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The Story of Madison Reading Project

This year, MRP is celebrating 10 years of igniting a love for reading. Each month of 2024, our founder and Executive Director - Rowan Childs - will be adding a chapter so you can follow along on our journey. Let's dive in...


Once Upon a Time...

First Steps by Rowan Childs

The spark for our work started in 2013 with the belief that ALL kids should have access to great books they truly want to read. That same year the first Race to Equity report came out highlighting immense racial disparities in Dane County.  With $1000 of seed money, a clear need, and collaborators Will Green and Stephanie Berto, our non-profit went from an idea to a reality, serving 30 kids in our pilot program at Salvation Army on Darbo Drive in Madison.  We filed our non profit paperwork in October 2014, and the rest is history! 


After a successful pilot program turned nonprofit, and figuring out how to scale one program to many there were more than one sleepless night. A fortune cookie landed in my hands and summarized what I was trying to do and what I needed to focus on. When things got complex, I’d glance at the fortune taped to my laptop and remind myself to refocus on what was important. To this day, this quote still rings true. Our work has grown significantly since the early years, and we have built a wonderful community. We are intentional about our work and reach, and believe in our values. Who knew this was all part of the seeds of a great nonprofit that is out to accomplish literacy goals for the youth of this community?

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Beanie Hat and Book

Chapter Two

Coming soon...

Beanie Hat and Book
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