's EDU Accelerator of the Year

Throughout 2012, has recognized the work of organizations that help to make education accessible. We're now asking users to vote to select one of these organizations to be named the EDU Accelerator of the Year and win a $1,000 donation to help it with its important work. Read about the nominees below and cast your vote!


The Nominees

The Heidelberg Project

The Heidelberg Project in Detroit continues to provide a free museum in the heart of an urban community to over 200,000 people annually. Additionally, we offer a unique Art, Community and Environmental Educational (ACEII) program to over 300 children in Public Schools whose arts programs are virtually non-existent. We also promote up and coming artists, and we created Young Adults of Heidelberg, a group dedicated revitalizing our communities through Art. The Heidelberg Project has cast an internationally spotlight on the city of Detroit and is the pioneer of Detroit's new art movement.

Reading Seed

In 2012, Reading Seed Children's Literacy Program, a program of Literacy Connects, provided 102 elementary schools and over 3,000 struggling readers in kindergarten through third grade with access to one-on-one mentorship and support, individualized literacy coaching and free books to encourage independent reading. With just four staff members supporting almost 800 trained and dedicated community volunteers, we were able to help 87% of the students we serve improve their reading skills by at least one grade level. To ensure that every student in Pima County has access to high-quality books, Reading Seed also distributed over 20,000 free books in 2012 to at-risk students, underfunded schools and teachers in need. Please consider supporting Reading Seed and helping children in Arizona learn to read, so they can read to learn!

Girls Inc. of Metro Denver

In 2012, Girls Inc. of Metro Denver delivered over 72,000 hours of empowerment and prevention programs to 2,047 girls in the Denver metro community, helping to inspire them to be strong, smart and bold. Girls Inc. of Metro Denver also provided over $55,000 in college scholarships to girls who have participated in programs.

See Spot Read

The dog teams, represented by their Nationally Recognized Therapy Organizations, have visited over 30 libraries and schools per month, giving children chances not only to meet, greet and read with a dog, but to do this in a fun and exciting manner that builds their self-esteem and self-confidence, and motivates them with their reading skills and desire to read more. These visits are two-fold in the fact that not only do the children walk away with smiles, laughter and eagerness to return to another session, but the dog handlers are given a heartfelt reward in knowing they helped the children gain the above attributes all the while sharing this with their four legged companion, who in reality is the star in making this happen!

Alamos Elementary School Reading Program

In 2012, Alamos Elementary School fifth graders participated in a reading program where they received auction points for each page they read during the year. The points were then used at an end of the year silent auction. The items being auctioned off were donations the children helped obtain through business letters they wrote.

Not For Sale

Not For Sale empowers high-trafficked communities to seek their own dignified employment and break the cycle of exploitation. In just one quarter of 2012, Not For Sale was able to support 748 survivors of exploitation and individuals at-risk to exploitation. Read more here:


Sacred Heart Community Service's annual Pack-A-Back program makes sure that Silicon Valley area students are starting the school year on the right foot by providing them with needed school supplies. Volunteer and Drives Coordinator Terri West said that the supplies help the students feel like every other kid while also helping them to feel excited about education.


LifeSTEPS offers after school programs for children who live in affordable housing communities, providing opportunities to gain the skills needed to break the cycle of poverty. 75% of the children we serve increase academic performance by one letter grade in a core subject, while also acquiring leadership and teamwork skills that will serve them for a lifetime.

The Kilgoris Project

In 2012, The Kilgoris Project added Kindles to more of our rural Kenyan classrooms. Now even more students are improving their reading and test scores with 300+ Swahili and English books in hand.


In 2012 buildOn broke ground on our 500th school worldwide - in St. Hilarie, Haiti. buildOn students in inner-city high schools across the U.S. also completed their 1,000,000 hour of service. While these students are changing our communities, they are also changing their own lives. In schools where only 50 percent of the students graduate, 94.2% of buildOn students are graduating and going on to college.


BookEnds is an organization constantly in motion. Along with our core book drive programs, this year we launched several initiatives aimed at achieving deeper impact on literacy development. Through expanded partnerships between book drive schools, BookEnds is facilitating more meaningful connections between our student volunteers. Our recipient school students are being given the opportunity to share their reading skills with younger students from donor organizations, thereby completing the circle of leadership. Starting this month, BookEnds is implementing a creative way to flood the libraries of schools on a wider scale than ever before by partnering with national for-profit book distributors who donate their excess inventory of gently used children's books at little or no additional expense. This partnership will double our impact, delivering 100,000 more books into the community, transforming the educational landscape in Greater Los Angeles.

Now that you know more about all of these wonderful organizations, it's time to vote! You can vote from December 1 through December 31. Please click here to cast your ballot, and feel free to encourage others to vote!

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