Improve the reading proficiency of 420 elementary school students in Pasadena through 1:1 literacy tutoring with Focusing Philanthropy and Reading Partners

As always, Focusing Philanthropy covers all overhead costs. 100% of every donation will go to the 2018 Pasadena Expansion Campaign.


In grades 1 to 3, students learn to read. Thereafter, students read to learn. Once students begin falling behind in reading, they tend to fall faster and further behind their peers with every year. Children who do not meet proficiency benchmarks for reading by the end of third grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school.

With Pasadena having one of the highest income disparities in the state of California, it is clear that students are falling behind at a rate higher than the state average. 58 percent are not proficient by 4th grade. Strong reading skills are especially critical for low-income youth, where low educational attainment can entrench them in cycle of poverty and diminish their future earning potential in the workplace.


Focusing Philanthropy, Reading Partners, and the Pasadena Unified School District have partnered on a multi-year campaign to provide 500 students reading behind grade level with 1:1 literacy tutoring. Since the 2014-2015 school year, we have successfully grown the Reading Partners Pasadena program to serve 365 students across seven of the district’s 10 Title I (low-income) schools.

Reading Partners recruits and trains local volunteers to tutor students 1:1 twice weekly for 45 minutes following a step-by-step, research-based literacy curriculum. The program operates in dedicated elementary school classrooms to support K-4th grade students reading 6 months to 2.5 years behind grade-level. Readers attend Title I schools where 40% or more students qualify for the federal free or reduced lunch programs (an indicator of poverty) and are assessed three times each year to track progress.


The 2018 “Pasadena Expansion Initiative” campaign aims to raise an initial target of $460,000 to support the continued expansion of the Reading Partners Pasadena program, with plans to enroll 420 students in the 2018-2019 school year.

In partnership with the Helen and Will Webster Foundation, Focusing Philanthropy is offering a 1:1 match. From March 31 to October 31, 2018, every $1 raised by Reading Partners will be matched with $1 raised by Focusing Philanthropy, for up to $230,000 in matching campaign support.

To qualify for the match, donations must be directed to Focusing Philanthropy and a minimum of $1,000. Donations are fully tax deductible and 100% of funds contributed will go to the 2018 campaign. All Focusing Philanthropy costs are covered by its founders.