Grant funds innovative program to help youth develop literacy and leadership skills.

NEW YORK, February 7, 2019—Building on the success of a seven-year partnership, Classroom, Inc. today announced a new $2 million grant from the New York Life Foundation. The grant will support the growth of Read to Lead, a suite of digital literacy games and curricula in out-of-school time programs over the next three years, expanding from 35,000 to 200,000 middle school youth served nationwide. The funding will support partnerships with national leaders in afterschool and summer learning programs, including After-School All-Stars and Horizons National, expand Read to Lead programs in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Birmingham, Milwaukee, and Palm Beach County, and provide middle school educators nationwide with free 24/7 access to the Read to Lead online curriculum and resources.

“Read to Lead aligns with our mission to support out-of-school time (OST) programs that help middle school youth successfully transition to 9th grade and positions them for future success,” said Marlyn Torres, Senior Program Officer of the New York Life Foundation. “We continue to be impressed by Read to Lead’s gamified approach that makes learning fun and practical for thousands of youth across the country.”

Read to Lead gives middle school youth the opportunity to “be the boss” in a virtual professional workplace. It is the only program that simultaneously helps youth develop literacy skills, 21st century skills, and awareness of career opportunities. Students who read significantly below grade level have a 50% chance of dropping out in 9th grade. Afterschool and summer programs play a critical role in reaching these students in middle school before it’s too late.

“We are grateful to The New York Life Foundation for its continued support. This investment will help us achieve our ambitious goal to give middle school youth the tools they need to strengthen their literacy and leadership skills,” said Classroom, Inc. President Lisa Holton.

Research shows that just five minutes of extra reading per day can mean the difference in meeting college- and career-readiness benchmarks (Renaissance Learning, 2016). By giving afterschool and summer educators the tools to put youth in charge of their reading growth in immersive game environments, Read to Lead doubles the amount of time spent reading for participating students. Additionally, Read to Lead games are part of a blended learning curriculum that uses digital games and hands-on, project-based civic education projects to deeply engage students in their education.

About Classroom, Inc.

Classroom Inc. has been transforming literacy, life, and career skill development through game based learning and blended learning curriculum for over 25 years. Its research-based approach to programming directly improves reading skills, critical-thinking and engagement by immersing students in authentic career environment and building their capacity for social and emotional learning.  We serve 35,000 students across the country through partnerships with schools and community organizations and our Read to Lead program. To learn more about Classroom, Inc., visit

About the New York Life Foundation

Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided more than $270 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good and Grief-Sensitive Schools programs. To learn more, visit

Media contact
Lacey Siegel
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-7937