Our Story

In 1996, President Clinton launched a nationwide initiative called America Reads, calling on all Americans to take action in their communities to ensure that all children become competent readers by the end of third grade.


Leonard Fein, a veteran Jewish activist, saw this as an opportunity for the Jewish community to usefully engage with the larger society in addressing a serious and pervasive problem. In 1997, the Jewish Coalition for Literacy was piloted in Boston.


By 1999, the Bay Area JCL was launched. We are one of 27 independent national affiliates of the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy (NJCL) and mobilize approximately 350 volunteer school tutors each year throughout the San Francisco-Bay Area.