Christine Ward Is Now Leading Raising a Reader Massachusetts

Christine Ward
October 24, 2017 — Raising a Reader Massachusetts, a statewide, early literacy nonprofit organization based in Boston that focuses on preventing academic achievement gaps, recently announced that Christine Ward, an early literacy advocate, has been appointed as its new executive director.

She succeeds Randy Houk, who served in the role for nearly two years before stepping down to join The Benefactory Consulting Group. Houk led Raising A Reader MA, taking over from founder Donna DiFillippo.

Ward served as interim executive director following Houk's departure. She joined the organization in 2010 as director of operations, and became vice president of operations and finance in early 2016.

“When my children were young, I took family reading time for granted," Ward said. "We had a bedtime routine and a whole library of books in our home. Knowing that those routines are not available to all families – whether due to lack of awareness or lack of resources – drives my passion for what we do.

"I am determined to make sure that every family can enjoy the proven educational benefits and shared joy of interactive book time together.”

Prior to joining Raising A Reader Massachusetts, Ward held several positions in the investing field, having worked for Progress Partners, Inc., AEW Capital Management, and The New England. She also previously worked as a product marketing manager.

Ward earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Babson College.

Raising A Reader MA helps families of young children through age six develop, practice, and maintain home-based literacy routines critical for school success. Its core program increases access to books and offers support for strengthening the culture of reading at home. According to the organization, research has shown that the most significant factor impacting a child’s academic success is being regularly read to by a parent or other primary adult caregiver before starting kindergarten

Since it was founded in 2006 and brought to Massachusetts from California, Raising A Reader MA has circulated over 71,000 books to more than 45,000 children and families in the state. During the 2016-17 program year, Raising A Reader MA served 13,813 children with 114 program partners across the state, teaching interactive reading strategies to thousands of parents, many of whom never before made a practice of reading in their homes.

For the year ending June 30, 2016, Raising A Reader MA reported $1.12 million in revenue, of which $996,000 came from contributions and grants, and $1.36 million in expenses, according to its most recently available federal tax filing.