Announcement, News

Detroit Coalition Launches Springboard Collaborative’s Family-Based Literacy Program for Thousands of Children Learning at Home

Jun 29, 2020



GreenLight Fund Detroit’s third social investment leads a $3 million commitment to
improve grade-level reading with structured family engagement.


Detroit, MI – A citywide partnership led by GreenLight Fund brings national nonprofit Springboard Collaborative’s family-based literacy program to Detroit. GreenLight’s multi-year $600,000 social investment leads a $3 million philanthropic and public commitment, initially bringing the program to as many as 2,000 pre-K through third-grade students this summer.

“Springboard’s track record of literacy gains and a core focus on family engagement resonated deeply in our community-driven selection process,” said GreenLight Fund Detroit founding executive director Rishi Moudgil. “Their pivot to remote programming in partnership with existing Detroit schools and providers allows us to collectively build an effective model that will persist, regardless of COVID-19 conditions.”

Due to the pandemic, families face a daunting challenge of educating their kids from home. Springboard family workshops create personalized reading plans that increase the quality and quantity of time students spend reading at home. In addition to regular instruction, Detroit families will participate in live weekly workshops either online or by phone, led by formally trained teachers and paid staff. Springboard will continue its reach as an out-of-school time provider this fall alongside partners including General Motors, 313Reads, The Skillman Foundation, and United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

“With many parents juggling both work and home-schooling, now is the perfect time to equip them with the right tools to for their children to achieve reading success,” said Alejandro Gibes de Gac, the founder and CEO of Springboard Collaborative. “Our Learning Accelerator allows parents to get hands-on involvement in their children’s education in Detroit. The importance of family engagement has never been more apparent, and we need to urgently utilize them as a critical resource.”

Springboard’s novel, research-based model engages families through a goal-based program that reverses the “summer slide” – the one to three months of literacy learning loss in low-income households between school years – by producing multiple months of reading progress over a five week period, while also strengthening at-home habits such as increased weekly minutes reading.

“We need to activate all assets and opportunities for our children to achieve grade-level reading, especially beyond the traditional school day,” said Punita Thurman, Vice President at The Skillman Foundation and a member of GreenLight Fund Detroit’s Selection Advisory Council. “GreenLight Fund lifted families’ desire to be at the center of their children’s education, and the community collaboration and innovation that drove the process is now embedded in the selection of Springboard Collaborative.”

This summer, parents and caregivers of pre-K through third-grade students will be matched virtually with a teacher to provide instruction, set personalized goals, receive customized reading tips and coaching, access reading-level-appropriate books, track progress through the Springboard Connect app, and earn incentives for reaching goals. The program will continue to its next phase after school hours during the upcoming school year, with the goal of reaching and improving grade level literacy for 10,000 Detroit students in four years.

“This collaborative partnership underscores Springboard’s strong reputation in helping change the course for many families through literacy,” said Terry Rhadigan, executive director of Corporate Giving at General Motors. “An investment in Detroit students is an investment in Detroit’s future, and we’re proud to join this mission.”

Local schools and existing literacy support providers implementing Springboard’s program this summer include: Beyond Basics, Brilliant Detroit, Center for Success, Cornerstone Schools, Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences, Detroit Leadership Academy, Martin Luther King Jr. Education Center Academy, and University Prep Schools.

GreenLight Fund’s yearlong assessment process highlighted the urgent need to support literacy growth before Michigan’s third grade reading law – which requires schools to retain students who are not reading on grade level by the end of third grade – goes into effect this year. Only about 15% of Detroit third-graders read at or above grade-level. By fifth grade, cumulative summer learning loss can leave low-income students performing 2-3 years behind their peers. Parents and families who advise GreenLight recognized that to be successful, the solution needed to directly involve them in their children’s learning. Springboard Collaborative was selected by the coalition to address those needs after a national search and vetting process.