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Cyndy, Marisol, and Lynn celebrate Marisol's US citizenship.

Literacy Goals Achieved!

ReadWest Adult Students achieved a total of 721 of literacy goals during the 2018 – 2019 fiscal year. Among our ESL Students, 6 ReadWest Students and 8 First Unitarian Church students gained their US Citizenship this year.  Many of these students studied for their US Citizenship Exam with their one-to-one tutor. Others attended a 10-week course offered at ReadWest two times a year.  This course is taught by Lynn Simson and was originated by Barbara Kitchens. Both of these women are long-time volunteers at ReadWest.  The 10-week course will be offered again in the fall of 2019. Please contact us at readwest@readwest.org for more information or call 505-892-1131.

Pictured below is Cyndy Ratliff, ReadWest Program Coordinator; Marisol, ReadWest Student and new US Citizen; and Lynn Simson, US Citizenship Tutor.

Cyndy, Marisol, and Lynn celebrate Marisol's US citizenship.

ReadWest Used Book Sale Chalk Sign

Sunday is Funday

Got time? Got books? We are looking for volunteers to help staff the booth at Haynes Park on August 18th from Noon until 4 PM where we will be participating in the Rio Rancho celebration. We will also be selling used books again this year. If you have a box of books to donate, please drop them by ReadWest. If you want to help staff the booth, please contact us at readwest@readwest.org.

Learn more about Sunday is Funday.

ReadWest Used Book Sale Chalk Sign

Can You Believe It’s Been 30 Years?

Summer Greetings!

July is the start of another Year at ReadWest. This year is unique as we celebrate 30 years of providing literacy to adults in New Mexico.

Our calendar is filled with commemorative events. This month we rolled out our 30th Anniversary Letterhead and signatures that we will use throughout the year.  We will formally get the party started with our Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Dinner at San Ysidro Chapel in Corrales. Tickets for this dinner and silent auction will go on sale later this fall. In December our Annual Meeting and Luncheon will be a FREE 30th Anniversary Celebration featuring ReadWest Student Success Stories and a special guest. More celebratory events are planned, so stay tuned!

ReadWest experienced many changes last year. Our kind friends helped us settle in a new home after 22 years at our former address. However, one thing did not change. ReadWest Tutor/Student pairs met for literacy instruction continuously. Many group classes were relocated to senior centers and churches while we remodeled. Despite the facility move, ReadWest Volunteers logged 15,678 hours of service during the 2018-19 fiscal year. The Independent Sector estimates a volunteer tutor’s wage at $25.43 per hour. This means the ReadWest Adult Literacy Program contributed $398,691 of literacy service to our community. This impressive contribution was achieved by the dedicated volunteers at ReadWest. Volunteers are indeed the heart of our program. Thank you all for believing in our mission.

If you’d like to support our mission financially, consider joining our special anniversary 360° Donor Circle.

Sincerely,

Muncie Hansen
Executive Director

ReadWest’s mission is to provide quality one-to-one tutoring to adults seeking to transform their lives through enhanced literacy skills.

two hands holding a red glass heart

Corporate Employee Matching Gift Programs

two hands holding a red glass heart

For nonprofit organizations, every dollar counts. Corporate employee matching gifts offer the opportunity to turn one dollar donated by a match-eligible employee into two, three, four, or even five dollars!

In this article, we’re going to explore exactly what to expect when working with matching gifts and how to make the most of this incredible fundraising opportunity.

What are corporate matching gift programs?

Employee matching gift programs are a type of corporate philanthropy set up to encourage employees to give back to their communities. These companies encourage community outreach by making donations to the same nonprofits that their employees have donated to.

These programs have become quite widespread, but many donors have not heard of them or aren’t aware of their own match-eligibility. $4-7 billion in matching gift revenue is left on the table each year, and we want to work with our donors to claim some of it.

The specifics of these programs vary from company to company, but the elements that shape these guidelines are always the same:

  • Match ratio: This defines what kind of donation the company will make in relation to the employee’s initial contribution. A 1:1 ratio indicates that the company will donate the exact same amount, doubling the contribution to the employee’s chosen nonprofit.
  • Minimum and maximum: The minimum refers to the amount an employee must donate to qualify for a matching gift. The maximum is the total amount that a company will donate in matching contributions per employee annually.
  • Employee status: Sometimes, the employee’s role at the company can affect the match that they qualify for. For example, Gap Inc. offers a $1,000 maximum to part-time employees and a $10,000 maximum to Senior VP’s.
  • Nonprofit eligibility: Some programs offer different matches based on the nonprofit being donated to. ExxonMobil offers a higher match for donations made to educational institutions than for donations made to cultural organizations.
  • Deadline: Every program identifies a deadline when the matching gift request must be submitted by the employee. This deadline can be either a firm date (December 31st is common) or a threshold based on the date of the initial donation (90 days after donation is made).

Thousands of companies offer matching gift programs. A few examples include:

  • Johnson & Johnson — Triples donations with a 2:1 match for current employees while also doubling donations (a 1:1 match) for retirees.
  • Bank of America — Matches donations 1:1 up to $5,000 annually per employee.
  • Home Depot — Matches donations 1:1 up to $3,000 annually per employee.

The impact of these programs can be substantial! Microsoft has been known to match over $48 million worth of employee donations to schools and 501(c)(3) nonprofits in a single year. Did you know that more than 18 million employees work for companies with matching gift programs? You might be one of them.

Want to help ReadWest?

Increasing revenue with matching gifts isn’t too tricky, but we need your help.  You can help us reach our fundraising goals by contacting HR at your company to see if they offer an employee match-eligibility program.  If your company doesn’t have ReadWest listed and would like to, we can provide our information (Tax ID, address, fundraising contact).  We appreciate you taking a few minutes to double your donation!

Board President Todd Clark kicks off the annual ReadWest Holiday Party. Photo courtesy of Philip Banks Photography LLC

Spotlight – Todd Clark, Board President

Board President Todd Clark kicks off the annual ReadWest Holiday Party. Photo courtesy of Philip Banks Photography LLC
Board President Todd Clark kicks off the annual ReadWest Holiday Party. Photo courtesy of Phillip Banks Photography LLC

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was born in Texas and grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee. I served three years in the US Army as a Medic. While stationed in the Panama Canal Zone, I developed a real affinity for exploring new places, cuisines, and cultures. After my discharge, I returned to Memphis where I earned a BA in History from Memphis State University. In 1978, I moved to Western Massachusetts where my first wife and I raised our daughter and son. While I have worked in a number of different fields, most of my work life was as a construction project manager and contractor.

In 2013, my second wife and I started traveling around the country. She worked temporary assignments as a Family Nurse Practitioner and I stayed busy volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, and various local nonprofits. Our first temp assignment was in Gallup, New Mexico. During our six months there, we fell in love with the Southwest. After four more years of travel, we permanently relocated to Rio Rancho in 2017.

Biggest impact books:
Nonfiction – “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test”
Fiction – “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Favorite genre:  Detective novels

Favorite author:  Tony Hillerman

What Inspires You: I’m inspired by working to make the world a better place.

Favorite quote: “All animals are equal; but some animals are more equal than others.” – George Orwell in “Animal Farm”

If you could have any one superpower, which would you choose? The superpower that I would choose is the ability to spread my arms and take flight. Whenever I have a dream where I can fly, I wake up with a feeling of contentment and joy!