Changing Generations with Partner, Microsoft

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Read Seed, Inc
City & State:
North Carolina
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

Read Seed is committed to improving child





Read Seed is committed to improving child literacy in North Carolina through advocacy, intervention and partnership to provide book ownership to low-income children. In partnership with NC HUD Housing Authorities, Read Seed gives new, age-appropriate books to every resident between ages 0 to 7 years old. Decades of academic research confirms the importance of children having 'books in the home' to significantly impact academic performance regardless of race, ethnicity, gender and family socioeconomic status.


Submission Information

Impact Essay









Read Seed Microsoft Office Professional 2003, 2004, 2005

Thank you Microsoft for helping Read Seed, Inc change book at a time. Read Seed, Inc's (RSI) is a young nonprofit (2000) in Durham, North Carolina with a mission to improve childhood literacy and school readiness for low-income children through book ownership and parental support to facilitate literacy skill building. In partnership with NC HUD Housing Authorities, RSI gives books to all children between ages 0 and 7 years old, several times a year. We are building home libraries and seeding young book lovers for a lifetime. While that is great, what is more important, we are preparing children to succeed. Read Seed's mission is based upon decades of research findings that children who have 'books in the home' perform significantly better regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or family socioeconomic status. Read more at Changing generations because children who are read to will read to their children. Many low-income children own no books and fewer books than middle-income children.

Prior to TechSoup's spectacular Microsoft offer to purchase three licensed Office Professional products, Read Seed struggled to find money to replace the trial software after expiration on our computers. Never enough money because RSI focused on book purchases and literacy program needs. Staff consisted of no more than three paid workers. But, we had thousands of books to get to low-income children and became expert at finding ways to do the most with little.

Consider our Books In A Bag program. Hundreds of children each year are given books based upon age, 0 through 7, several time a year. Each age group receives the same book title and many households participate in the program for 5 years or more. Books given to that household for a 3 year old cannot be given to that household again. Duplication of titles must be avoided. Now multiply this by all the ages served several times a year for several years in 20 housing communities and you get a picture of our book tracking and management challenges. We could not have done it without Microsoft Excel. In the past we used word documents and tried to keep up with the paperwork. Now we have a database of book titles given to each child in each family.

Presenting our best look with documents and newsletters was less than professional before Publishing. The templates offered there made for simple solutions and produced our “New Look” newsletter. Friends of Read Seed were impressed by the improvements. Our multi-tasking staff found that Publisher gave quality output with time saving ease. We depend on a great many volunteers and Publisher allowed us to produce a Volunteer newsletter which enhanced recruiting , recognition of outstanding workers and announcement of upcoming opportunities. We were able to track workers, hours and jobs easier for year end reporting.

The best mission and program cannot survive without sustainable funds. As founder of Read Seed with a bookkeeping background, I kept receipts, wrote journal entries and assured potential donors that we did great things with limited funds. They understood that fiscal accountability is more than my word and paper transactions. In 2004, an accounting student took time to convert previous financial data into a usable format with Excel and later QuickBooks. Accountability and financial responsibility is represented by accurate records in a standardized format. I once believed that only the larger nonprofits with support staff had the advantage. Microsoft leveled the field for Read Seed by actually documenting our little that did a lot. We could then concentrate on our mission to give more books to children. Between summer 2002 and end of year 2006, Read Seed gave over 30,000 books to low-income children in our community. Thanks, Microsoft Partner!




Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery
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Supporting Work Files
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