Children's Literacy Initiative

Children’s Literacy Initiative (“CLI”) is a nonprofit that works directly with teachers and educators to improve learning environments with the goal of advancing literacy achievement for disadvantaged children. CLI invests in schools by providing training and coaching to teachers and administrators while also supplying quality children’s books.

NPI Rating: BUY

CLI has a proven track record and impact model focused on professional development and investment in classrooms. Recent funding from the DOE underscores this model and provides the opportunity for significant expansion. Further studies on the MELI program will be integral in highlighting its positive impact.


  • Clear strategic plan. CLI has a distinct mission statement with strategic goals through 2015 emphasizing their commitment to long-term educational development. Their strategic plan is highlighted by their focused approach on professional development and providing effective evidence-based literacy strategies for schools, specifically pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade.
  • Evidence-based impact. CLI provides metrics to measure their impact on schools. In 2011, they disclosed metrics such as coaching hours delivered, schools served, students impacted, number of people receiving materials, coaching, or training, and number of teachers, instructors, and principals coached. However, in order to understand the impact of CLI’s programs over time, it would behoove the organization to disclose these metrics on an annual basis.
  • MELI program. CLI’s landmark program, which has received funding from the U.S. Department of Education (“DOE”), represents a unique opportunity to validate CLI’s model and show that exemplary teaching is “observable, measurable, replicable, and scalable.”
  • Significant expansion opportunity. CLI has received a large number of grants and contributions over the last two years, particularly from the DOE and other large funders such as Target. CLI’s financial strength should put it in a good position to continue to expand its presence and implement the MELI program.


  • Limited impact studies in the last few years. CLI’s most recent relevant impact studies have been in 2008 and 2010. Given the continued development of the model classroom and the implementation of the MELI program, further studies will be essential in evaluating the future success of these programs.
  • Potential lag in expected revenue. CLI’s costs have increased dramatically as it expands and implements the MELI program. It will be important to track and understand whether this will garner increased grants and contributions in order to sustain this growth.


Download the full research report in PDF format here: NPI Evaluation of Children's Literacy Initiative.

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