Read to Grow
53 School Ground Road
Unit #3
Branford CT 06405
Contact Information
Address 53 School Ground Road
Unit #3
Branford, CT 06405-
Telephone (203) 488-6800 x
Fax 203-488-7735
E-mail readtogrow@readtogrow.org
Web and Social Media
Mission

Read to Grow promotes language-building and literacy for children, beginning at birth, and supports parents as their babies' first teachers. We operate with two main programs: Books for Babies and Books for Kids.

More and more research shows babies begin learning at birth. Brain growth and development are greatest during a child's first three years. Healthy stimulation and bonding come through parents reading, talking, singing, and playing with their babies.

In our vision, every family--regardless of income, race and primary language--will understand the critical importance of early childhood literacy and will take an active role in their child's reading development. Also, all children in Connecticut will have books of their own.
At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 1998
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Kyn Tolson
Board Chair Roxanne J Coady
Board Chair Company Affiliation RJ Julia Booksellers
Financial Summary
 
Projected Revenue $708,607.00
Projected Expenses $708,607.00
Statements
Mission

Read to Grow promotes language-building and literacy for children, beginning at birth, and supports parents as their babies' first teachers. We operate with two main programs: Books for Babies and Books for Kids.

More and more research shows babies begin learning at birth. Brain growth and development are greatest during a child's first three years. Healthy stimulation and bonding come through parents reading, talking, singing, and playing with their babies.

In our vision, every family--regardless of income, race and primary language--will understand the critical importance of early childhood literacy and will take an active role in their child's reading development. Also, all children in Connecticut will have books of their own.
Background

The idea of Read to Grow began in 1998 when Connecticut shoreline residents, RJ Julia Booksellers and Fair Haven Community Health Center joined forces to collect more than 12,000 books for children who had none of their own.

Since incorporation in 2000, Read to Grow has brought the flagship program, Books for Babies, to 12 hospitals and to primary care centers for low-income families. It has also created Books for Kids as a literacy continuum program, providing books statewide to children, families, caregivers, teachers, community groups, other nonprofits, and anyone interested in reading for children.
 
Currently with a $900,000 annual budget, Read to Grow strengths these time-tested programs. Today we launch two significant initiatives, focusing our education for parents about early literacy and our book distributions on families living in poverty.
 
As we have over the last 14 years, Read to Grow relies on the support of volunteers, individual donors, partner hospitals, businesses, and foundations.
 
Today more than 21,000 families of newborns receive books and literacy resources and thousands of other children receive over 108,000 new and gently used books every year.
 
Tomorrow tens of thousands more expectant and new parents will learn about the importance of early childhood literacy. Also, many more families living in poverty will have books for their children. 
 

Impact
GOAL: To provide our Books for Babies early literacy packet with baby book to Connecticut families of newborns on hospital maternity units and to provide literacy information and books to expectant parents and families at primary care centers throughout the state.
 
IMPACT: Read to Grow is a key component of the maternity experience in 12 of the state's 27 birthing hospitals, where Books for Babies annually reaches 52% of newborns. Also, we serve 8 different programs within primary care centers for low-income families in New Haven and Hartford.
 
GOAL: To provide books to all children in Connecticut who need them and to ensure that parents know the critical importance of of fostering language skills and literacy for their children. 
 
IMPACT:  Read to Grow distributes every year more than 110,000 books for children, in addition to the new board books for babies on maternity units. Also, a DVD called "First Guide for Parents" is one of the tools we use to educate parents and other caregivers about early childhood literacy and the easy activities they can do with their infants and children.
 
IMPACT: Read to Grow and United Way of Coastal Fairfield County continue the Books for Kids Early Literacy Initiative to ensure that the home environments of children in United Way’s 12-town region of Greater Bridgeport and Greater Norwalk are literacy-rich, with age-appropriate books. More than 33,000 books were distributed in the initiative's second year--a 68 percent increase from the first year. 
 
Needs

1) Support with designated funding for the Books for Babies program within our 12 partner hospitals in Connecticut. $120,000.

2) Support for our new bilingual staff member and expanded work schedules for current staff for launching two initiatives that will focus our efforts on low-income and at-risk families. In one program, we partner with other community-based nonprofits already serving those in need; in the other, we set up community-based sites where all families can go to select books for their children to keep. $60,000

3) Preparation of our new 70-page manual and other materials for exporting our Books for Babies program to other states. $30,000 
 
4) Production of a video program on early childhood literacy to air on Baby TV in hospital maternity units (English and Spanish). $10,000
 
5) Coverage of additional vehicle/transportation cost arising from new initiatives across the state. $7,500 
CEO Statement

The first step to literacy is developing good language skills. Strong language skills are among the best predictors of later reading and writing abilities and even success in school.

