Hi-5″ Award Criteria:

  • Awardee must be in NAF service area;
  • Awardee may be an organization dedicated solely to literacy or may be a program focused on literacy within a 501(c) 3;
  • Must be a dedicated literacy program with proven results and impact;
  • May assist individuals on the age continuum;
  • May be focused on assisting individuals for whom English is a second language;
  • May help raise awareness of the issue of illiteracy;
  • May help inspire a love of reading among children affected by poverty;
  • Must demonstrate a commitment to ending illiteracy;
  • Awardee may be an organization addressing health, financial, digital, or other type of literacy need.


2023 “Hi-5” Awardee


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Horizons at The Foote School is a six-week summer program for New Haven Public School Students, kindergarten through eighth grades. Their mission is to advance educational equity through robust academic and enrichment programs that build on long-term partnerships with families and communities to provide a joyful, safe, and inspiring learning environment that empowers New Haven Public Schools students to thrive in an ever-changing world. Horizons provides a robust STEAM curriculum that significantly improves literacy and math skills through Project-based education.  Scholars are supported by a 4:1 instructor-to-student ratio and a full-time summer social worker. Yale hospitality provides a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snacks daily. The program also offers cultural enrichment, field trips, swimming and other sports, and recreation opportunities.

Since 1995  Horizons has partnered closely with third-party evaluators, including Yale University, Amplify, and Renaissance learning to assess the program’s effectiveness. Data demonstrates that scholars gain 8-12 weeks of equivalence in reading and math over each six-week session. School attendance increased, and 97% of horizon scholars graduated high school, of which 91% attended college or post-secondary training.

In 2022, the program enrolled 136 scholars, served over 5,500 meals, provided 25 field trips, and scholars enjoyed 100 hours of pool time.  The program has about 77 teachers, interns, staff, and volunteers, with 42% of staff represented as people of color.

Learn more: The Horizons Program at Foote School


2022 “Hi-5” Awardee


Booker T. Washington Academy (BTWA), a charter school located in New Haven, works to ensure that every one of its students has the capacity to read, write, think, discuss and problem solve. Over 90% of students are minority and 85% receive free/reduced lunch. They currently serve 360 students in grades K-5, with an extended school day that includes 3.5 hours dedicated to reading and writing every day of the school year.

In 2019, 74% of third graders scored proficient or higher on standardized reading tests, with 34% of those students scoring in the advanced range in grades 3-5. Ninety-one percent of kindergarten students are reading short passages by the end of the school year and the number of second grade students who no longer need remedial reading programs rose to 56% (up from 16% in 2016-2017).

The pandemic has had a significant impact on BTWA students and has resulted in significant learning loss. The school has implemented an accelerated learning program in early literacy by providing high quality, targeted, professional development and engaging Hill for Literacy to accelerate the learning process in the children who have been most impacted by pandemic-related learning loss.

Booker T. Washington Academy not only achieves at high levels in literacy, but also strives to develop a lifelong passion for reading in its students.

Learn more: Booker T. Washington Academy


*2020 and 2021 “Hi-5” funds were allocated to the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven’s Great Give, as Literacy Match grants, to assist multiple organizations during the pandemic.


2019 “Hi-5” Awardee


Literacy Volunteers of Southern Connecticut (LVSCT) provides English language instruction (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) to immigrants and US citizens who need literacy instruction. Their mission is to provide tutoring services at no cost to any individual who wishes to learn the English language or enhance their reading, writing and math skills. This is accomplished through one-on-one tutoring, small classes and conversation classes.

What makes LVSCT unique from other literacy organizations is its focus on providing one-on-one tutoring. In 2017, there were 106 students enrolled with 54 tutors providing individual reading and writing instruction for one hour a week.

In an effort to introduce children to the joy of reading, LVSCT has developed several children’s literacy programs including:

Books for Babies & Books for Toddlers, in partnership with Milford Pediatrics, provides newborn babies with their first book and then again on his or her first birthday. Last year, 800 books were distributed.

Books for Birthdays, launched as a community partnership to celebrate local children’s birthdays with the gift of a book.  Every year, LVSCT donates to Boys and Girls Club of Milford, Boys and the Girls Village, Milford Resource Center, West Haven Community House and West Haven Resource Center, a new or “gently” used book to a youth on his or her birthday.

LVSCT has also implemented a Women and Children Class at Woodmont Library in Milford. Participants meet for 1 ½ hours a week in small class settings for reading and writing instruction.

