Behind the Book (New York, NY)


  • Name:Micaela Gutierrez
  • Title:Director of Development

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Behind the Book
  • Address:145 West 96th Street, Suite 1E
    New York, NY 10025
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:212-222-3627

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • Behind the Book is a literary arts nonprofit that promotes literacy and a reading culture among low-income students in inner-city public schools in NYC. Behind the Book's mission is to excite children and young adults about reading in order to build a new generation of empowered and educated citizens. Working with K-12 students in low income schools throughout NYC, we bring authors, illustrators and their books into classrooms. Authors and illustrators lead a series of workshops related to their books and guide students through the completion of a unique writing based final project. Our programs occur during school hours, are part of the class curriculum and meet both NY State Learning Standards and the NYC Blueprint for the Arts. Behind the Book programs include book donations to students, classrooms and school libraries, art supplies for classrooms, field trips relevant to the topic of study and professional development for teachers.
    The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reports that in 2007, more than 70% of the nation's eighth graders attending public schools did not read at a proficient level. In New York, an astounding 81% of low income students do not read at a proficient level. Countless reports have found that access to books and engagement in reading are the keys to increasing literacy. Despite this, most schools serving low-income youth emphasize test preparation over reading engagement and do not even have the funds for adequate libraries.
    It is in this climate that Behind the Book works to elevate literacy among disadvantaged students by increasing their love for books and their ability and desire to express their ideas and emotions in writing, as well as by augmenting their under-resourced schools' literacy curricula and library collections.
    This year, we expect to conduct 100 school visits, serve 1,000 students and donate 1,400 books. Our programs continue to evolve and improve based on the needs and suggestions of the schools we serve. This year we are improving our cross-curricular programs, adding more professional development for teachers, collaborating with new partner organizations, developing a pilot program and continuing to participate in community activities.
    Behind the Book believes that every student deserves the freedom that comes from the ability to read and think independently, and we are committed to providing youth with opportunities to reach their potential.

    For more information, visit our website. For our 2009 Annual Report:
    For our list of supporters:
    For the list of authors we have worked with:

  • History:
  • Acting out of a conviction that personal access to published authors nurtures a life-long enjoyment of reading and writing, Jo Umans founded Behind the Book in the spring of 2003. While a part-time librarian in her son’s school, Ms. Umans saw how author visits resoundingly influenced students desire to interact with the written word. Inspired, she resolved to make such opportunities accessible to more students, especially those from low-income backgrounds. Jo shaped Behind the Book to be a literary arts nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the core curriculum by bringing authors and illustrators into the classroom to supplement what students are learning.

    Behind the Book has been very conscious of growing in a responsible way that allows us to expand without compromising the quality and nature of our programming. Beginning with 15 visits at five schools in 2003, Behind the Book has grown to 100 author visits (in support of 32 programs) in ten schools for the 2009-2010 school year. The demand for our programs highly exceeds our current capacity: every school we work with would like to have more reading programs than we currently have the budget for and to date we have 17 schools on our waiting list.
    The librarian at one of our schools, Annmarie McLeoud, from CS 21 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn said about Behind the Book:
    “This is the first program that I’ve been involved with in nineteen years that has generated such a high degree of interest and enthusiasm for books and reading in both teachers and students.”
    Behind the Book has the potential for wide-scale impact, and we are moving in that direction very responsibly, at every step ensuring quality programming and that we are having the desired impact. In order to ensure financial sustainability and future growth, we are carefully expanding our revenue streams, reducing our vulnerability in the face of the current economic recession. We have increased our funding from public sources and from individuals, adding to the support from foundations, corporations and events thus securing our fiscal viability.
    We are focused on excellence and in building an organization that can exist outside its founder and founding staff because our driving force is the future: creating opportunity for youth tomorrow through creative reading experiences today.

  • Year established:2003
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:12
  • Advisory board size:16
  • Staff size:6

Board and Executive Names

  • Board Members / Trustees:
  • Hawa Allen, Secretary
    Donald R. Asch, President
    Denise Bell
    Casey Cornelius
    Ben Istvan, Treasurer
    Julia Love
    Muffie Meyer
    Aliya J. Newkirk
    Francine Prose
    Ben Solarz
    Sharon Teitelbaum
    Jo Umans

  • Executive Director / President:
  • Jo Umans, Executive Director

Staff Names

  • Key Staff:
  • Micaela Gutierrez, Director of Development
    Christine Flemming, Program Associate
    Sarata Toriola, Program Assistant
    Barbara Korein, Arts Specialist
    Pat Levenson, Program Associate/Brooklyn Schools Liaison


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:509(a)(1)
  • Tax ID:32-0086097

Other Organization Web

IRS Business Master File Information

  • EIN:320086097
  • Organization Name:BEHIND THE BOOK INC
  • Sort (Secondary) Name:
  • Care Of Name:% JO UMANS
  • Organization Address:216 WEST 135TH STREET
  • Organization City:NEW YORK
  • Organization State:NY
  • Organization Zip:10030-2850
  • Group Exemption Number:0000
  • Subsection Code:03
  • Classification Code(s):2
  • Subsection/Classification Desc.:Educational Organization
  • Affiliation Code:3
  • Ruling Date:June, 2003
  • Deductibility Code:1
  • Foundation Code:15
  • Foundation Code Desc.:Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public 170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
  • Activity Code(s):
  • Activity Code Desc.(s):
  • Organization Code:1 (Corporation)
  • Exempt Org. Status Code:01 (Unconditional Exemption)
  • Tax Period:June, 2017
  • Filing Requirement Category:01 (990 (all other) or 990EZ return)
  • Accounting Period:June
  • NTEE Code:B19
  • Asset Amount:$198,591
  • Asset Code:4 ($100,000 - $499,999)
  • Income Amount:$594,788
  • Income Code:5 ($500,000 - $999,999)
  • 990 Revenue Amount:$594,788
  • Last Updated:2/20/2018 11:20:11 pm

This information is directly from the IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File at Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract. This information is not under the control of the Common Grant Application and is collected and compiled and can only be changed by the IRS.