Foundation fund

Reading program used by Detroit schools receives $1 million from Webber Foundation

A reading intervention program at select Detroit schools and a community center is receiving a $1 million grant from a Macomb County-based foundation that will allow it to expand its services this year.

Beyond Basics this week announced the donation from the Wayne and Joan Webber Foundation, which has donated a total of $6 million to support the nonprofit’s literacy efforts since 2006.

The $1 million donation will expand the program that provides intensive, one-on-one literacy tutoring that has a 90% success rate in getting students to learn grade-level reading skills in an average of six weeks.

Beyond Basics is present in nine high schools and four elementary schools in Detroit. They also provide services to the Durfee Innovation Society’s Family Literacy Center in Detroit.

Pamela Good, co-founder and CEO of Beyond Basics, said the partnership offers students who need extra reading support the critical opportunity to improve their foundational literacy skills while learning about the life of Wayne Webber, l ex-owner of highway construction company WW Webber Inc.

“The generous donation helps us serve more students in Southeast Michigan, including hiring many more tutors,” Good said. “While other students have sadly fallen behind due to COVID-19 school disruptions, our students can get the resources they need and make progress in reading.

Pamela Good, co-founder and CEO of Beyond Basics, announces a $1 million donation from the Wayne and Joan Webber Foundation to the Beyond Basics Legacy Program in Detroit on Wednesday, February 16, 2021.

The Clinton Township-based Webber Foundation seeks to provide access to quality health care, improve inner-city K-12 education, and food, clothing, and housing for the less fortunate.

Cynthia Webber Helisek, president of the foundation, said her aunt and uncle understood the essential role of literacy in a young person’s life.

“Wayne always said Beyond Basics would be a beacon that would shine across this country, waking people up to the literacy crisis and the importance of dedicated one-on-one tutoring,” Helisek said. “The ability to read and understand the written word should be the foundation of education in every community.”

Good says the program’s model is unique in literacy interventions, administering a diagnostic assessment and implementing an individualized reading plan five days a week, one hour a day, with trained tutors who develop relationships with students.

Once literate, students can achieve their educational goals and become thriving adults personally and professionally, Good said.

“Wayne and Joan have been pivotal in the development of our multi-sensory tutoring program,” said Good. “They were some of the earliest supporters of Beyond Basics, and they have continued to come forward to facilitate our growth whenever the need arose. We are indebted to their generosity and very grateful to have received their encouragement over the years.

The program seeks to hire between 100 and 150 paid tutors until the end of the year. To apply here. Tutors must be available to work Monday through Friday during school hours and can work up to 30 hours per week.

In October, the AA Van Elslander Foundation donated $1.5 million to Denby High School in Detroit to fund Beyond Basics literacy efforts there.

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