Better Business Bureau Report for
Writers in the Schools (WITS)

Better Business Bureau Report issued June 2013
Better Business Bureau Report expires June 2014

This BBB Accredited charity meets all 20 Standards for Charity Accountability and is a Seal Holder. Find out more...

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Charity Contact Information

Name: Writers in the Schools (WITS)
Address: 1523 West Main
  Houston, TX 77006
Phone: 713-523-3877
Web Address:
Also known as:WITS
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Better Business Bureau Comments

Year, State Incorporated: 1991, Texas
Affiliates: None
Stated Purpose: Writers in the Schools is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that engages children in the pleasure and power of reading and writing.

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Evaluation Conclusions


Writers in the Schools (WITS) meets the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
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Writers in the Schools (WITS) engages children in the pleasure and power of reading and writing. Founded in 1983 through the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program, WITS employs professional writers who teach the art of writing to children and teachers in Houston. Ranked as the #1 arts education organization in Texas by the National Endowment for the Arts, WITS leads an international movement for creative education through the WITS Alliance; this consortium of 25 sister organizations indirectly benefits 100,000 children annually. The WITS program is a proven model of success with 13 years of research, demonstrating a lasting impact on student writing skills, self-esteem, standardized test scores, and creativity. WITS serves 23,000 K-12 children and teachers annually in school and community classrooms, with a special emphasis on serving at-risk and underserved students. With grant support and school fees, students receive our services free of charge. WITS professional development offers an array of opportunities for teachers to learn innovative teaching ideas, expand their teaching curriculum, and inspire their students to be better writers. WITS also engages the Houston community in literary arts through free and accessible weekly workshops, public readings, and a Poem A Day campaign during National Poetry Month. Each summer, WITS reaches 1,700 children through its renowned Creative Writing Camp with Rice University. Most recently, WITS adopted the Meta-Four Houston program incorporating spoken word workshops and performances into its operations, reaching a public audience of more than 114,000 people annually.

For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2012, Writers in the Schools (WITS)'s program expenses were:

Instructional writing program 1,320,512
Total Program Expenses: $1,320,512
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Chief Executive : Robin Reagler, Executive Director

Chair of the Board: Michael Pipkin
Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: Investment Banking

Board Size: 21

Paid Staff Size: 89

*Compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.
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Fund Raising


Method(s) Used:

direct mail, invitations to fund raising events, print advertisements, television, radio, grant proposals, internet
Fund raising costs were 24% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $470,042, are donations received as a result of fund raising activities.)
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Tax Status


This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.
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The following information is based on Writers in the Schools (WITS)'s audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2012.

Source of Funds  
Program Fees 902,630
Contributions 382,157
Special Events 87,885
Interest Income 1,067
Direct Donor Benefits -16,186
Total Income $1,357,553


Uses of Funds as a % of Total Expenses

Programs: 87%  Fund Raising: 7%  Administrative: 6% 

Total income $1,357,553
Program expenses $1,320,512
Fund raising expenses 110,777
Administrative expenses 93,875
Total expenses $1,525,164
Expenses in Excess of Income (167,611)
Beginning net assets 1,815,624
Ending net assets 1,648,013
Total liabilities 12,741
Total assets $1,660,754

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The BBB has processed no complaints about this organization in the past 36 months, our standard reporting period.

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An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

This report is not to be used for fund raising or promotional purposes.

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