When Hillary U, Director, Executive and Internal Communications for Salesforce’s Security Team, learned the company’s Chief Trust Officer was passionate about literacy volunteer opportunities for the company’s employees, she did some research.

“I went in search of literacy programs in areas where our employees live, and Team Read popped up. It brought up some amazing memories of my experience as a reading coach,” she said.

U was a Team Read coach as a student at Eckstein Middle School and Roosevelt High School in Seattle, an experience that helped shape her as a business leader. “It helped me develop leadership and life skills as it gave me an opportunity to find my passion for reading and giving back,” she noted. “The student I tutored struggled with reading due to her circumstances at home. I felt honored that she trusted me enough to share her story with me and felt that coming to Team Read was a safe place.”

Hillary U, Director, Executive and Internal Communications for Salesforce’s Security Team and Team Read alum

Over 100 Salesforce employees participated in a Lunch and Learn session introducing them to Team Read via curated videos and website content. Employees also participated in a Read-a-Thon challenge where participants pledged to read a certain amount during the week and then make a meaningful gift to Team Read. As a result, 60 Salesforce employees read over 326 hours during the challenge.

“The team enjoyed learning about an impactful organization working in a community we serve. Additionally, many commented that they were not making enough time to read in their everyday lives, and the challenge of making time to do it was a gift.” U said. And her experience as a Team Read coach made a lasting impact, too. “While I may not have known it, Team Read set me up to be not only a responsible leader but also one with empathy.”

Team Read would also like to thank all the supporters who developed creative ways to contribute to Team Read this year! Some highlights from the year:

  • A dedicated Team Read supporter organized two Microsoft GIVE fundraisers in October — a poker tournament and a karaoke event that raised more than $4,000 for Team Read.  
  • Ravenna Baked Goods raised more than $2,400 to support Team Read during GiveBIG, including matching funds from the Gates Foundation.
  • Supporters raised more than $5,000 for Team Read through Facebook fundraisers and gifts in honor of their birthdays or weddings.

Do you have an idea for a creative fundraiser to benefit our young readers and teen leaders? Contact development@teamread.org or visit teamread.org/support/ to learn about other ways to support Team Read.