Detroit’s General Motors Donates $1M to Literacy Nonprofit Beyond Basics

General Motors Co. today announced a $1 million donation to Beyond Basics to support the nonprofit’s Be The Solution literacy campaign. The investment is the largest single donation to the campaign and will provide nearly 500 Detroit Public Schools Community District high school students the opportunity to participate in Beyond Basics’ literacy program.
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representatives from GM and Beyond Basics
GM has announced a $1 million donation to Beyond Basics’ Be The Solution, a campaign to bring high school students in the Detroit Public Schools Community District up to their appropriate reading levels. From left: Makayla Link, Pam Good, Deonte Mays, Nikolai P. Vitti, Damian H. Perry, Damon Sewell, Mark Reuss. // Photograph by R.J. King

General Motors Co. today announced a $1 million donation to Beyond Basics to support the nonprofit’s Be The Solution literacy campaign. The investment is the largest single donation to the campaign and will provide nearly 500 Detroit Public Schools Community District high school students the opportunity to participate in Beyond Basics’ literacy program.

“Beyond Basics delivers outstanding results that are real, measurable, and impactful,” says Mark Reuss, president of GM. “At General Motors, we believe investing in Detroit’s children and families is an investment in the future — for them and for all of us residing in southeast Michigan. Our team is proud to support Beyond Basics’ ambitious mission, and we encourage other companies to do the same as we work together to revitalize the city.”

The donation brings Beyond Basics halfway to its $6 million goal for this year. The $33 million, three-year campaign launched last summer with the endorsement of the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Beyond Basics works closely with the district and has 50 certified tutors at schools across the city, including Mumford High School, where today’s GM announcement was made. The number of certified tutors is expected to jump to 300 over the next three years.

The overall goal of the campaign is to bring 11,000 of 12,000 high school students to grade level reading or higher — meaning graduates will be proficient in reading, writing, and word comprehension and be ready for the next level of education or the job market — while the school district is concentrating its efforts on the K-8 student population.

“This is not about throwing money at another problem,” says Nikolai P. Vitti, superintendent of the district. “Beyond Basics gets at the heart of the challenges linked to reading below grade level and delivers a strategy that is coherent, comprehensive, and truly research based. With the support and leadership of General Motors and Beyond Basics, we will begin to address, at scale, high school literacy challenges so students can be on a college or career path. Due to the legacy of emergency management, too many of our high school students are behind.”

In 2018, GM helped establish Beyond Basics’ first physical location in Detroit at the Durfee Innovation Society next to Central High School. The Beyond Basics Family Literacy Center provides literacy and workforce development services including GED and SAT preparation. The center also assists Detroit’s adult population.

“Most Detroit public high school students are reading below grade level,” says Pamela Good, co-founder and CEO of Beyond Basics. “When students fall behind in literacy, they fall behind in every subject because curriculums assume children can read. With this generous $1 million donation from General Motors, Beyond Basics can pair even more trained tutors with struggling students who are eager to learn and need that extra boost.”

Beyond Basics launched in 2002 and offers tutoring, group learning, and other programs to improve literacy skills. It has a proven track record of raising thousands of students’ reading levels to grade level in an average of six weeks.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District is Michigan’s largest public education system with more than 100 schools and 50,000 students.

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