Learn more: Literacy Volunteers of Southern Connecticut


2018 “Hi-5” Awardee


The Y-BELL Power Scholars Academy is a partnership between the YMCA of Greater Hartford, Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL), YMCA of the USA, and East Hartford Public Schools.

The program mitigates summer learning loss through structured academic and enrichment activities 6.5 hours per day, five days per week, over the course of six weeks. Students receive three hours of academic intervention every day (90 minutes for math and 90 minutes for reading). The curriculum is based on the Project-Based Learning model, which provides hands-on learning opportunities and fosters student engagement and creative problem solving. Certified teachers from East Hartford Public Schools, along with highly-qualified enrichment teachers, are hired to facilitate instruction and program activities. Y-BELL’s holistic approach promotes academic achievement, goal setting, and personal development, which youth are able to sustain during the academic year.

The Y-BELL Power Scholars Academy served 108 students, grades K-5 at East Hartford’s Anna E. Norris Elementary School in 2017. Forty-five percent of the students are Hispanic/Latino, 33.2% are Black/African American and 16.1% are White. Sixty-four percent of the students receive free and reduced meals at the school.

Students participating in the Y-BELL Power Scholars Academy gain on average the equivalent of two full months of math and reading progress. They also begin school in the fall strengthened in their academic preparedness, while gaining social-emotional skills that promote success in school.

The YMCA of Greater Hartford does all data collection to measure the progress of each student. This includes Renaissance Learning’s STAR Assessments test to measure academic growth, an internal scholar management system that tracks attendance, retention, and other program-specific quality indicators, as well as youth, parent and staff surveys to measure attitude, self-confidence, parent satisfaction, and overall program quality.

Learn more: Y-BELL Power Scholars Academy


2017 “Hi-5” Awardee

Leadership, Education and Athletics in Partnership (LEAP)

LEAP 2017The “Hi-5 High Impact Literacy Award” will be granted annually to an organization in the NewAlliance Foundation service area that embodies the five attributes the Foundation wishes to honor in the field of literacy: vision, responsiveness, innovation, spirit and results.

On Tuesday, May 23rd, NewAlliance Foundation Executive Director Kim Healey, and Managing Director Maryann Ott, unexpectedly burst into a LEAP board meeting with a check for $20,000 and the news that they were the 2017 recipients of the NewAlliance Foundation “Hi-5 High Impact Literacy Award”.

LEAP trains New Haven college and public high school students to work with younger children, providing a literacy-based curriculum as well as classes in the arts, computer science, swimming, athletics, camping, cooking and team building. In 2015-2016, LEAP served a total of 1,387 children and youth.

During the school year, LEAP operates six days a week, using four-to-one child-to-counselor ratios to help children complete homework and engage in literacy-based curriculum that respects each child’s “modalities” of learning, such as musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, interpersonal, and naturalistic. LEAP believes different kids learn differently and that poverty can limit access to different learning pathways. They seek to develop the strengths and talents of young people living in low-income, urban neighborhoods, and help them achieve positive academic and social outcomes.

LEAP’s summer program works with children five days a week and places college student counselors to live in public housing developments and other neighborhood housing so they are accessible to children where they live and can be role models in places that benefit from the introduction of college students as neighbors. The program combines literacy-based curriculum with fun developmentally appropriate activities, including overnight camping, swim lessons, science projects, community services, athletics, arts, cooking and gardening.  All programs are overseen by an experienced site coordinator with trained counselor pairs drawn from local colleges and high schools. There is significant focus on literacy in order to address the “summer slide” in which low income children fall behind academically during the summer months. It is a primary focus at LEAP, especially for kids who are 7 to 15 years old, that each child completes an average of 16 books over the summer.

LEAP uses Results-Based Accountability to set performance measures. Children’s literacy skills are assessed during post-component tests each term and youth academic progress is measured through report cards and other school records.

NewAlliance Foundation is proud to recognize the literacy work at LEAP with the 2017 “Hi-5 High Impact Literacy Award”. The vision, responsiveness, innovation, spirit and results of their literacy program deserve high recognition and praise.

Learn more here: LEAP

2016 “Hi-5” Awardee



On Tuesday, May 3rd, NewAlliance Foundation Executive Director, Kim Healey, Managing Director, Maryann Ott unexpectedly burst into a Saint Martin de Porres Academy board meeting with a check for $20,000 and the news that they were the 2016 recipients of the NewAlliance Foundation “Hi-5 High Impact Literacy Award”.