Reading aloud exposes babies to words and speech and helps build good language skills early on. Read to Grow is the only statewide organization to connect with parents of newborns in the hospitals, giving them the resources that will allow them to make the most of those critical early years. We hope their children will enter school ready to learn to read, grow and thrive.

Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Education / Educational Services
Secondary Organization Category Youth Development /
Areas Served
State wide
Cheshire
Derby
East Haven
Guilford
Hamden
Lower Naugatuck Valley
Madison
Milford
New Haven
North Branford
North Haven
Orange
Oxford
Seymour
Shelton
Shoreline
Wallingford
West Haven
Woodbridge
Ansonia
Read to Grow provides children's books and early literacy resources to families throughout Connecticut.  Our programs serve families living in town and cities, from Bridgeport and New Haven to Middletown, Hartford, New London, and many others. 
Programs
Description Books for Babies is a program that builds literacy from birth. Books for Babies reaches over 52% of Connecticut newborns and their families annually in partnership with 12 hospitals in the Greater New Haven, Hartford, Bridgeport, Manchester New London, Sharon, Middletown, Norwalk, Putnam, and Derby. Through Books for Babies, we connect with parents of newborns while on the maternity unit. Trained volunteers visit with parents to talk about early literacy development. Before discharge, each family receives a bag with a new children’s book and a guide that explains the many simple ways to stimulate their child’s language development. Families can receive free, new children’s books through the first year of life and information on how to help their child develop early literacy skills.
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) / At-Risk Populations / Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.
85% of parents report the literacy packet given at birth was helpful and that they learned new information about how their child develops.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.

Parent surveys are administered at 3 and 12 months and show:

 1) 90% of families learn new information from literacy guide

 2) 85% of families learn new ways to help their baby learn

 3) 80% of families learn about their baby’s development

 4) 90% of families read the book given by Read to Grow

A recent examination of the Books for Babies program conducted by Beth Osborne Daponte, Ph.D., Social Science Consultants and review of the literature suggest that the program is well-designed and well implemented. The literature review strongly suggests that the program could have substantial impact on the lives of the families with which it interacts.
 
Results: parents embrace message of early literacy development and create a home environment that encourages learning. Thus, children develop pre-literacy skills.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
Parent surveys are completed at three months and twelve months during the Books for Babies program first year. 
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.

A recent examination of the Books for Babies program conducted by Beth Osborne Daponte, Ph.D., Social Science Consultants and review of the literature suggest that the program is well-designed and well implemented. The literature review strongly suggests that the program could have substantial impact on the lives of the families with which it interacts. If even a small portion of families that the program interacts with act upon the Books for Babies message, then the program would have a real and lasting effect.

 

Success story: Quote from parent upon receiving literacy bag: “I think {Read to Grow} is a great program. As a first grade teacher, I get to see the huge difference between children who are read to/with and those who are not. Thank you for the books.” Parent

 

