Mission: Literacy Inc. (LINC) addresses the literacy crisis facing children growing up in poverty - right now, 2 out of 3 children do not read on grade level. A strong litera ... (More)

Literacy, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 2005, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://www.lincnyc.org

 5030 Broadway
Suite 641
New York NY 10034 

  PO Box 822
Katonah NY 10536

  212-620-5462


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Star Rating System by Charity Navigator


Charity Navigator evaluates a nonprofit organization’s financial health including measures of stability, efficiency and sustainability. We also track accountability and transparency policies to ensure the good governance and integrity of the organization.




Good

This charity's score is 89.58, earning it a 3-Star rating. Donors can "Give with Confidence" to this charity. 

This score is calculated from two sub-scores:

This score represents Form 990 data from 2019, the latest year published by the IRS.

View this organization’s historical ratings.


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Star Rated Report

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Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio

77.2%


The Program Expense Ratio is determined by Program Expenses divided by Total Expense (average of most recent three 990s).


This measure reflects the percent of its total expenses a charity spends on the programs and services it exists to deliver. Dividing a charity's average program expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Administrative Expenses

5.4%


As reported by charities on their IRS Form 990, this measure reflects what percent of its total budget a charity spends on overhead, administrative staff and associated costs, and organizational meetings. Dividing a charity's average administrative expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Expenses

17.2%


This measure reflects what a charity spends to raise money. Fundraising expenses can include campaign printing, publicity, mailing, and staffing and costs incurred in soliciting donations, memberships, and grants. Dividing a charity's average fundraising expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Liabilities to Assets Ratio

7.6%


The Liabilities to Assets Ratio is determined by Total Liabilities divided by Total Assets (most recent 990).


Part of our goal in rating the financial performance of charities is to help donors assess the financial capacity and sustainability of a charity. As do organizations in other sectors, charities must be mindful of their management of total liabilites in relation to their total assets. This ratio is an indicator of an organization’s solvency and or long term sustainability. Dividing a charity's total liabilities by its total assets yields this percentage.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Efficiency

$0.16


The amount spent to raise $1 in charitable contributions. To calculate a charity's fundraising efficiency, we divide its average fundraising expenses by the average total contributions it receives. We calculate the charity's average expenses and average contributions over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Working Capital Ratio

0.95 years


Determines how long a charity could sustain its level of spending using its net available assets, or working capital, as reported on its most recently filed Form 990. We include in a charity's working capital unrestricted and temporarily restricted net assets, and exclude permanently restricted net assets. Dividing these net available assets in the most recent year by a charity's average total expenses, yields the working capital ratio. We calculate the charity's average total expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Program Expense Growth

14.15%


We compute the average annual growth of program expenses using the following formula: [(Yn/Y0)(1/n)]-1, where Y0 is a charity's program expenses in the first year of the interval analyzed, Yn is the charity's program expenses in the most recent year, and n is the interval of years passed between Y0 and Yn.


Source: IRS Form 990

Governance


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990 that the organization has these governance practices in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990

Governance:
Independent Voting Board Members  ... (More)
No Material Diversion of Assets ... (More)

A diversion of assets – any unauthorized conversion or use of the organization's assets other than for the organization's authorized purposes, including but not limited to embezzlement or theft – can seriously call into question a charity's financial integrity. We check the charity's last two Forms 990 to see if the charity has reported any diversion of assets. If the charity does report a diversion, then we check to see if it complied with the Form 990 instructions by describing what happened and its corrective action. This metric will be assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Full Credit: There has been no diversion of assets within the last two years.

  • Partial Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity has used Schedule O on the Form 990 to explain: the nature of the diversion, the amount of money or property involved and the corrective action taken to address the matter. In this situation, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity's explanation on Schedule O is either non-existent or not sufficient. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
(Less)
Audited Financials Prepared by Independent Accountant ... (More)

Audited financial statements provide important information about financial accountability and accuracy. They should be prepared by an independent accountant with oversight from an audit committee. (It is not necessary that the audit committee be a separate committee. Often at smaller charities, it falls within the responsibilities of the finance committee or the executive committee.) The committee provides an important oversight layer between the management of the organization, which is responsible for the financial information reported, and the independent accountant, who reviews the financials and issues an opinion based on its findings. We check the charity's Form 990 reporting to see if it meets this criteria.

  • Full Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant with an audit oversight committee.

