Jumpstart

Providing language, literacy, and social-emotional programming for preschool children from under-resourced communities and promoting quality early learning for all children.

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$30M

Annual Revenue

83%

Program Expenses

2%

CEO Compensation

Advocacy

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Awareness

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Direct Service

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Policy Legislation

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Research

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Financials

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Management

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About Jumpstart

Jumpstart was founded in 1994 by four college students who wanted to help children from underserved communities get the attention and assistance they needed to help them succeed in kindergarten and beyond. A large gap exists between literacy rates in low-income children and literacy rates in middle-income and wealthy children, resulting in an unfair advantage for wealthier children starting kindergarten. Jumpstart’s program seeks to bridge this gap by training local college students how to educate and connect with low-income preschoolers. The volunteers meet with their students for regularly scheduled reading sessions that include vocabulary lessons, comprehension exercises, word games, and alphabet practice.

Since its inception over 20 years ago, Jumpstart has served over 100,000 students in 15 states. They have trained nearly 45,000 corps members, many of whom have gone on to pursue careers in education.


Why We Chose to Feature This Organization

Jumpstart’s work is the backbone of our portfolio’s goal of improving education for low-income students. The knowledge gap between impoverished children and their wealthier peers starts from a very early age, and if left untreated, can continue to grow throughout their education. Jumpstart’s programs help low-income preschoolers transition successfully into kindergarten by placing them at the same starting point as children from middle and upper classes. It’s impossible to catch up when you start from behind and aren’t given additional opportunities for advancement, which is exactly what Jumpstart has provided to over 100,000 preschoolers nationwide.

Awareness

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Direct Service

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Policy & Legislature

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Financials

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Management

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Jumpstart wants everyone to understand the importance of reading and literacy for preschool aged children, especially those coming from low-income families. In order to raise awareness about their cause, Jumpstart organizes “Read for the Record”, an annual reading event that takes place nationwide.

Each year, Jumpstart works with their publishing partner to create a special edition of a children’s book that will be used during the event. These special editions include activities and additional content meant to deepen readers’ engagement with the book, increase their comprehension of the material, and improve overall feelings toward reading.

In order to participate, teachers, parents, librarians, and other community leaders must order the special edition of the book. Bulk discounts are available for large groups and school districts, and the proceeds from the sale of the books benefit Jumpstart’s educational program.

Jumpstart provides additional activities and tools that compliment that book, allowing for hosts to customize the event as they see fit.

Once an event is planned, participants register their location and number of participants. Read for the Record holds the world record for most people reading at the same time. In having the event take place at the same time regardless of the location, a sense of community is built, and the joy of reading is spread far and wide. This event successfully encourages reading, brings awareness to the literacy gap between classes, and raises funds that help support Jumpstart’s program.   

Jumpstart is first and foremost an organization that provides a much-needed service to an underserved population. Their program teaches various skills to low-income preschoolers that will help improve their language, literacy, and social-emotional development skills, helping to bridge the knowledge gap that exists between low-income and wealthy kindergartners.

The basic premise is as follows: volunteers from local colleges enroll in Jumpstart’s intensive training program to become a “Corps member”. This training provides instruction and practice opportunities for teaching young children how to read, spell, and discuss books. Once Corps members have completed their training, they are assigned to a student at a public preschool or Head Start program. Generally, Corps members commit to completing 200 hours per school year and meet their student twice a week for two hours.

Each session follows the same schedule:

Arrival: Corps members arrive and the children practice the alphabet by writing their name on name cards.

Reading: Next, the Corps members read books along with their child. While reading, they introduce new vocabulary and increase their comprehension skills by asking questions related to the story.

Circle Time: Students and Corps members come together to sing songs, play word games, and read poems. This section helps to build a community between students and Corps members.

Center Time: Students then go around to different activities set up to support their language and literacy skills. Activities are always changing based on the core theme and book used earlier in the day and give students an opportunity to practice new vocabulary they learned during the reading activity.

Small Group Activities: This segment of the program provides activities designed to increase concept knowledge and vocabulary through exploring new information, learning about different objects and their use, and understanding how various things work.

Sharing and Goodbye: Students take turns sharing their favorite part of the day, with Corps members supporting the conversation with vocabulary and topics from Center Time.

The program detailed above helps improve children’s oral language, book and print, and sound awareness skills. It increases their vocabulary and their ability to understand what is being read and said to them. It teaches them the letters of the alphabets and how to connect printed words to meaning. It also teaches children how to listen for sounds in words and how to make rhymes. All of these skills help the students catch up on literacy and language rates of their wealthier peers entering kindergarten at the same time.  

Jumpstart’s programs are very effective at bridging the language and literacy gaps between impoverished and wealthy children. While their work is far reaching, it simply isn’t possible for them to directly help every one of the estimated 15 million impoverished children in the United States. In order to help all impoverished children bridge the knowledge gap, we need policies in place that provide affordable and high quality early childhood education programs for all.

High quality preschool lays the foundation for a child’s success, providing many short and long-term benefits. In addition to improved literacy and math skills, children learn important social and communication skills. It also increases the rate of high school graduation and lifetime earnings. Even things like crime and teenage pregnancy rates are reduced when children receive a solid education from a young age.

In order to ensure that all children have an equal chance for success, Jumpstart advocates for policies that improve accessibility to high-quality early childhood education, increase compensation for early childhood educators, promote workforce training opportunities within colleges and universities, and continue the commitment to national services such as AmeriCorps.

One issue that Jumpstart has advocated strongly in favor for is increasing Head Start’s funding and availability. Head Start is an early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parental involvement program run by the Department of Health and Human Services. It was originally launched as a “catch-up” summer school program intended to help low-income children learn everything they needed to know before beginning kindergarten. Since its inception in 1965, the program has expanded its offerings to include “early head start”, an educational program for the first three years of life.

Head Start is one of the longest-running programs aimed at addressing systemic poverty and its effects on children. Despite being the largest government investment in early-education for low-income students, less than 1 million children participated in the 2016-2017 school year program. There are nearly 11 million children under the age of six who come from low-income families, so while the program is helpful, availability could be improved. Head Start also provides funding for professional development to early-education educators, which allows for them to improve their skills, which in turn improves their quality of instruction and results in better learning opportunities for the children. The most recent reauthorization of the program occurred in 2007, resulting in increased access to the program for working families and higher quality and training standards. Head Start’s reauthorization will be occurring soon, and Jumpstart is advocating for policies that will increase the number of spots available, increase Head Start educator salaries so that they are in line with salaries for public early educators, and introducing a full-day, full-year program.  

Management

Jumpstart

Naila Bolus

DChief Executive Officer

Experience and Education
  • Executive Director at the Ploughshares Fund
  • Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Affairs from Tufts University
  • Compensation
    $232,000

Jumpstart

Gary Jimenez

Chief Development Officer

Experience and Education
  • Regional Vice President at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund
  • Master of Business Administration in Strategy, Leadership & General Management from Claremont
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Southern California
Compensation
$163,000

Jumpstart

Jennifer Templeman

Chief Operating Officer

Experience and Education
  • Director of Finance at Girls Incorporated of Lynn
  • Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Capital University
Compensation
$170,000

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