About Us


The READ Center is a community-based nonprofit organization helping adults improve their lives through adult literacy.

READ was founded as the Literacy Council of Metropolitan Richmond in 1982 by Altrusa International Richmond, Inc., a professional women’s business service club and became a 501(c)(3) organization in 1984.


The READ Center provides classroom instruction, one-to-one tutoring, and community programs to adults who want to improve their reading, writing, basic math and digital skills.

Learning to read as an adult is complex, and our students have often had limited success in school. READ meets students where they are and helps them attain their literacy and life goals.


The ability to read well is something many of us take for granted. It is something we assume every adult can do, but that is not true for one in six adults in the city of Richmond.

Imagine trying to read your prescription, get a driver’s license, apply to a job online, or help your child with homework when you struggle with reading. Low literacy traps families in a cycle of poverty that is hard to break. Everyone needs and deserves a literate life. 

Our Mission

The READ Center’s Mission:
Changing lives through adult literacy.

A community in which all adults have a literate life.

These are accomplished by providing:

Small Classroom Instruction
One-to-one Tutoring
Financial and Health Literacy

Our Impact on RVA

Serving Richmond, Henrico, and Chesterfield

Low literacy is intrinsically linked to poor health, low educational attainment, joblessness, poor housing and poverty. 1 in 6 adults in Richmond City lacks the literacy skills to read a bus schedule, fill out a job application or help their children with homework. In Henrico County, it’s about 1 in 11 adults and Chesterfield 1 in 12.

When individuals learn how to read, write, do basic math, and use computers, they have the power to lift themselves out of poverty, lower health care costs, find and keep sustainable employment, and ultimately change their lives. The figures below are for the 2018-2019 academic year.


Students rate READ as good for learning

People Served

Student Goals Achieved

Why Adult Literacy?

  • 36 million adults in the United States cannot read, write, or do basic math above a third-grade level.
  • 75% of state prison inmates did not complete high school or can be classified as low literate.
  • $232 billion a year in health care costs is linked to low literacy.
  • Children whose parents have low literacy levels have a 72% chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. They are also more likely to repeat school years or drop out.

More than 73,000 in metro Richmond lack basic literacy skills.

The READ Center believes one adult who can’t read well is one too many.

Read Center Staff

Nausha Brown Chavez

Program Manager

Leslie Harper

Teacher & Tutor Trainer

Carolyn Harsh

Teacher & Tutor Trainer

Daphne Hill


Mary Jamison


Karen La Forge

Executive Director

Chris Miller

Program Assistant

Kristin Parson

Distance Learning Coordinator

India Pervall

Marketing & Administrative Coordinator

Everette Rufolo-Roger

Director of Development

Janet Sodell

Teacher & Tutor Trainer

Don Wilms


Board Of Directors

E-Shawn Baxter

C&F Bank

Nora Crouch, Immediate Past President

Markel Corporation

Monique Finnegan

Bart Leahy

Atlantic Bay

Ellen Marie Hess, Vice President

Virginia Employment Commission

Frank McCormick, President

Fidelity National Title

Terry McNally

Columbia Gas of Virginia and Massachusetts

Janet Palmer

City of Richmond

Brittany Phinyowattanachip, Treasurer

Ernst & Young

Ida M. Pierce

Markel Corporation

Sandy Reynolds, Secretary

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Kady Salmon

Dominion Energy Services, Inc.

Laurie Sanderson


William Seymour, Vice President

Florance, Gordon, Brown, P.C.

Lisa K. Tully

Fidelity National Title Insurance Company

READ Center’s Board welcomes questions, comments and input.  You can e-mail the board with this link. 

Everyone needs and deserves a literate life.

Want to learn more about adult literacy? Click here for the facts.