Another: “I wanted to thank you for sending books for Isa. I just got out of the army and am having trouble finding a job. I love reading to my baby but can’t afford books right now.” Hartford-area parent
Description
Read to Grow programs serve all children, providing them with free books from birth through middle school age.  Our Books for Kids program provides new and gently used books to children and to the programs that serve them.  Last year, more than 110,000 books were donated to Read to Grow. We redistributed them and more than 10,000 new books for a total of 121,000 books to children and families through the Books for Kids program.
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) / At-Risk Populations / Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. Every year we see an increase in the number of families requesting books through this program, and in the number of books distributed throughout the state.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. Studies have shown that age-appropriate books in the home are one of the most important pieces for children to become successful readers. We also know from research studies that almost 61% of low-income families do not own children's books.  We ultimately hope to increase the number of children who are successful readers by the end of third grade when reading to learn begins. Ultimately we will see a significant reduction in the drop-out rate, juvenile delinquency, teenage pregnancy, crime, reliance on special education and welfare. Successful readers will become productive citizens.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. The program is measured by the number of book requests, the number of books distributed and the number of book drives and books collected.
Program Comments
CEO Comments
Our Books for Babies early literacy program currently serves over 50% of all the births in CT.  Our goal is to reach 100% of all newborns and to prepare their parents to take an active role in their child's literacy development from day one. To help parents create a language-rich environment in which children can develop those critical early skills, we provide books to families and the programs that serve them.  Program expansion to other hospital settings is dependent upon financial resources.  We have received many inquiries from hospitals that are eager to offer the early literacy program to their new families but are challenged by a lack the resources. 
CEO/Executive Director
Ms. Kyn Tolson
Term Start Jan 2014
Email ktolson@readtogrow.org
Experience Ms. Tolson was previously Executive Director for Outreach for Haiti.
Staff
Number of Full Time Staff 2
Number of Part Time Staff 7
Number of Volunteers 75
Staff Retention Rate 100%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 7
Hispanic/Latino 2
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Former CEOs and Terms
NameTerm
Anthony DiLauro Aug 2011 - Apr 2013
Susanne Santangelo Mar 2007 - Mar
Senior Staff
Title Books for Babies Hospital Coordinator
Experience/Biography
As an RN, Ms. Russo was a newborn intensive care specialist responsible for patients, post-partum education and coordinating volunteer services.  She has direct experience counseling new mothers about literacy and coordinates training activities for all hospital-based literacy volunteers.
Title Books for Kids Coordinator
Experience/Biography
Ms. Sylvester holds a MS in Early Intervention for Special Needs Infants and Toddlers from Wheelock College.  She worked for the State of CT, Board of Education and Services for the Blind as a preschool education consultant. She has been with Read to Grow since 2005.
Title Office Manager
Title Books for Kids Coordinator
Title Books for Kids Associate
Title Development Associate
Title Books for Babies Associate
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
Community Hall of FameWNET Channel Thirteen New York2008
Kids Are Our Business Service AwardClifford W. Beers Guidance Clinic2009
Mary Ives AwardNew Haven Free Public Library2008
Board Chair
Roxanne J Coady
Company Affiliation RJ Julia Booksellers
Term July 1998 to June 2015
Email rjcoady@rjjulia.com
Board of Directors
NameAffiliation
Joanne Cunard Ph.D.St Joseph College
Mary Kay Curtiss Blum Shapiro Co
Alva Greenberg
Jennifer Groves Fusco Updike, Kelly & Spellacy
Tom Gullotta
Mr. Jeff Hartmann The Hartmann Group
Carla Horwitz Calvin Hill Day Care Center
Julia Irwin Ph.D.Haskins Laboratories
Lisa Maass Citizens Bank
Bonnie Patten
Karen Pritzker Seedlings Foundation
Sandra Trevino Junta for Progressive Action
John Wolter Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C.
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 13
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 3
Female 11
Risk Management Provisions
Directors and Officers Policy
Automobile Insurance
Accident and Injury Coverage
Standing Committees
Audit
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Executive
Finance
Program / Program Planning
Board Governance
 
 
Financials
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2014
Fiscal Year End June 30 2015
Projected Revenue $708,607.00
Projected Expenses $708,607.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Revenue Sources ChartHelpThe 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 Year201420132012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$674,202$552,806$538,963
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Federal------
State------
Local------
Unspecified------
Individual Contributions------
------
$70,031$76,485$70,140
Investment Income, Net of Losses$714$829$1,569
Membership Dues------
Special Events$44,811$61,104$4,865
Revenue In-Kind------
Other($971)$3,556($3,038)
Prior Three Years Expense Allocations Chart
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$576,256$680,521$653,612
Administration Expense$53,630$60,836$69,008
Fundraising Expense$72,639$82,121$56,150
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.120.840.79
Program Expense/Total Expenses82%83%84%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue10%13%10%
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$594,746$507,089$643,374
Current Assets$510,926$459,577$586,058
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities$15,197$13,802$21,387
Total Net Assets$579,549$493,287$621,987
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountSeedlings Foundation $125,000Seedlings Foundation $88,699United Way of Coastal Fairfield County $36,271
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountUnited Way of Coastal Fairfield County $39,000United Way of Coastal Fairfield County $38,600Seedlings Foundation $35,200
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountMJ & Caral G Lebworth Foundation $30,000Hartford Hospital $30,000Pitney Bowes Literacy Foundation $15,000
Solvency
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities33.6233.3027.40
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Comments
Foundation Staff Comments

This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.

 

Address 53 School Ground Road
Unit #3
Branford, CT 06405
Primary Phone 203 488-6800
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Kyn Tolson
Board Chair Roxanne J Coady
Board Chair Company Affiliation RJ Julia Booksellers

 

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