Beyond Basics Kicks Off National Reading Month March 1 with Literacy Fundraising Gala in Detroit

Beyond Basics, a family centered, literacy-focused 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing literacy programming in Detroit, Taylor, and Pontiac, has announced its annual gala will take place March 1 at the Detroit Athletic Club.
Dr. Nikolai and Rachel Vitti
Dr. Nikolai and Rachel Vitti receive the Literacy Chair Award from at the 2018 Beyond Basics Annual Gala. // Photograph by Patrick Gloria

Beyond Basics, a family centered, literacy-focused 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing literacy programming in Detroit, Taylor, and Pontiac, has announced its annual gala will take place March 1 at the Detroit Athletic Club. As part of the organization’s 20th anniversary, the gala’s theme is “Coming Together for Children.”

As part of the fundraiser, which helps kick off National Reading Month in March, Beyond Basics will honor area business, organizations, and individuals that work to improve literacy programs in the region, including:

Literacy Chair Award –In 2016, Judge Geno Salomone, of the 23rd District Court in Taylor, initiated an effort to bring the Beyond Basics intensive tutoring program to the city. He advocated on behalf of Beyond Basics with the PNC Foundation, McKinley Properties, Taylor Community Development Corp., and Taylor’s school board, superintendents, and city administration. From there, Beyond Basics implemented its holistic literacy program at Myers Elementary. Through one-on-one literacy training between students and trained, certified tutors for one hour a day, the students who participated are now reading at grade level or higher (a process that takes six weeks, on average).

“We thank Judge Salomone for believing in the power of a literate child and the power of a united community,” says Pam Good, executive director and co-founder of Beyond Basics. “He went above and beyond with his advocacy for literacy. Without his vision for the children of Taylor, none of this could be possible. We had great success with the students and Myers Elementary was removed from the Michigan Department of Education’s ‘Priority List in March 2018.”

Partner of the Year – Farbman Group, a full-service real estate firm in Southfield, will receive the 2018 Partner of the Year award for to its significant investment and its support since the beginning.

“The Farbman Group was the first organization to fully fund Beyond Basics’ programs in a school and allowed us to establish our model, as well as run an onsite Publishing Center and Make a Difference Art program,” says Good. “The Farbman Group continues to go above and beyond in its commitment to the children of our community by volunteering in the schools, donating in-kind items and sponsoring programs like our Beyond Basics Publishing Center.”

Volunteers of the Year Awards – Susan Wilhelm of Birmingham and Susan Galambos of Bloomfield Hills.

“Both Susan Wilhelm and Susan Galambos have helped Beyond Basics in many ways for many years. They’ve provided a tremendous amount of support for our events and in our Publishing Center. They work diligently to make a big impact and have made a true difference for the students we serve,” says Good.

Event sponsors for the gala include:

Literacy Champion – Emily and Henry Ford III; Globe Midwest Adjusters International

Literacy Partner – Comerica Bank

Literacy Ally – Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss; Kathleen and George McCann

Literacy Advocate – Bridgewater Interiors; Ideal Group; Julius Giarmarco; Tim Wagerson; and the Peslar Foundation

 Beyond Basics partners with principals and schools using proven methods to bring students to literacy in underperforming K-12 schools in metro Detroit. Beyond Basics opened its inaugural Family Literacy Center at the Durfee Innovation Center in Detroit last October 2018. With assistance from the GM Foundation and others, the Family Literacy Center brings literacy, GED, online diploma and SAT prep, and workforce development services such as resume and essay writing to families.

By providing a literacy center in the heart of the community, entire families have access to the support they need to learn to read. Beyond Basics also operates literacy centers at several public schools in Detroit, as well as Taylor and Pontiac, and is seeking donations and grants to expand its offerings.

 Beyond Basics’ certified and trained tutors create a literacy prescription tailored to the individual student needs — one-on-one or small group tutoring using a multi-sensory reading curriculum for one hour per day; literacy enrichment programs to provide new experiences and encourage lifelong learning; and partnerships and mentoring activities to develop trust and build vocabulary and comprehension.

What: Beyond Basics 20th Anniversary “Coming Together for Children” Gala
Where: Detroit Athletic Club, 241 Madison Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
Date: Friday, March 1
Time: 6 – 10 p.m.
Tickets: Purchase tickets here or
Contact: Sarah Kmetz at or call 248.250.9304

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