SHARP Literacy aspires to promote the joy of, and the journey toward, a lifelong pursuit of learning through exploration and discovery. Our goal is to improve literacy for urb ... (More)

 |  PO BOX 170586 Milwaukee WI 53217-8051

Sharp Literacy Inc. is headquartered in Milwaukee, WI, and is a 501(c)(3) organization. EIN: 39-1963963.  Donations are tax-deductible. The IRS NTEE classification code is P40, Family Services within the Human Services - Multipurpose and Other category. The IRS ruling year for tax exemption was 1999.

(Source: IRS Business Master File and Form 990)

...  ...  ...  ...  

Encompass Rating System by Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator’s Encompass Rating System evolves on a quarterly basis as we add new measures and indicators, which we call Beacons. Check back often to see how this organization’s score changes.

Learn about the Encompass Rating System: Announcement | FAQ | Release Notes

Overall Score


out of 100

This charity's score is a passing score. This overall score is identical to the organization's Finance & Accountability beacon score. It does not have an Impact & Results beacon. Each beacon report below provides further information about the organization's rating including rationale as to why a particular beacon may not be scored.

Do you work for Sharp Literacy Inc.? Gain access to your rating toolkit.

Looking for this charity in our old design?

This organization is potentially eligible for a Charity Navigator Star Rating. Vote Now to request to have our analyst team rate Sharp Literacy Inc. for a Star Rating. The organization currently has 1 vote.

Back to Top

...   Finance & Accountability

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.

Finance & Accountability Score


out of 100

This charity's score is a passing score

This Beta V2 of the Finance & Accountability Score provides a baseline measure of an organization’s health including the indicators listed in the report below.

This score represents Form 990 data from latest filing year 2019.

Finance & Accountability Rating Highlights

Higher Effect on Score


Independent Board Composition

We look for at least 3 board members, with more than 50% of members identified as independent.

Lower Effect on Score


Liabilities to Assets Ratio

We look for a ratio less than 50%.

No Effect on Score


Total Revenue

We do not evaluate revenue amounts or sources in Beta V2. An organization’s size can affect whether and how we evaluate other indicators.

Back to Top

Finance & Accountability Report


of 100 points (BETA)

This beta feature is currently viewable only on desktop or tablet screens. Check back later for updates.

Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio


Higher effect on score

More data  

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

For a passing score, Charity Navigator looks for a ratio of 70% or higher. Charities in the 50%-70% range receive zero points for their Program Expense Ratio score. Charities that fall below 50% will receive zero points for both of their financial metric scores, Program Expense Ratio AND Liabilities to Assets Ratio.

Source: IRS Form 990

Board Composition

25/26 Independent

Higher effect on score

Charity Navigator looks for at least 3 board members, with more than 50% of those members identified as independent.

Source: IRS Form 990

Independent Review or Financial Audit


Higher effect on score

For organizations larger than $1million in total revenue we expect to see that the charity completed an audit.

This indicator is not part of the score for organizations less than $250k in total revenue and is removed from the scoring methodology.

For charities under $1 million but over $250K in total revenue we expect to see that the charity completed an Audit, Review or Compilation.

Source: IRS Form 990

Liabilities to Assets Ratio


Lower effect on score

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

Charity Navigator looks for a ratio less than 50%.

Source: IRS Form 990

Website Listed


Lower effect on score

Charity Navigator looks for a website on the Form 990 as an accountability and transparency measure.

Nonprofits act in the public trust and reporting publicly on activities is an important component

Source: IRS Form 990

Additional Information


This beta feature is currently viewable only on desktop or tablet screens. Check back later for updates.

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 up to five of the highest compensated employees listed on page 7 of the IRS Form 990. This compensation data is displayed exactly how it is reported to the IRS. The amounts include salary, cash bonuses, and expense accounts. The amounts do not include nontaxable benefits, deferred compensation, or other amounts not reported on Form W-2. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting here.











