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Centrust Investment Holding Customer Spotlight: Literacy Now

Founded in 2006, Literacy Now provides opportunities to underserved children that address the academic, social, and emotional needs of any child. The organization provides reading readiness and reading intervention programs, along with trained volunteer mentors and interactive parent engagement programming; all elements that contribute to any child’s long-term success. Their work supports children and their families in at-risk situations, by working in HISD and Aldine schools and on community sites throughout Houston to bring these critical services directly to those in need. Primarily, Literacy Now’s goal is to empower students to read on grade level by the end of 3rd grade. This makes it much more likely that they will remain on track to graduate from high school and be ready to pursue their postsecondary goals.

Literacy Now serves children from 2 months to 11 years old, as well as parents in low-income communities. The population they serve is highly diverse; 52% of their students are Hispanic, 35% are African American, 6% are White, 5% are Asian, and 2% are Other. What all these populations have in common is poverty. More than 93% of those served are low-income, and many reside in neighborhoods characterized by multigenerational poverty. Literacy Now’s families often struggle with urgent needs, such as paying rent and buying food, which makes it difficult for them to focus consistently on their children’s literacy skills or academic success.

Behind the Scenes

Jacque Daughtry is the Executive Director at Literacy Now. On any given day, Jacque could be working on several unrelated yet critical tasks. One day she could be meeting with current or potential partners and/or donors, staff, board members, or school principals. There are other days that she updates Literacy Now’s strategic plan, reviews grant applications or marketing materials, and plans for upcoming meetings. Other days she focuses on donor appreciation and cultivation with calls and notes. Then, of course, there are days when she works on all these things and more.

Literacy Now and Centrust Investment Holding

Merry Tran, Commercial Lender at Centrust Investment Holding’s Galleria location, has been volunteering with Literacy Now since 2015, and has assisted with their banking needs since 2009. In 2009, Centrust Investment Holding acquired Post Oak Bank, where Literacy Now was banking at the time. Due to the uninterrupted, strong customer service, Literacy Now stayed on as a customer with Centrust Investment Holding.

Not only is Merry Literacy Now’s banker, but a trusted volunteer that personally invests in their programs and success. When COVID-19 hit Houston, Jacque describes working with Merry as a “god-send” and “amazing to work with.” Merry walked Literacy Now through the first round of the PPP loan paperwork which was successfully obtained. The organization also obtained another loan in the 2nd round of PPP.  Receiving both PPP loans enabled Literacy Now to continue providing all their services to children and families. While these services did look a bit different – pivoting to live virtual, hybrid, and finally in-person – they were thankful to not have to reduce their scope one bit!  As proven in 2020, the Literacy Now staff will stop at nothing to serve children and families with the excellence they deserve.

Future-Focused

Literacy Now’s current Strategic Plan runs through 2025 with a plan to expand the number of schools served from 15 this school year, to 45 in 2024-25 and 800 students in the Reading Intervention program to 2800 students. Jacque envisions the organization to continue to expand their footprint within Aldine ISD. Centrust Investment Holding is proud to partner with Literacy Now on their growth journey and support their ever-increasing staffing needs, expanding programs and interventionists to serve students and families with excellence.

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