Improve the reading proficiency of 810 elementary students in Pasadena and Los Angeles 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 2019 Pasadena and Los Angeles 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.

The communities Reading Partners serves in Pasadena and Los Angeles have some of the highest income disparities in the state of California, with students falling behind at a rate higher than the state average. 73% did not meet state standards in 2016. 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 and Reading Partners are partnering to increase the literacy rates of at least 810 students in Pasadena and Los Angeles in the 2019-2020 school year.

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 six 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 2019 expansion campaign will serve ~450 students across seven Reading Partners Pasadena school sites and make possible the launch of a new site at Roosevelt Elementary in the Pasadena Unified School District. The initiative will also support 375 students in Los Angeles, including the launch of an additional new school site.


With generous support from the Helen and Will Webster Foundation, Focusing Philanthropy is leading a 1:1 giving match. From March 31 to October 31, 2019, every $1 raised by Reading Partners will be matched with $1 raised by Focusing Philanthropy, for a combined campaign fundraising goal of $500,000.

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 2019 Pasadena and Los Angeles Expansion Campaign. All Focusing Philanthropy costs are covered by its founders.