  • Partial Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant, but it did not have an audit oversight committee. In this case, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: The charity did not have its audited financials prepared by an independent accountant. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
(Less)
Does Not Provide Loan(s) to or Receive Loan(s) From Related Parties ... (More)
Documents Board Meeting Minutes ... (More)
Distributes 990 to Board Before Filing ... (More)
Compensates Board ... (More)

Policies


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization has these policies in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Policies:
Conflict of Interest  ... (More)
Whistleblower ... (More)
Records Retention and Destruction ... (More)
CEO Compensation Process ... (More)
Donor Privacy ... (More)

Donors have expressed extreme concern about the use of their personal information by charities and the desire to have this information kept confidential. The exchanging and sale of lists for telemarketing and the mass distribution of "junk mail," among other things, can be minimized if the charity assures the privacy of its donors. Privacy policies are assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Yes: This charity has a written donor privacy policy published on its website, which states unambiguously that (1) it will not share or sell a donor's personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations or (2) it will only share or sell personal information once the donor has given the charity specific permission to do so.

  • Opt-out: The charity has a written privacy policy published on its website which enables donors to tell the charity to remove their names and contact information from lists the charity shares or sells. How a donor can have themselves removed from a list differs from one charity to the next, but any and all opt-out policies require donors to take specific action to protect their privacy.
  • No: This charity either does not have a written donor privacy policy in place to protect their contributors' personal information, or the existing policy does not meet our criteria.

The privacy policy must be specific to donor information. A general website policy which references "visitor" or "user" personal information will not suffice. A policy that refers to donor information collected on the website is also not sufficient as the policy must be comprehensive and applicable to both online and offline donors. The existence of a privacy policy of any type does not prohibit the charity itself from contacting the donor for informational, educational, or solicitation purposes.

(Less)

Transparency


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization makes this information easily accessible.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Transparency:
CEO Salary Listed on 990 ... (More)
Board of Directors Listed on Website ... (More)
Key Staff Listed on Website ... (More)
Audited Financial Statements on Website ... (More)
Form 990 Available on Website ... (More)

Additional Information

Unscored

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Total Revenue and Expenses

Total Revenue and Expenses

This chart displays the trend of revenue and expenses over the past several years for this organization, as reported on their IRS Form 990.

Salary of Key Persons

Presented here are this organizations key compensated staff members as identified by our analysts. This compensation data includes salary, cash bonuses and expense accounts and is displayed exactly how it is reported to the IRS. The amounts do not include nontaxable benefits, deferred compensation, or other amounts not reported on W-2. In some cases, these amounts may include compensation from related organizations. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting



Shari Levine, Executive Director

$113,570 (3.29% of Total Expenses)


Source: IRS Form 990 (page 7), filing year 2020

Business Master File Data

Below are some key data points from the Exempt Organization IRS Business Master File (BMF) for this organization. Learn more about the BMF on the IRS website


Activities:

Described in section 170(b)1)(a)(vi) of the Code (BMF activity code: 994)

Other school related activities (BMF activity code: 059)


Foundation Status:

Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public   170(b)(1)(A)(vi) (BMF foundation code: 15)


Affiliation:

Independent - the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations). (BMF affiliation code: 3)

Data Sources: IRS Forms 990

The Form 990 is a document that nonprofit organizations file with the IRS annually. We leverage finance and accountability data from it to form Encompass ratings. Click here to view this organization's Forms 990 on the IRS website (if any are available).

Pandemic Response

Due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, we give charities such as this one the opportunity to share the story of COVID's impact on them. Charities may submit their own pandemic responses through their nonprofit portal.


Literacy, Inc. reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Fundraising Capacity

  • Revenue

  • Staffing

  • Administrative Capacity


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's operations financially:

We worked hard to develop a diverse revenue base and strategies for long-term financial viability, having successfully survived the 2008-2010 financial crisis. This previous experience navigating financial hardship helped us during the pandemic. To weather the initial shock of the COVID lockdown and resulting economic turmoil, our board immediately formed a finance task force to ensure we sustained funding. Due to their efforts, and the efforts of our fundraising team, we were able to sustain most of our current institutional and individual donors and our city funding. LINC also applied for and received both rounds of PPP funding, providing us with a total of just under $1 million in loans. Our first loan was forgiven, and we will apply for forgiveness on the second after our audit. We did have to cut expenses wherever possible, and are now working to raise funds from new sources, but with the diligent work of our board and team, we remain in a sound financial position.


