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Make Way for Books


Make Way for Books (MWFB) is an early childhood literacy non-profit that provides programs from birth to age five that help to ensure that children arrive in first grade with the necessary early literacy skills to be successful.


As a recipient of the First Things First (FTF) award, MWFB must demonstrate its capacity in order to continue receiving funding from FTF. FTF is currently funded by a voter-enacted tax on tobacco products. This money provides funding to support nonprofits in building upon or improving the programs, services, and resources already available to support young children and their families.  We wanted to leverage the partnership between MWFB and SVP Tucson in the FTF Grant because SVP’s expert assistance would build capacity in the areas necessary to provide services to MWFB’s expanding services.

Prior to SVP involvement, the MWFB board consisted of seven members, but only five of the members contributed to MWFB and members did not have defined roles and responsibilities. In addition, the staffing structure was horizontal; all positions reported to the Executive Director. Fund development was also a recognized need.


$75,000 between 2007 and 2010 + Partner time and expertise

Most Bang for the Buck

To build-up board leadership, MWFB board members received training in board development conducted by SVP Partner Steve Alley. As a result of this training, board members developed a formal member agreement that details responsibilities and expectations and identifies criteria for adding new members.

SVP Partner Mark Rubin presented “Resource Development 101” to MWFB staff and board. SVP Partner Ann Lovell evaluated MWFB’s current funding sources and fundraising activities in preparation for developing a more strategic fund development plan.

Assistance from SVP Partners in the area of human resources has been the number one most positively leveraged resource with MWFB. Executive Director Mary Jan Bancroft worked with SVP Partner Jane Wilson to analyze the staffing patterns and benefits.

MWFB now has more formal policies and procedures than before their relationship with SVP. They also now have clearly defined job descriptions, formalized performance review procedures, in addition to uniform healthcare coverage, salaries based on compensation analysis, and pathways for employee growth. “These achievements were imperative as the organization more than doubled in size. As our staff becomes more efficient, we are able to raise more funding and provide more programming, which has resulted in MWFB having an increasingly greater impact on early literacy in the Tucson community.”

Through the leveraging of MWFB’s relationship with SVP Tucson, MWFB secured funding from FTF, a funding source “that will potentially contribute to the organization’s stability for years to come,” Executive Director Mary Jan Bancroft said.