Saint Martin de Porres Academy is a faith-based, middle school that provides a tuition-free, extended day education for underserved girls and boys from low-income families in the New Haven area. They were selected to receive this unsolicited grant award to support their English Language Arts Curriculum.

The English Language Arts Curriculum primarily targets the development of literacy in the grades 5-8 curriculum and is committed to enabling all students to become life-long readers, writers, listeners and speakers. The overall goal of the reading and literature curriculum is to provide opportunities for students to engage in purposeful reading. Through this process, students enhance comprehension skills to read, and make increasingly sophisticated inferences and connections over a variety of texts. They experience diverse genre including the novel, poetry, short story, drama, and non-fiction. By the end of 8th grade, students are able to read a variety of texts fluently and are able to analyze thematic, literary and structural elements.

Because the single best predictor of reading achievement is the amount of time spent reading, the curriculum provides opportunities for students to select and read a variety of books. To facilitate opportunities for students to engage in meaningful reading, each grade maintains a reading workshop two to three days per week.

In the writer’s workshop, students write for a variety of purposes and audiences, and in doing so, learn the craft and conventions of writing. Teachers provide strategies for students to learn both English language conventions and expressive vocabulary. At the same time, students devise strategies to support pre-writing, composition, editing and final copy.

At the end of 8th grade, students are expected to be able to demonstrate proficiency in a variety of writing formats. They can construct a fluent five-paragraph persuasive essay when given a prompt, which includes a well-developed thesis, three support paragraphs, and a summary paragraph. Essays demonstrate master of spelling and grammar conventions.

NewAlliance Foundation is proud to recognize the English Language Arts Curriculum at Saint Martin de Porres Academy with the 2016 “Hi-5 High Impact Literacy Award”. The vision, responsiveness, innovation, spirit and results of their literacy program deserve high recognition and praise.

Learn more here: http://www.saintmartinacademy.or

2015 “Hi-5” Awardee


Hi-5 Award March 2015NewAlliance Foundation Executive Director, Kim Healey, Associate Director, Maryann Ott, and board member, Margie Gillis, surprised New Haven Reads at their May Board Meeting with the announcement, along with a check for $25,000, with news that they are the 2015 recipients of the NewAlliance Foundation “Hi-5 High Impact Literacy Award”.

New Haven Reads was selected to receive this unsolicited grant award, because of their volunteer-based one-on-one tutoring programs, their “open to all” Book Bank, and their track record of effective family support initiatives.

The mission of New Haven Reads, which was founded to “share the joy and power of reading”, is to increase the literacy skills of children in order to empower their academic success by providing individually tailored one-on-one after-school tutoring, educational family support, and a community book bank, all at no cost to participants.

Working in partnership with families and the community, New Haven Reads envisions a Greater New Haven in which every child has the opportunity to master reading and increase the odds of becoming a successful adult.

New Haven Reads has 5 primary programs:

Free After-School Tutoring

Each week more than 500 students come after-school and on Saturday afternoons for one or more hours per week of one-on-one tutoring. Children are from grades 1 through 12 and attend schools in New Haven and in surrounding communities.

The Community Book Bank

Set up like a book store and containing books for both adults and children, all books in the Book Bank are free. Books are arranged by topic and include fiction and non-fiction, with topics ranging from political science, to self-help, to how-to, and everything in-between.

Pre-K and Kindergarten Program

Now in its seventh year, this program focuses on equipping students with the tools they need to succeed when they enter school. Currently 42 children attend classes twice a week at two locations. Classes are small and students receive individual attention. The Pre-Kindergarteners work on acquiring a solid foundation of basic literacy skills in preparation for Kindergarten.

SAT Prep Class

New Haven Reads offers three 6-week SAT Prep classes each year to students who are currently enrolled in and attending high school. The goal of each class is to enrich vocabulary, improve reading comprehension, review and build mathematics skills, and learn to write a successful essay.

Summer Literacy Camp

Developed for rising kindergarteners and first graders, this program helps students gain confidence and enhance their skills during the summer months, when there is a risk of academic learning loss due to the long vacation. Taught by four certified teachers, this five-week-long program uses storytelling, poetry, songs, and hands-on materials to expand the reading and language skills of our campers.

The Hi-5 High Impact Literacy Award will be directed to general operating support for New Haven Reads. The vision, responsiveness, innovation, spirit and results of their programs, deserve recognition from NewAlliance Foundation’s prestigious award!

Learn more: http://newhavenreads.org/

2014 “Hi-5” Awardee


photoHartford Public Library is presented with the surprise “Hi-5” High Impact Literacy Award of $25,000 from NewAlliance Foundation in support of the Library’s dedication to providing access to literacy education to all Hartford residents.

