Legacy for Literacy

Creating a Lasting Impact


Driving Change through Family Philanthropy

As a social justice organization committed to amplifying reading outcomes for the Black and Latinx children we serve, Children’s Literacy Initiative is also committed to diversifying philanthropy and making it more equitable. One of the number of ways we are doing this is to welcome a new generation of supporters seeking to undo inequities in education and, through CLI, safeguard high-quality reading education that children impacted by systemic inequity deserve.

Here is Jenna B’s story, first published in The Read in May 2021, of her family’s multi-generational collaboration and philanthropy that enable her and her cousins to impact an issue they care deeply about.


Letter from Jenna B

About 25 years ago, my aunt instituted an annual family reunion where all of my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents would get together for a week in a new location every summer. Because of this tradition and the time we committed to spending with each other, my cousins have always felt more like siblings to me, even now as we are all grown adults with busy lives, families, living across the country from one another.

Three years ago, we were given a unique gift of which the benefits were much bigger than I ever could have imagined. The generation before us—our aunts, uncles, and parents—collectively pooled together the money they would normally spend on birthdays and holiday gifts and decided to give us a lump sum of money to donate to the charity of our choice. I was blown away by this opportunity to collaborate with my cousins and align on something we could support together. It allowed me/us to get personally involved in philanthropy, the first time I/we had done so with money instead of volunteer time.

Initially it took some time to narrow down the scope of interest amongst all of the cousins—we sent surveys, held Zoom meetings, and led research efforts to find organizations of interest to us. We discussed several ideas ranging from the environment to global impact to education until ultimately we landed on local education. We all agreed that in order to fix some of the larger issues our country and planet are facing, we need to invest in fixing the school systems to allow equity in, and access to, effective education.
Our decision to invest in CLI aligns with a core value we believe in so deeply: equality. CLI works to solve a fundamental problem in our education system, namely that students attending schools in affluent communities are afforded more opportunities than those in under-funded ones, a problem that disproportionately affects students of color.
We cannot deny the school system is failing. Our family’s philanthropy supports CLI’s decision to take a more focused approach toward addressing the immediate risk to these under-resourced communities. With our continued support, we believe CLI will be able to optimize their coaching methodology to go deeper in existing markets, expand to new markets, and continue to innovate on how to meet the needs of the ongoing virtual learning environment. While we were not able to predict the madness of the pandemic and its impact when we first decided to donate to CLI, I could not be more proud of the initial decision we made and of our continued investment in CLI’s ever-important mission. I am proud to be a part of the change our country needs so desperately, and I, alongside my cousins, am proud to invest in an organization having a positive impact on social justice.
As a result of this gift, I maintain regular communication with my cousins (who are located in 6 different states and 3 different time zones across the US) and we have bonded over the ability to make an impact in an area we mutually care about deeply. We are also learning how to measure impact with our philanthropy, which is an utterly intoxicating return on investment to each of us. We are more aware of the challenges in the education space and share news and updates as it relates to the world of CLI. I would encourage other families to consider implementing a similar tradition as the benefits of connectedness, meaningful discussion, and shared pride as a result of impact are boundless.

Using your Donor-Advised Fund to Maximize Impact

Recommending a grant to CLI from your donor-advised fund (DAF) should be convenient and easy for you, while helping to make significant impact on amplifying reading outcomes for the Black and Latinx children we serve.
A few things to know about your DAF:
  • You can use your DAF to make a one-time or a recurring gift.
  • You will receive an acknowledgment for your gift, but not a charitable receipt for tax purposes. This is because it is your contribution to your donor-advised fund that is tax-deductible, not your recommended grant to CLI.
  • If you are making your DAF grant recommendation through Fidelity Charitable®, Schwab Charitable®, or the BNY Mellon Charitable Gift Fund®, feel free to use the DAF Direct widget on our website at You can also find instructions for all other national and community foundation donor-advised funds there
  • Please request your name and address be included with your DAF grant so we may thank you for your generosity.

Learn more about how you can use Donor-Advised Funds to support early literacy 

Donor-Advised Funds

Raise a Glass For Reading

Save the date as CLI’s annual fundraiser will return again as a virtual event on May 19, 2022. Stay tuned for more details on the weeklong celebration of literacy.
See last year's Raise a Glass for Reading recap >>

CLI is Sharpening Its Focus

Children’s Literacy Initiative seeks to dismantle structural racism by providing Black and Latinx children with the anti-racist early literacy instruction, support, and advocacy needed to create equity in education.
Explore our new mission >>

Sample Language

To include CLI in your will, you may wish to share the following language with your estate-planning attorney:

I give, devise and bequeath to Children’s Literacy Initiative (tax identification number 23-2515768), (insert a sum, percentage, specific property, or residue/remainder) of my estate.

Contact Us

For more information about CLI’s Legacy Society and how you can shape your legacy with Children’s Literacy Initiative, please contact Simone Champagnie at 

The information provided in this material is presented solely as general educational information and is not intended to be a substitute for tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, accounting and/or financial advisors for advice specific to your situation.