How the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy reinvigorated their philanthropic program to achieve their new leader’s ambitious vision

The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy’s calling is to improve lives through literacy. The organization dedicated to expanding access to literacy services for adults nationwide because they believe in the uniquely transformative power of literacy. The ability to read, write, and comprehend brings dignity to daily life and equal opportunity to fulfill one’s greatest potential.

The Opportunity

Since its founding, the Barbara Bush Foundation had been merged with two other foundations. When the Barbara Bush Foundation engaged our counsel in 2019, they were preparing to transition to a standalone foundation, with the goal of expanding their network of donors beyond the Bush family and friends. The new President and CEO British Robinson had recently arrived at the Foundation with an ambitious vision for its future and was seeking our partnership in reimagining their fundraising program – and determining an ambitious yet achievable growth trajectory.

The Results of Our Partnership

Our partnership focused on our Key Indicators of Fundraising Success:

  • Case for Support – We partnered with the Foundation to complete a planning process, during which we solidified messaging around Barbara Bush Foundation’s mission, impact, and vision.
  • Leadership – Historically, the Foundation’s board had been comprised primarily of Bush family members. We partnered with the Foundation to reimagine and reassign the role of certain board members as well as recruit new members, to ensure all members were deeply invested in and prepared to contribute to the organization’s philanthropic success.
  • Infrastructure – We created a number of reports to increase data accuracy, streamline reporting, and improve systems – all in support of a more effective philanthropic strategy.
  • Prospects – Following an assessment of the Foundation’s fundraising history and existing prospects, we helped them shift their funding model away from members and friends of the Bush family to corporations and foundations.

Looking Forward

Prior to our counsel, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy was raising around $5M annually. Now, less than three years later, the Foundation is raising nearly $15M annually, signaling a promising and enduring pivot for their fundraising program.

British A. Robinson, President and CEO of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, discusses the vast issue that is low adult literacy.

Contact us to learn more about our fundraising counsel services.