Turning the Page was founded in Washington, DC in January 1998 by a group of young professionals. Motivated by the visible needs of D.C. Public School students and intent on positively impacting the community, Turning the Page founders sought to increase educational outcomes for students in Washington, DC public schools. Through visiting schools, talking with teachers, librarians, parents, local and national education and community groups they consistently heard that 1) more supports were needed for parents to be involved in the schools and 2) that access to learning materials, in the home and in school could be improved. Early on trust and access became the two main principles of Turning the Page’s work.
From that time, Turning the Page’s early vision has unfolded into an organization making a difference in the lives of students, parents and teachers in DC and beyond. Here are a few key milestones.
- We incorporated in January 1998 as Turning the Page
- We held our first fundraiser that April at Buffalo Billiards, a Dupont Circle bar, restaurant and pool-hall. We raised $1,000, which we used to purchase books for Shadd Elementary School in SE Washington, D.C.
- The Philip Graham Fund, at the time chaired by Katharine Graham, awarded Turning the Page our first grant: $5,000 to develop our first program, “Community Nights at the Library”. Delivered to our new PO Box, this was an exciting development! As we now near our 800th Community Night since the program’s inception in 1999, we remain grateful for this initial trust. During this time, we also developed key partnerships that we have sustained through the years. Reading is Fundamental began providing us with funds to purchase high-quality children’s books for the home, as part of Community Nights and the D.C. Public Library began to share their resources with participating Turning the Page families.
- In late 1999, Hexagon, an all-volunteer political satire theatre group, decided to make Turning the Page the beneficiary of its spring 2000 shows, resulting in a $50,000 award.
- In July 2000, Jason left his position at Krooth & Altman to lead Turning the Page full-time. During the next three years, we gained significant momentum.
- In fall 2001, we started our partnership with AmeriCorps*VISTA, which has become instrumental to our ability to create sustainable programs.
- In June 2001, Politics & Prose held a book sale benefiting Turning the Page in their parking lot. In 2002, we launched our first Carpe Librum book sale.
- In 2002, together with the Phillips Collection, we were awarded a national leadership grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, enabling us to create and implement high-quality family programs using the art of Jacob Lawrence and other works at Phillips Collection.
- In fall 2002, TTP earned a four-year, $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to deepen and expand our family engagement initiatives.
- In 2005, TTP expanded its school community leadership program further, developing Parent Leadership, which combined training with support to parent leaders as they established parent teacher organization and school improvement projects.
- In 2015, TTP expanded to include programming in Chicago’s North Lawndale community, partnering with four schools there and offering the same range of programs as in D.C.
- Since 1998, TTP has engaged approximately 5,000 families, held more than 800 Community Nights, distributed more than 100,000 books, taken families on 75 Summer Learning Trips, trained and supported more than 180 parents to become successful change makers.
We have partnered with dozens of organizations to make learning resources more accessible to public school families.