(Reach) was a two-person organization with an innovative approach to addressing literacy when Executive Director Mark Hecker applied for the Fair Chance partnership. Mark was ready to demonstrate that by teaching teens to serve as tutors and role models for younger students, he could improve literacy outcomes for both, but he knew there was so much about running an organization that he didn’t know. During the Fair Chance partnership, Reach developed an employee handbook as well as a strategic plan. These two concrete documents were essential building blocks to align the Board and staff on Reach’s future. Since completing the Fair Chance partnership, Reach’s budget has increased 578% in six years and over 350 students benefit from their services. The organization’s growth mirrors the gains made by Reach’s students: elementary school students show an increase of 1.5 grade levels of reading growth per year and 75% of 11th grade students read at or above grade level (as opposed to the DCPS average of 85% of high school students reading below grade level).
“FIn conversations with Fair Chance, I realized the power I had as a founder. The best product of those conversations was the realization I didn’t have to follow the rules, I could build a different kind of organization.” – Mark Hecker, Executive Director, Reach, Incorporated