Portland, February 21st, 2014. It was an erudite crowd 500 strong at the SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) gala. Young readers from Oregon Children’s Theater Elisha, Ethan and Grace posed with Portland Timbers mascot Timber Joey before reading The SMART Story to gala attendees. SMART pairs caring adult volunteers with PreK through third-grade children to provide one-on-one reading support and books to keep. (photo credit, Andie Petkus)

The SMART gala featured a cocktail hour, dinner, live auction and “Make a Difference” paddle raise at the Portland Art Museum. The event chair was Michele Daterman. The money raised will support 250 SMART programs across Oregon.

The Cocktail hour had a silent auction where books were a hot item.

The Cocktail hour had a silent auction where books were a hot item.

Table mates celebrate winning the Book Pack Frenzy, which pits tables against one another to purchase the most book packs for SMART students.

Table mates celebrate winning the Book Pack Frenzy, which pits tables against one another to purchase the most book packs for SMART students.

table mates Johanna Thoeresz* of Oregon Community Foundation; Sally McCracken*; Susan Lindauer* of Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon; SMART Board Member Greg Chaillé*; and SMART Board Chair Mary Wilcox pose for a photo before dinner begins.

Johanna Thoeresz of Oregon Community Foundation; Sally McCracken; Susan Lindauer of Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon; SMART Board Member Greg Chaillé; and SMART Board Chair Mary Wilcox pose for a photo before dinner begins.

Portland saxophonist Patrick Lamb* amps up the crowd before the live auction.

Portland saxophonist Patrick Lamb amps up the crowd before the live auction.

Tom Wyatt, CEO of the SMART Gala’s presenting sponsor Knowledge Universe, addresses the crowd.

Tom Wyatt, CEO of the SMART Gala’s presenting sponsor Knowledge Universe, addresses the crowd.

SMART Gala emcee Brenda Braxton*, KGW NewsChannel 8 anchor, poses between duties for a quick photo with DJ Wilson*, KGW president and general manager and SMART Board Member.

SMART Gala emcee Brenda Braxton, KGW NewsChannel 8 anchor, poses between duties for a quick photo with DJ Wilson, KGW president and general manager and SMART Board Member.

SMART 2014 Outstanding Volunteer Rick Rogoway* receives the award from SMART Executive Director Chris Otis

SMART 2014 Outstanding Volunteer Rick Rogoway receives the award from SMART Executive Director Chris Otis

From SMART:

Our Vision

An Oregon where every child can read and is empowered to succeed. 

Our Mission

SMART engages community volunteers to read one-on-one with PreK through third-grade children who need reading support. Participating children also receive new books each month to keep and read with their families. 

Our History

In 1991, a group of concerned business leaders led by Gov. Neil Goldschmidt came together to address the troublesome reality that Oregon’s children were routinely reading below grade level. SMART’s unique model was developed, blending early childhood reading support, adult mentorship and community engagement to positively impact literacy outcomes.

The program launched in 1992 in eight schools in two cities, serving 585 children.

Over the years, SMART has steadily grown to become the state’s largest volunteer-driven nonprofit organization devoted to children’s literacy.

Since SMART’s inception, we have served more than 152,000 children and given away nearly 2 million books. More than 103,000 volunteers have logged 3 million hours reading with SMART children across the state.

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