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's delivery of programs:

Prior to the pandemic, all of our outreach, engagement, and programs were in-person and delivered by teams focused on specific NYC neighborhoods. When the pandemic made it unsafe to gather in person, we quickly adapted our programming to a virtual environment, and pivoted to develop and deliver our first ever online programming. Since then, almost all of our programs have been online, barring some outdoor and COVID-safe book distributions and events. We quickly recognized that virtual programming made some of our metrics difficult or impossible to monitor (for example, getting an accurate headcount was difficult when a log-in could represent a single individual or whole family), so we had to adapt how we tracked our success. To make our virtual programs more effective, we also invested in and improved our online presence: we optimized our website for mobile and are currently exploring further enhancements to our online registration and user interface.


How this organization adapted to changing conditions caused by COVID-19:

We had to develop new systems and structures to work cohesively from home, and to recreate virtual spaces that nurtured collaboration and communication. We had to ensure that every staff member had access to a computer and the tools, resources, and equipment they needed to work remotely. We purchased and leveraged new technology for staff and community members: we learned how to use Google Meet, Zoom, and social media, and we used WhatsApp to build and maintain a sense of community with our LINC families. The communications team organized a task force of “communications ambassadors” to further support all aspects of internal and external communications. The board organized to sustain funding, and LINC’s leadership met twice a week to plan, debrief, and anticipate or address challenges. We learned how to recruit and onboard remotely, and we reorganized our program staff into teams based on program type, not geographic location, to more effectively play to everyone’s strengths.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

Our online programs proved hugely successful–we dramatically increased retention in our programs during FY20 and provided much needed educational support to our families during a time of tremendous loss and stress. We also managed to build a sense of belonging and a sense of community during a time of complete isolation. We plan to continue offering virtual programs moving forward, even after we resume our full schedule of in-person programming. We are building on this success through further enhancements to our online user interface, even looking to develop and launch a mobile app to further incentivize and streamline participation. We also recognize that our new staffing structure (organized by program type) allows us to more effectively utilize the talents of our staff and maximize our reach and impact beyond physical boundaries of our geographical neighborhoods.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
12/1/20202019 89.58
11/1/20202019 89.20

This organization received multiple star ratings within this fiscal year, due to an update to it's Accountability and Transparency data and/or the receipt of an amended Form 990.

6/1/20192018 89.49
9/1/20182017 89.64
8/1/20172016 91.23
7/1/20162015 93.07
6/1/20162014 94.74
Rating Version: 2.0
9/1/20152014 92.87
6/1/20152013 90.37
5/1/20152013 89.20
4/1/20152013 87.95
3/1/20142012 85.32
10/1/20132012 82.79
10/1/20122011 76.27
9/20/20112010 72.94
Rating Version: 1.0
8/1/20102009 71.35
5/1/20092008 66.42
7/1/20082007 80.86
3/1/20072006 67.20
4/1/20062005 69.93
8/1/20052004 87.28

...   Impact & Results


This score estimates the actual impact a nonprofit has on the lives of those it serves, and determines whether it is making good use of donor resources to achieve that impact.


Impact & Results Score

Not Currently Scored

Literacy, Inc. cannot currently be evaluated by our Encompass Rating Impact & Results methodology because either (A) it is eligible, but we have not yet received data; (B) we have not yet developed an algorithm to estimate its programmatic impact; (C) its programs are not direct services; or (D) it is not heavily reliant on contributions from individual donors.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.

Learn more about Impact & Results.


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Additional Information

Unscored

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



Literacy, Inc. reported its largest program on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


$2,868,420

Spent in most recent FY

100%

Percent of program expenses


SEE SCHEDULE O


...   Leadership & Adaptability


This score provides an assessment of the organization's leadership capacity, strategic thinking and planning, and ability to innovate or respond to changes in constituent demand/need or other relevant social and economic conditions to achieve the organization's mission.


Leadership & Adaptability Score

100

out of 100

The score earned by Literacy, Inc. is a passing score.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of the organization's Leadership & Adaptability through the nonprofit organization submitting a survey response directly to Charity Navigator.


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Leadership & Adaptability Report

100

of 100 points

Mission

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s mission


LINC’s mission is to engage families and community members to support young readers in high-need neighborhoods.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s vision.


Every community has the power to make literacy a value and right of all children.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Strategic Goals

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking and goal setting through sharing their most important strategic goals.


Goal One: Drive families to exciting programs and a welcoming and safe community. Refine through learning, measuring, and improving impact.

Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.


Goal Two: Design a clear path for increased parental engagement from participants to advocates.

Goal Type: New program(s) based on observed changes in needs among our constituencies/communities served.


Goal Three: Shout it to the world and build a movement.

