The Johnson-Dillon Fund

Empowering leaders making a real difference

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Johnson-Dillon Fund for Educator Support

“The bedrock of The Literacy Lab’s work and impact is the relationship between Tutors and Fellows and their students. Students know that their tutor or Fellow is going to bring their best each and every day to help them develop as a reader and as a person. Tutors and Fellows likewise need to be supported and taken care of so they are able to focus on their critically important work day in and day out.”

– Ashley Johnson and Tom Dillon

Why Educator Support Fund?

The Johnson-Dillon Fund is aligned with The Literacy Lab’s core value of being a people-first organization. We are committed to supporting the personal and professional development of our staff, Tutors, and Fellows, and will commit our resources, energy, and creativity to ensure that we promote a safe and supportive workplace for all. This opportunity that the individuals, who serve as Tutors and Fellows in our programs receive is oftentimes the factor that makes the difference between how quickly they begin to chart their career paths and achieve success in their lives, or not. The organization is committed to leveraging this transformative time in the lives of our Tutors and Fellows, to help them succeed, and this Fund is one of the ways we are doing so.

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What the Fund will Support


Life Emergencies

Many of our Tutors and Fellows are responsible for their own living expenses on stipends that often do not match the cost of living in the regions served by the organization. Tutors and Fellows are often left vulnerable to food and housing insecurity because they have no family or friends with discretionary resources to support them when life’s emergencies happen. This Fund will offer basic needs support to any Tutor or Fellow who needs it, as follows: Housing insecurity, food insecurity, and short-term Emergencies.

Living Allowance

The Fund will support the rising cost of living by increasing The Literacy Lab’s tutor living allowance and benefits. These benefits ensure the tutor experience is accessible to participants from diverse backgrounds and allows people to meet their basic needs during service with our program.

Mental and Emotional Support

In partnership with Talkspace, the Fund will support the mental and emotional well-being of our Tutors and Fellows through personalized counseling  services. A Talkspace subscription will give our Tutors and Fellows access to a licensed therapist whenever they feel like connecting, through live virtual sessions, via texts, and audio or video messages.

Tuition Assistance

The Literacy Lab is committed to supporting a diverse and equitably built pipeline of educators, and as such is invested in supporting the educational advancement of Tutors and Fellows. The Johnson-Dillon Fund will help us continue providing educational funding support in the form of scholarships and robust professional development opportunities.

Hear From Our Tutors and Fellows

Our Tutors and Fellows give so much of themselves every day to support the students we serve. Check out what they have to say about their experience serving as a Tutor/Fellow.

Because someone believed in me, I am commited to enrolling in Trinity Washington University and return to serve again as a Fellow
Miles Hunt, Senior Fellow, Metro D.C.
Giving back to the Baltimore community and helping kids enjoy learning has been a great experience
Jessica Profilio, Tutor, Baltimore
My service year has helped me understand so much more about primary education and the importance of uplifting and empowering minority and underrepresented students and communities through education.
Kesla Elmore, Tutor, Baltimore