From left: Kirkham Kitson, chairman of trustees; Elizabeth Kitson, founder, The Reading Clinic; Shkysi Cummings, chair of The Reading Clinic board of governors; Mansfield Brock, trustee. *Photo supplied
From left: Kirkham Kitson, chairman of trustees; Elizabeth Kitson, founder, The Reading Clinic; Shkysi Cummings, chair of The Reading Clinic board of governors; Mansfield Brock, trustee. *Photo supplied

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16: The Reading Clinic is today pleased to announce the establishment of The Reading Clinic Foundation.

The Foundation has been set up to ensure the long-term continuity of the programmes and to provide financial assistance to families of children with learning difficulties who cannot afford fees for the specialised services offered by the Clinic.

We are delighted to announce that the Foundation is being launched today with a very generous gift of $1 million from Mrs. Elizabeth Kitson, founder of The Reading Clinic.

The eventual goal of the Foundation is to provide the Clinic with $100,000 annually from investments to provide reading interventions to children whose families demonstrate financial need.

The Foundation is a charitable trust and current trustees are Kirkham Kitson and Miles Outerbridge, a long-time adviser to Mrs. Kitson and the Clinic. The role of the Investment Committee, which includes Jim Brock and Richard Krupp, will be to invest the funds so as to create a reliable income stream.

The Reading Clinic was established by Mrs. Kitson in 1968 in response to the needs of children, including her son, Richard, with reading disabilities. Working from the basement of her own home, Mrs. Kitson initially trained other parents to tutor each other’s children, regardless of their background.

Since then, the Clinic has developed as a purpose-built facility with an array of professional services designed to meet the needs of individuals with specific learning differences. 

The Clinic annually provides more than 6,000 professional tutoring sessions for more than 120 children with learning difficulties in literacy and numeracy. In 2011-2012, the Clinic’s Core Reading Programme alone delivered more than 4,500 hours of tutoring to 79 reading students.

 Dr. Julie Dunstan, Executive Director of The Reading Clinic, said: “Over the past 40 years, thousands of Bermudian children with learning disabilities have benefited directly from Mrs. Kitson’s extraordinary vision and determination. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Mrs. Kitson not only for her generous gift today but also for the continued commitment and support of The Reading Clinic by the Kitson family.

“The Foundation will play a critical role in the financial sustainability of The Reading Clinic. Over the past 40 years we have been fortunate to receive financial support from the community, corporations, foundations, individuals and special events. We also raise approximately 25% of our revenue from earned income such as fees for service, rentals and investment income.

“We cannot take that support for granted, especially in today’s challenging economic climate. However, the demand and need for our services is increasing at a time when many families are finding it more difficult to afford the specialised help their children need.

“To maintain our current level of services we have increased our revenue target for the 2012-2013 operating year from $800,000 in 2011-2012 to $1,000,000. Income from the Foundation will help us ensure that no child who requires the Clinic’s services will be turned away.”