Goal Type: This goal reflects our commitment to further our advocacy work for our organization and or cause area.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


Describe an investment in leadership

When we won the Nonprofit Excellence Award, we received an invitation to the Senior Leadership Program for Nonprofit Professionals at Columbia Business School in conjunction with Nonprofit New York. Our Executive Director attended, and learned invaluable lessons about strategic planning and organizational development. This program set the stage for a major strategic planning process and significant organizational restructuring. It was so useful that we are considering sending all of our rising senior executives to this program.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Mobilizing for Mission

The nonprofit provides evidence of leadership through focusing externally and mobilizing resources for the mission.


This organization mobilizes for mission in the following ways:
  • Strategic Partnerships

  • Networks of Collective Impact Efforts

  • Thought Leadership

  • Raising Awareness

  • Community Building

  • Policy Advocacy

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

LINC views communities through an asset lens, and we leverage community resources and partnerships to expand our engagement and reach. We work with local businesses, organizations, and service providers to promote and implement our programs. We are also the backbone organization for collective impact initiatives in East New York, East Harlem, and South Jamaica, and citywide through the City’s First Readers campaign. To position ourselves as thought leaders in the early childhood field, we have been attending conferences and are working to influence decision makers to value early literacy as a critical component of our education systems. We want to highlight the power of mobilized and engaged parents, and encourage other stakeholders to fully capitalize on the crucial developmental window from age 0-5.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Story of Adaptability

The nonprofit has an opportunity to tell the story of how the organization adapted to tremendous external changes in the last year.


The communities LINC serves were among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our staff live in and have roots in these communities, and the hardship caused by the pandemic is staggering. In addition to the awful human and psychological toll, young children have been sequestered in homes without access to important developmental and social opportunities, potentially further exacerbating educational inequities by the time they get to school and reinforcing the need for effective early education programs. To provide uninterrupted access to our services and mitigate some of these detrimental effects, LINC quickly adapted to an all-virtual environment, developing new systems for remote work and launching our first ever online programs. When possible, we also worked with partner organizations and service providers to meet our families’ basic needs. We developed new programs highlighting social emotional learning and fostered virtual spaces to build community during this difficult time. Our online programs were more successful than we could have hoped: in the past year, we dramatically increased participant retention. Additionally, we saw that people from outside our New York City target neighborhoods, even from other states and other countries, were occasionally viewing our multilingual programs. We are therefore making our online programs a permanent part of our model, even after we resume our full schedule of in-person programming. We are also currently expanding our online presence through updates to our registration platform and our website, and we are developing and launching a mobile app (since over 63% of the participants in our online programs access them from a mobile device). These improvements will provide families with a personalized roadmap of our offerings, offer incentives for returning, and make it easier to sign up for programs. We are proud of how we adapted and responded throughout the pandemic, and are eager to continue our work.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

...   Culture & Community


This score provides an assessment of the organization's engagement with the constituents it serves, a practice we term Constituent Feedback. When organizations listen to constituents, they are able to better deliver on programs and meet the needs of stakeholders. A future version of this Beacon will also assess an organization's people operations and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) metrics.


Culture & Community Score

Not Currently Scored

Literacy, Inc. is currently not eligible for a Culture & Community score because we have not received its Constituent Feedback data. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile. This data will provide the basis for the initial evaluation of Culture & Community.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.


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Culture & Community Report

Unscored

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Constituent Feedback

Constituent Feedback


Constituent Feedback and Listening Practice data are not available for this organization. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile. This data will provide the basis for the initial evaluation of Culture & Community.


Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations that engage in inclusive practices, such as collecting feedback from the people and communities they serve, may be more effective. We award every nonprofit that completes the Candid survey full credit for this Beacon, in recognition of their willingness to publicly share this information with the nonprofit and philanthropic communities. Although the data is not evaluated for quality at this time, future iterations of this Beacon will include third party or other data that will serve to validate the information provided by the nonprofit.

Analysis and Research


Like the overall Encompass Rating System, the Culture & Community Beacon is designed to evolve as metrics are developed and ready for integration. Our partnership with Feedback Labs and Guidestar by Candid, and other partners including Fund for Shared Insight, GlobalGiving, and Keystone Accountability, enables us to launch the first version of this beacon with Constituent Feedback information collected on Candid's site.


Feedback practices have been shown to support better Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion outcomes, an essential area of assessment that we intend to further expand and develop in the future. Feedback Labs has documented several studies which indicate that beyond achieving organizational goals, nonprofits that are attentive and responsive to concerns and ideas raised by beneficiaries establish stronger relationships with the people they serve, promote greater equity, and empower constituents in ways that can help to ensure better long-term outcomes. You can find resources to help nonprofits improve their feedback practices here.

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