Source: IRS Form 990, filing year 2019

Business Master File Data

The Exempt Organization IRS Business Master File (BMF) includes cumulative information the IRS collects and displays for all exempt organizations. The data is updated monthly. Below are some key data points from the BMF for this organization. View information about the BMF on the IRS website here.


Activity data not reported from the IRS

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)


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 IRS Form 990 is the source of the finance and accountability data used within the Encompass Rating System. When an organization is eligible for a Finance & Accountability beacon score, each metric is based on elements of the 990. Some metrics are based on the most recent available filing, while others are based on averages of values over multiple years. We provide links to all available 990s here, whether or not this organization is eligible for a Finance & Accountability score.

IRS Forms 990 are provided courtesy of Foundation Center.

...   Impact & Results

Charity Navigator assesses how well a nonprofit delivers on its mission. To issue an Impact & Results score, we estimate the actual impact a nonprofit has on the lives of those it serves, and determine whether it is making good use of donor resources to achieve that impact.

No Score

We have not issued this nonprofit an Impact & Results score. This does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, only that we have not reached a conclusion for one of the following reasons:

  • The nonprofit is eligible for a score, but we have not yet gotten to scoring it.

  • The nonprofit is eligible for a score, but we have not yet developed the specific algorithms to estimate the impact of the type of service it delivers and so cannot issue a score yet.

  • The nonprofit does not primarily deliver services directly to beneficiaries or it is not reasonable to expect the nonprofit to measure impact for its primary activity. The impact analysis framework that we use is not well suited to these nonprofits.

  • The nonprofit is not heavily reliant on individual donors because beneficiaries fund a majority of its costs or it does not receive any private charitable contributions.

Learn more about how we rate nonprofits.

Do you work at Sharp Literacy Inc.? Share your impact data to request a score.

Back to Top

Additional Information


This beta feature is currently viewable only on desktop or tablet screens. Check back later for updates.

Largest Programs

Largest Programs

Sharp Literacy Inc. reported its largest program on its FY 2019 Form 990 as:


Spent in most recent FY


Percent of program expenses

OverviewSHARP Literacys mission is to enhance future life success by energizing urban children, motivating them to identify themselves as confident, capable scholars and lifelong learners by inspiring ... (More)

GuideStar Seal of Trans­parency


GuideStar is Charity Navigator's trusted partner in sharing information on how this organization seeks impact. GuideStar has recognized this organization with a Gold Seal of Transparency for voluntarily and publicly describing their goals, strategies, and accomplishments. Click here for more information.

Note: GuideStar Seals do not effect the nonprofit’s Impact & Results Score.

What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

SHARP Literacy enhances future life success by energizing urban children, motivating them to identify themselves as confident, capable scholars and lifelong learners by inspiring engagement in reading, writing and research through hands-on interaction and visual arts.

What are your strategies for making this happen?

2014-2016 Goal 1 Expand the SHARP program Strategy 1 Serve 10,000 students while maintaining the integrity of the program Goal 2 Raise Overall Awareness of SHARP Strategy 1 Implement brand awareness plan Strategy 2 Engage and educate higher education students about the SHARP program Strategy 3 Become a respected resource for elementary literacy collaboration in the community Strategy 4 Leverage partnerships to enhance visibility by identifying organizations with ability to support mission Goal 3 Become a measurable and accountable organization that promotes and increases academic achievement Strategy 1 Align goals and measurements with mission Strategy 2 Assess long-term achievement Strategy 3 Develop an alumni initiative to determine the success of the SHARP program Goal 4 Maintain current level of financial soundness but increase revenue to support future growth Strategy 1 Increase current sources of revenue by 3-5% Strategy 2 Identify new revenue sources Strategy3 Increase board engagement in fundraising and friend raising.

What are your organization's capabilities for doing this?

