Reach Out and Read is thrilled to announce it has received an $8 million investment from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. This historic investment stands as the largest private contribution in Reach Out and Read’s 34-year history. The funds will play a pivotal role in enhancing the organization’s mission to promote early relational health for children through bonding during reading and pediatric care.
“We deeply appreciate MacKenzie Scott for recognizing Reach Out and Read as a leader in early relational health,” commented Marty Martinez, CEO of Reach Out and Read. “This contribution will facilitate long-term expansion, ultimately meeting the moment we’re in, serving more children sooner, and ensuring equitable access all over the country.
Reach Out and Read has stepped up to achieve this remarkable moment through an extensive vetting process and providing its plans for determining successful impact. This will unlock opportunities for children and families through meaningful investments in structures and systems in a way that the impact and speed of implementation is now made possible.
The nonprofit is also creating a Transformation Fund in which this investment is seeding to be able to serve three principles: 1) making a catalytic impact, 2) sustainable growth, and 3) solidifying its foundation while forging ahead with its national strategy, driving state and local priorities across the country.
“Everyone from our affiliate staff to our pediatric care providers has played a vital role in growing this organization to what it is today,” continues Martinez. “With the support of our dedicated affiliate leaders, we are confident that this funding will be seamlessly integrated into our structured mission, enabling us to empower even more children and families through the joy of reading together and creating moments that matter.”
Robert Needlman, M.D., Co-Founder of Reach Out and Read and a renowned pediatrician, expressed his excitement about the recent investment, stating, “Doctors and nurses have a special opportunity to help children grow up loving books while feeling emotionally connected with their parents. Reach Out and Read began as a handful of pediatricians, educators, and volunteers in a single Boston clinic. We’ve grown into a national organization, but we need to reach every family, everywhere. The incredible moment will help us make this vision a reality.”
As the only evidence-based model that builds emotional connections through books and shared stories endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Reach Out and Read serves 4.2 million children annually across all 50 states. Half of the children served are from under-represented families. The Reach Out and Read model has the potential to reach 90 percent of all children in the U.S. through well-child visits, beginning at birth. The nonprofit currently has more than 33,000 pediatric clinicians participating in 6,000 clinics nationwide.
This funding will unlock endless opportunities to reach every child regardless of economic background, ensuring they have access to resources to have those special moments and memories of bonding through books, starting at birth.