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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Beyond Basics

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Children & Youth, Education, Educational Services, Literacy, Remedial Reading & Encouragement, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Beyond Basics works to change the destinies of students’ lives by guiding and supporting at-risk children in grades K-12 through literacy, literacy-enrichment and community partnership programs. Through intensive one-on-one tutoring by trained staff, we get children reading at grade level in just six weeks.

Target demographics: Beyond Basics works to help at-risk youth develop in mind and spirit—nurturing their abilities, self-confidence and the impact that they will one day have on their communities.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 7,451 students (including students in Brazil, India, Philippines and South Africa through the Beyond Basics International Art & Writing Project).

Geographic areas served: Public schools in Detroit and Pontiac. Our reach extends internationally through the International Art & Writing Project.

Programs: -- “Read to Rise” reading program: We provide one-on-one, intensive, on-site tutoring services to students in grades K-12 during regular school hours. Our students work with a trained tutor for one hour sessions on a regular schedule, promoting trust and consistency. This gives students the opportunity to focus on learning, without the distractions of overcrowded classrooms or disruptive home environments. The program also involves a large number of volunteer mentors or “Reading Buddies,” who assist the tutors by reading to or with the children to help hone their reading skills. -- Expanding Horizons: In addition to tutoring, we provide a variety of experiences – art, writing, field trips, cultural and professional programs – to help students develop a multitude of tools for future success. -- The International Art & Writing Project: Through use of art and writing, this program reinforces literacy, encourages creativity and fosters students’ awareness and understanding of each other and the world around them.

Community Stories

5 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Gordon R.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Beyond Basics is the best charitable organization tha I have ever been involved with. The organization really does make a difference to undreprivedged, inner city children. Many of Detroit's inner city kids have no chance to improve their lives until the learn how to read. Beyond Basics helps kids improve their reading skills so that they can become productive members of society. I am proud to be involved with such a progressive and productive charity.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Beyond Basics flat out works. Once a student is identified as falling behind in reading, writing, or word comprehension, they are paired with a certified tutor one on one. Working is a special classroom within the respective school (four Detroit Public Schools) for one hour day, the student learns to read and write at grade level or higher within 6 weeks. Once a child learns how to read, the world is their oyster. Without the ability to read, children act up and typically become bullies. The downward spiral isn't far off, and the students tend to drop out, where things often get worse. Beyond Basics does many other wonderful things, including offering students free art programs and field trips to museums.


Board Member

Rating: 5

Beyond Basics addresses a critical need and responsibility: providing at risk children the proper framework to learn to read and write at grade level. This single ability is the greatest predictor of success. Without the ability to read, the life of the individual is severely limited. This organization has quietly helped thousands of students through the diligence of volunteers, donors and foundations. The Beyond Basics program really should be in place in ALL low performing schools in Detroit.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

Beyond Basics has grown from a small organization to a group impacting over 1000 at risk kids coming from families living in poverty and getting over 95% of them to read at grade level or above. This is amazing because it takes kids when the system has failed them in teaching them how to read and write. This skill is the one skill that acts as the predominant deciding factor whether kids will be able to take a good job and help build a community in detroit and elsewhere or be a burden on the system because they perpetuate a cycle of poverty, crime and a large burden on society. There are few things as important as breaking that cycle and giving an opportunity for kids to have a future that doesn't involve a 65% chance of better of jail time, teen pregnancy and poverty.


Board Member

Rating: 5

Beyond Basics is a wonderful organization that is helping our community by changing the lives of children. Pamela Good is an angel on earth!