Raising A Reader

RAISING A READER APPOINTS NONPROFIT EXECUTIVE MICHELLE TORGERSON AS PRESIDENT AND CEO

National children’s literacy organization continues expansion of programs to reach more than 3 million children by 2020

REDWOOD CITY, CA, May 29, 2018 – Raising A Reader, a national nonprofit organization that provides resources and guidance for families to implement home-based literacy routines, has appointed Michelle Torgerson as its president and CEO. Torgerson will have oversight of the organization’s day-to-day operations and drive its current initiative to reach 3 million children across the country by 2020. Torgerson will officially assume her new role June 11, 2018.

Erica Wood, chief community impact officer for Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF), has been serving as interim president and CEO since the departure of Gabrielle Miller who led the organization for the past 10 years. Wood will be returning to her position at SVCF.

“Both personally and professionally, Michelle has made a longstanding commitment to children’s literacy,” said Richard Wilkolaski, chairman of the board for Raising A Reader. “She is entrepreneurial, mission-driven, places a high value on building and cultivating relationships and is an advocate for children and the importance of literacy.”

Torgerson has spent the past 20 years in the nonprofit sector and her experience includes leadership roles with nonprofits to deepen their reach in communities across the country. Previously Torgerson was senior executive director of Reading Partners, a San Francisco-based literacy intervention organization. Her responsibilities included overseeing a staff of 70 and securing revenue through foundation, individual, corporate, and government sources and generating partnerships to ensure needed funding. She also held executive positions at College Possible, a national nonprofit that makes college admission and success possible for low-income students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support.

“I am passionate about closing the opportunity gap for under resourced children and their families,” said Torgerson. “My own trajectory was greatly influenced by educational interventions like Raising A Reader. I have dedicated my career to removing barriers to accessing education and creating a future that represents the diversity of this country. I am looking forward to leading Raising A Reader and working with its staff, affiliates, donors, and supporters to support the organization’s mission of increasing the literacy rate of this generation and those to come.”

Raising A Reader recently announced one of the most aggressive literacy campaigns in recent U.S. history. The nonprofit has committed to reaching 3 million children across the country with its literacy program by 2020. Last year, Raising A Reader hired seasoned Washington, D.C. nonprofit executive Gloria Garcia to assist with efforts to fund the program’s expansion.

The Raising A Reader program is evidence-based, with more than 32 independent evaluations showing that Raising A Reader significantly improves language and literacy skills, cognitive development, communication and comprehension skills, school readiness and social competence. The program is implemented through a network of community partners that comprise more than 2,900 locations across the country including public school systems, libraries, afterschool programs, community agencies, and other organizations both public and private.

Raising A Reader is a 501c3 charitable organization dedicated to helping families develop, practice, and maintain literacy habits for children ages 0-8 that are critical for a child’s success in school and in life. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, Raising A Reader was founded in 1999 and has served more than 1.6 million children nationwide. More information is available at RaisingAReader.org, @RARnational (Twitter) and RaisingAReaderNational (Facebook).

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