The mission of the Hartford Public Library (HPL) is to provide free resources that inspire reading, guide learning, and encourage individual exploration.

Promoting literacy and significantly impacting community literacy rates is a fundamental role of the Library. With a broad definition of literacy that includes reading, writing, technology skills and critical thinking skills, the Library implements programs for early childhood and family literacy, out-of-school time educational, recreational and enrichment programs for older children and teens, a Teen Leader initiative, providing high school employment and mentoring opportunities, and adult learning programs.

In 2012, HPL created a new Summer Reading Program that increased participation by 870 percent, from 300 students in 2011 to 2,610 students. Another increase of 250 percent took place the summer of 2013 with 6,544 students participating. The Summer Reading Program is broken down into three components: The Parent/Child Summer Reading Program (birth to 5), the Youth Summer Reading Program, and the Teen Summer Reading Program.

The increase in participation was primarily due to the adoption of a plan for summer learning called The Learning Continuum, a collaborative program with the Hartford Public Schools and community-based organizations that builds a direct path to summer learning. The Library and Hartford Public Schools promoted the new program extensively and children were encouraged to register on the new Evanced Summer Reader Module, an online database for summer reading.

As a result of the Summer Reading Program, eighty-three percent of Parent/Child caregivers reported they increased the amount of time reading with children. Seventy percent of youth participants ages 6-12 and 48 percent of teen participants increased out-of-school reading.

The Hi-5 High Impact Literacy Award will be directed to the further development and impact of the Hartford Public Library’s Summer Reading Program. Now entering its third year, momentum is gaining as participation continues to make increase significantly. The vision, responsiveness, innovation, spirit and results of the Summer Reading Program deserve recognition from NewAlliance Foundation’s prestigious award.

2013 “Hi-5” Awardee


IMG_5150NewAlliance Foundation recognized the success of Concepts for Adaptive Learning (CfAL) in closing the digital divide with the 2013 “Hi-5” High Impact Literacy Award presented on April 17, 2013. The unsolicited $25,000 award underscores CfAL’s commitment to the five attributes of the “Hi-5” Award: vision, responsiveness, innovation, spirit and results.

Concepts for Adaptive Learning is a New Haven based non-profit organization, founded in 2001, to help improve the education of disadvantaged public school children throughout the state’s largest under-performing school districts. CfAL is unique in that it uses the resources of technology as the primary strategy for achieving its mission. CfAL installs computers and computer related equipment; integrates educational software in classrooms and homes; trains teachers, students and parents how to use technology; and works to eliminate the technology gap between families that have and do not have technology in the home, thereby increasing digital literacy.

Children in more than 2,500 homes have received gently used, refurbished computers so they can do their homework and access the same educational software used in their classrooms. To date, more than 2,500 families have participated.

Learn more : www.eachchildlearns.org/


2012 “Hi-5” Inaugural Awardee


IMG_5150In recognition of its educational programs, including a new Basic Spanish Literacy program, the NewAlliance Foundation presented its inaugural “Hi-5” High Impact Literacy Grant of $25,000 on May 30, 2012 to JUNTA for Progressive Action, located in New Haven. The unsolicited “Hi-5” award underscores Junta’s commitment to improving community literacy.

Junta is a Fair Haven based agency that was founded in 1969 as a response to the needs of the increased number of families moving to New Haven from Puerto Rico. Today, Junta seeks to empower and provide direct services to recent low-income and other vulnerable populations by offering many programs which help families transition to life in America.

Junta’s literacy programing includes:

English as a Second Language:  6 levels of English classes are offered at night (childcare is included) and “Survival” level classes are offered in the mornings for students whose English proficiency is limited or nonexistent.

Spanish Basic Literacy: a pilot course which teaches reading and writing in Spanish is offered for native Spanish speakers who are unable to read and write in their native Spanish language. This course accelerates their learning in Spanish and significantly eases their transition into learning English.

Family Literacy: a partnership with the Literacy Coalition of Greater New Haven which offers a Family Read program brings students and their children together to read and to discuss specific children’s books.  Parents are taught how to read and talk to their children in order to improve reading comprehension.

Health Literacy: an initiative which incorporates specific vocabulary into the curriculum and helps students learn how to discuss health issues with doctors. A bilingual health guide, What’s in Your Backyard? A Guide to Health Resources in New Haven, is used as the curriculum tool for ESL and GED courses.

Learn more: www.juntainc.org