Reading for a Lifetime of Wellness: Reach Out and Read of Greater New York is Featured in the Wall Street Journal
December 9, 2013 — The Wall Street Journal featured Reach Out and Read of Greater New York Board Member, Katinka Domotorffy, in its “Donor of the Day” column. Below is the story as it appeared both in print and online at wsj.com.
Reading for a Lifetime of Wellness
Katinka Domotorffy Supports Reach out and Read of Greater New York
By Melanie Grayce West
Dec. 9, 2013
Philanthropist Katinka Domotorffy believes that books can be a kind of preventative care for a child’s future.
To do that, parents need to understand that reading during the earliest years, before a child gets to school, is part of overall wellness, like vaccinations and regular visits to the doctor.
Pediatricians are ideal representatives for pre-literacy programs, says Ms. Domotorffy. She supports Reach out and Read of Greater New York, a charity that partners with doctors and others in the healthcare community to provide free books to low-income families.
“Instilling a love of reading in a loving family setting from the earliest age, I think, has the greatest likelihood of significantly influencing and impacting long-term educational outcomes,” said Ms. Domotorffy, 38 years old.
She joined the board of the organization in 2006 and presently serves as vice chair. With her husband, Mark Beeler, Ms. Domotorffy has contributed more than $400,000 to the organization.
She became connected to Reach Out and Read during her time at Goldman Sachs, where she formerly worked as head of the quantitative-investment-strategies group. Ms. Domotorffy retired in 2011 and now works as an independent investment management professional. As the mother of three young children, reading is a central part of her family life and something that Ms. Domotorffy loves.
“If you have a love of reading and a love of learning that is something that will always stay with you,” she said. “It’s a permanent part of your well-being.”
Her most recent gift of $250,000 is through Goldman Sachs Gives, a donor-advised fund for current and former employees. The gift is directed to a new $4 million campaign for Reach Out and Read of Greater New York to create an endowment to purchase books.
Most books to Reach Out and Read are donated, but doctors and medical professionals often host independent fundraisers to raise money to purchase more books. The organization serves 250,000 children ages six months to 5 years in more than 190 program sites throughout the region. The organization reports that parents who receive a book from Reach Out and Read are up to four times more likely to read to their children.
The program works because pediatricians are often considered “trusted advisors” for parents, explained Ms. Domotorffy. During a visit, a doctor that is part of Reach Out and Read will talk with a parent about the importance of reading, give an age-appropriate book and observe how a small patient interacts with the book. Nibbling on a book is common for babies and older kids like to point at images.
The value of the exchange between doctors and parents is to have a “dialogue around the importance of reading,” said Ms. Domotorffy.