Today, March 22, would have been the 95th birthday of Mimi Levin Lieber. LINC is proud to remember this extraordinary woman who had the vision and the energy to start Literacy Inc. (LINC) after a successful professional career as a consumer attitude consultant and fifteen years of public service as a member of the New York State Board of Regents. Either by itself would have been a significant legacy, but at a point when many would be thinking only of retirement, Mimi decided to begin a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children learn to read and learn to love reading.
Calling on friends and connections throughout the city, Mimi assembled a dedicated board of directors and launched LINC in 1996; some remain involved supporters to this day. LINC’s mission rests on Mimi’s understanding of the power of community developed through her academic background as a sociologist. Mimi viewed high poverty neighborhoods as asset based resources with people as a neighborhood's greatest treasure. She understood that any community already has the existing infrastructure to solve the literacy crisis: libraries, schools, local businesses and above all, people who want to help.
LINC’s charter is shaped around several simple concepts:
There is a literacy crisis that disproportionately harms children living in poverty and keeps them from acquiring the vital skill of reading.
LINC can connect resources that already exist to mobilize neighborhoods around reading.
Our programs are research based and intentionally move beyond child and family literacy to make reading visible and valued in a community.
Mimi understood that literacy was essential to the functioning of our democracy, a concept that was inculcated throughout her upbringing in a family dedicated to public service.Mimi’s approach to leading children to literacy has been recognized as an inoculation against poverty and empowerment for children, families and communities.
Earlier this month, LINC hosted a Women’s History Month celebration, “Wear Your Crown.” Mimi was among those leaders we recognized. It was a true pleasure to share her story with the children and families participating in programs that are possible only because Mimi Levin Lieber had the remarkable commitment to bring LINC to life.
Mimi remained modest about her many accomplishments. She regarded her four children (James, Janno, Theo, and Angie) and the families they created as her true legacy.
But those of us privileged to carry on her work know that we and the families that participate in our programs are also very much the beneficiaries of her love of children and reading brought together at LINC.
To register for LINC's latest online programs, visit us at www.lincnyc.org/onlineprograms.