The SHARP Board of Directors and Staff were instrumental in developing and approving the 2014-2016 Strategic Plan. We are fortunate to have a very engaged Board of Directors leading and supporting our organization. Our teachers are also very supportive and engaged. With our Teacher Summer Workshop in June and our Teacher In-Service in October, SHARP gains respect in the community. Through our We Love to Learn books, workbooks, and murals, SHARP's brand has experienced significant community exposure and recognition. Our funders see the results of our program and just over the past year SHARP was fortunate to partner with a number of different organizations and corporations in order to raise funds and awareness for the SHARP program. These activities include: The Jerseys off Their Backs raffle together with the Milwaukee Brewers wives Summerfest Foundation's Big Gig Dress Rehearsal Potawatomi Bingo and Casino's Miracle on Canal Street Milwaukee Zoological Society and Big Brothers Big Sisters Milwaukee Back to School Event Third Annual SURG Block Party Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books at UW Waukesha Children's Outing Association's HIP (Having Involved Parents) program SHARP's annual fundraising event, A Novel Event, features a keynote speaker. Efforts have been successfully made to increase the caliber and renown of these guests. For example, last year's speaker was Donald Driver, and our upcoming A Novel Event will feature LeVar Burton, well-known author, actor, and literacy advocate. Both donations to SHARP and SHARP's recognition and presence in the community have increased significantly through its efforts to schedule nationally renowned speakers. Together with the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), SHARP has built a honey bee robot to be on display at Marquette University's Haggerty Museum. Additionally, the robot is used as a learning tool for our 1st grade students.

How will your organization know if you are making progress?

During the past year, SHARP has hired an independent evaluator to assess the effectiveness of the SHARP program. His research and data analysis has shown that the SHARP program has been effective. SHARP is continuing to use this valuable self-study research to validate its program. SHARP will monitor its progress by comparing with the goals and strategies that the Board of Directors has implemented. These goals include increased revenue, new revenue sources, a growing awareness of SHARP, increased student numbers, and more schools.

What have and haven't you accomplished so far?

Our Strategic Plan was approved in November and the work began immediately. Accomplishments thus far have been noted and include greater presence in the community, increased funding efforts, expansion of the SHARP program in regards to staffing, numbers of students and schools, and far greater efforts to forge and maintain partnerships within the community and higher education. There are items still to be accomplished: Currently, MSOE and SHARP are partnering to construct a weather cube to be displayed at Discovery World in connection with SHARP's 11th We Love to Learn book, A Great Lakes Adventure: Salmon's Journey Home. Plans are also in place to create an aquaponics system together with MSOE students and Growing Power educators. This system will correlate with SHARP's upcoming 12th We Love to Learn book project that will focus on urban agriculture and ecological literacy. Additionally, SHARP would like to increase the number of students and schools it serves even more. In order to accomplish these goals, additional funding will also need to be procured, and the need for additional staff and/or presenters is also a possibility.


GlobalGiving Badge not earned

GlobalGiving is the largest global crowdfunding community connecting nonprofits, donors, and companies in nearly every country. For donors, GlobalGiving provides an additional layer of vetting and due diligence for each of its nonprofit partners every two years, which may include site visit verification. Learn more about GlobalGiving.

Note: GlobalGiving Badges do not effect the nonprofit’s Impact & Results score.

...   Leadership & Adaptability

Charity Navigator will provide an assessment of the organization’s leadership capacity, strategic planning, and the ability to readily innovate or respond to changes in constituent demand/need or other relevant social and economic conditions to achieve the organization’s mission.

Back to Top

...   Culture & Community

Charity Navigator will provide an assessment of the organization’s people operations, its engagement with the constituents served, and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) measures.

Culture & Community Score (BETA)

Coming Soon

Encompass Rating Beta V2 does not provide an evaluation of the organization's culture and community. Beta V3 will provide an evaluation of Constituent Feedback and Listening Practices. 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. Other measures will be added later in the year.

Back to Top

Additional Information


This beta feature is currently viewable only on desktop or tablet screens. Check back later for updates.

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 Community & Culture.

Why It Matters

Like the Encompass Rating System, the Culture & Community Beacon is designed to evolve as relevant 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.