. Margaret Shaia READ Center
Ms. Kindall Stevenson People Places, Inc.
Mr. Bryan Stogdale Columbia Gas of Virginia
Ms. Madeline Taylor Columbia Gas of Virginia
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 13
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 7
Female 8
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 70
Written Board Selection Criteria? Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 29
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Program / Program Planning
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
No comment at this time.
Executive Director
Executive Director Ms. Karen S. La Forge
Prior to joining The READ Center, Karen was Executive Director for the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. She worked for AITC for about 18 years first serving as the Development Director and then as Executive Director. 
Karen has a business degree from James Madison University. She also holds a certificates in nonprofit fundraising and development and marketing from the University of Richmond.  
Former CEOs
Ms. Carol H. Holmquist Sept 2005 - June 2010
Ms. Harriet Scruggs - Dec 2014
Senior Staff
Leslie Harper Teacher
Carolyn Harsh Teacher
Dawniece Trumbo Program Manager
Full Time Staff 3
Part Time Staff 10
Volunteers 130
Contractors 2
Retention Rate 80
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Date Strategic Plan Adopted July 2016
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Classroom instruction and one-to-one tutoring to teach reading, writing, everyday math and digital learning to low level literacy adults.
Classroom instruction and one-to-one tutoring provide students with a basic literacy skills and support achievement of personal literacy goals. Small classroom instruction takes place twice each week for two hours while one-to-one tutor pairs meet at least once per week for two hours. 

Learning to read as an adult is hard work and it is complex. READ serves students in a very individualized way by building instructional plans around each adult learner’s identified personal literacy goals. It is the core of READ's program because we know that successful learning often takes place when the subject matter is meaningful and personal.

READ teachers and tutors utilize student goals like obtaining a driver’s license, reading want ads, helping children with homework and school, and filling out a job application, reading and understanding medical instructions, street signs, their Bible, a menu, and more to help students stay motivated and to make progress.
Population Served Adults
Budget $333,204.00
Short Term Success
  • At least 65% of READ Center students attending classes for at least 180 hours will show improvement in their literacy skills as tested by TABE. 
  • At least 65% of READ Center students will achieve their personal literacy goal or a sub-goal.
  • At least 75% of READ Center students who are pre and posted tested, demonstrate improved life skills/competencies. 
Long Term Success
For READ Center students who demonstrate persistence, 80% will achieve their literacy goals. 
READ Center students set personal literacy goals when they enter the program. Some goals are job related (passing a certification, obtaining a job/better job) while others are educational (attaining a GED, helping children with homework ) or personal (getting a driver's license, reading the bible, doing what everyone else can do). These goals provide motivation to students and a path for learning.
Goals are broken into sub-goals to make the task less daunting and to celebrate achievements along the way. Learning to read as an adult is hard work. It takes time, determination and commitment.  
The achievement of student goals, no matter how large or how small, is The READ Center's key measure of success. 
Training volunteers to serve as adult literacy tutors.
The READ Center trains and provides resources to volunteers who tutor adult-learners. READ tutors come from all walks of life and share a common interest in giving back and making a difference. Their gifts of time, dedication, and talents to our students is much needed and greatly appreciated. 
The READ provides online preparation, eight hours of classroom training, observation opportunities and literacy tutor resources to prepare tutors. In addition, there are professional development opportunities provided throughout the year to increase volunteers tutor and personal skills.  
Tutors support READ classroom instruction and student goals, as well as, working in one-to-one pairs with students. 
Population Served Adults
Budget $6,000.00
Short Term Success
READ Center tutors support students in READ classrooms and provide instruction through one-to-one pairs. 
  •  Develop tutor profiles to help inform advertising and recruitment efforts.
  • Train and deploy at least 65 adult literacy tutors to READ programs. 
  • Retention rate is 80%.
Long Term Success
As part of READ's strategic plan, an expansion of one-to-one tutors to 200 pairs is a long-term goal.  
Low literacy is a significant barrier to navigating the healthcare system. From a study conducted at George Washington University Public Health Dept., “Securing appropriate healthcare hinges on having the necessary skills to read and fill out medical and health insurance forms, communicate with healthcare providers, and follow basic instructions and medical advice. At virtually every point along the healthcare services spectrum, the healthcare system behaves in a way that requires patients to read and understand important healthcare information."
The purpose of this program is provide instruction to low literate adults so they increase their literacy skills and better navigate the healthcare system.  
Population Served Adults
Budget $20,000.00
Short Term Success

• At least 75% of HLAL class participants will show an increase in health literacy knowledge by the end of the class.

• At least 75% of HLAL class participants will show an increase in confidence in health topics by the end of the class.

•At least 95% would recommend the class to family and friends.

Long Term Success
The ultimate goal of this program is to increase the health of those who attend by increasing their access to healthcare through better understanding and knowledge of the healthcare system. 
This is a new program for The READ Center. We recognize that tracking students to ascertain information on increased access and health changes after the completion of the 15-week class will be very difficult and may not be effective.
CEO/ED/Board Comments

The READ Center has worked with adults with low-level literacy for more than 33 years. There is no charge for our services.

90% of READ Center students read at or below the 5th grade level. 50% read at or below the 2nd grade level. 
READ students carry the stigma of poor school performance and shame of not being able to read as adult. The come to READ and bravely admit they need help. The READ Center provides not only literacy services, but a community of life long learners who respect and support each other.  
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $354,837.00
Projected Expenses $455,255.00
Endowment Value $151,028.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Form 990s
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 Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$21,407$16,407$25,257
Individual Contributions$116,970$92,312$74,217
Investment Income, Net of Losses$12,836$7,727$17,544
Membership Dues------
Special Events$26,576$34,092$20,186
Revenue In-Kind$102,820$103,690$67,844
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$320,858$324,574$249,203
Administration Expense$20,670$28,249$31,090
Fundraising Expense$27,781$12,386$15,209
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.190.861.31
Program Expense/Total Expenses87%89%84%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue9%6%5%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$485,237$418,709$465,617
Current Assets$327,790$413,816$460,247
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0--
Current Liabilities$9,714$13,735$9,185
Total Net Assets$475,523$404,974$456,432
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities33.7430.1350.11
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit 11/2017View
Organization Comments
The READ Center has a planned deficit the 2017-2018. The deficit will reduce READ's assets, but will not affect READ's stable and strong financial position. 
The deficit is for expansion of READ Center programs to serve more students.  
Foundation Comments
  • Financial information provided from audited financial statements.
  • Audited financial statements prepared by Harris, Hardy, & Johnstone, PC.
  • IRS 990s prepared by Dixon Hughes Goodman/Goodman & Company.