The Adjoin Fund (TAF) is a citizen-based organization that was founded in October 2014. What began as a conversation among three people has grown to more than 300 people who have joined together and is expanding. The sole purpose of the Fund is to help African American boys, grades six to eight, become more competent readers. We selected that cohort because it contains boys at the end of the line. After they leave elementary school, no one may be there to encourage them to read and few will be there to help them.
We at The Adjoin Fund learned a lot about the profound crisis in reading that is impacting African American boys across the country. In fact, African American boys make up the highest percentage of public school students who read below grade level on both the state and national levels. We understand the incredible barriers facing our educational system and view public school teachers as our allies. In large part, we believe it is best to work with our schools and teaching professionals to help African American boys rather than attempt to form new models or structures. Therefore, the first endeavor of The Adjoin Fund was to give grants to three Chicago Public Schools stating extra activities they would undertake to help African American boys, grades six through eight in their schools, to become more competent readers.
Since its founding, TAF has funded 12 Chicago Public Schools that developed special programs to help inspire boys to read. We have partnered with Chicago State University in developing a dynamic public elementary school assembly designed to encourage reading. Each year, we mount a “Kindle Fire Club” providing boys instructions on using technology to read more competently and diminishing the digital divide. Lastly, we put books in the local barbershops, currently in four, based on the premise that African American boys have tremendous respect for their barbers and will follow their lead.
The Adjoin Fund, Inc. is a 501(c)3, nonprofit corporation in good standing in Illinois.