Why is Neil Cummins doing a Readathon this year?

Because it’s FUN and it directly funds vital programs and resources for Neil Cummins including instructional materials, the school library, teacher development, in-classroom reading libraries, parent education nights and so much more!

When is the Readathon?

The Readathon is Wednesday, January 25, 2023. Please mark your calendar!

Where does the money I raise go?

The Readathon is the primary fundraiser for the PTO, providing about 50% of the annual PTO budget. All donations collected for this event will go to support Neil Cummins Elementary School in this school year. Our goal is to raise $65,000 to help pay for teacher classroom supplies and instructional materials, professional development for teachers, school events, additional library books, parent education events, campus improvements, Ecology & Campus Beautification, Hawks’ Garden, and more. We’re especially pleased to announce that PTO also funds Alan Scofield Storytelling Program, Alan Scofield Miwok Connections and Dance Program, and Joni DeGabriele Musical Moments and Social Emotional Learning Program. For more information about these programs:

How can I help with the Readathon?

Help your child by ensuring they have time to fundraise – help them make a short video to send out, help them to make the time for phone calls or emails to friends and family. We have some communication tips on our How It Works page.

You can also help your child build a bag of books to read on Readathon day. Visit the library – school and public – and stock up on just the right books that will keep your child engaged throughout the day. Help your child label his/her personal books before bringing them to school.

My child is a slow reader, is there support for him/her?

Yes! All the usual support is available at school. Your child’s teacher is aware of your child’s ability and will ensure that he/she is included and supported throughout the day.

I think my child will be bored reading. What other activities are planned?

The Readathon team is working with every teacher at every grade level to make the day fun and exciting! In addition to reading, we have incredible guest authors to enrich the day.  There will be lots of activities including word games, making bookmarks, and age-appropriate sessions with local authors.

What if my child is absent the day of the Readathon?

We encourage your child to read even if they miss the actual Readathon day in school. If they are sick, read to them or let them read on their own time when they feel up to it. If you are traveling, bring a book – or two or three – with you so they can get their minutes in. Unfortunately there are no in school makeup days for the Readathon.

What if my child cannot get donations or I cannot afford to donate?

The PTO is very sensitive to the fact that not everyone can or will ask for donations. What is most important is that all students participate in the Readathon process even if they do not collect donations. Please contact your teacher if your child is having trouble getting donations. Your teacher will help your child to connect him/her with an “angel donor” from the PTO if needed.

Does reading outside the classroom count toward minutes read?

Only reading in school on January 25 will be counted toward the Readathon fundraiser. Families do not need to track minutes read at home for this fundraiser. We encourage all families to carve out time to read daily with their child. Sharing the gift of reading with your child is a fun and lifelong pursuit.


What is 99Pledges and why do we partner with them?

99Pledges is a website that helps many schools and community organizations to collect donations for their fundraising events. We like working with 99Pledges because it helps students reach a broader audience but removes the need for them to handle money. Students receive a custom link to their personal web page, which can be shared with friends and family to request donations.

What info does 99Pledges have about my student and what if I want to opt-out?

99Pledges will receive your child’s name, class, grade, and a family email address, but all information is confidential and will NOT be shared. There is a strict policy not to sell or distribute this information, or contact anyone beyond the scope of the Readathon. Cash donations collected are also entered and tracked online so we have a complete picture of the results of the event. Click here for more information about 99Pledges privacy policy. If you would like to opt out of participating in the Readathon, please email ncreadathon@gmail.com.

What is the suggested donation amount?

While there is no suggested amount, we are hopeful that each student will do the best they can to raise as much money as they can for our school. Based on the $65,000 fundraising goal, we are hoping for each student to raise about $150.

Why is there an individual goal and can I change it?

Our emphasis is on participation and not on a set dollar amount to raise. Keep in mind that the Readathon is a fundraiser, and that the individual goal simply reflects the average fundraising amount per student that will help us reach our overall school goal (less fees and expenses). The goals are a standard feature of the 99Pledges website, and cannot be eliminated or changed for individual participants. Please express to your children that this goal is simply a guideline and it was automatically calculated for each student.

Why is 99Pledges collecting a tip?

99Pledges is offering the option to tip on their platform for every donation made. This tip goes to 99Pledges to offset the costs of running their site and NOT to Neil Cummins. 99 Pledges charges 2.9% + 30 cents/transaction. If you’d like to tip, do so at your discretion and knowing the tip money goes to 99Pledges for platform enhancements and improvements. Spread the word to family, friends, neighbors, etc.

Can I customize my child’s participant page?

Unfortunately, the participant pages cannot be customized. However, we recommend that parents work with their children to compose personal emails to friends and family that include links to their personal fundraising web pages and express their personal fundraising goals. A phone call or visit to family and friends, followed by an email, is a great strategy that creates a more personalized approach while still taking advantage of the simplicity of donating via the website.

Are my online payments secure?

Yes, the site is encrypted.  You should be able to see it at the top of the browser.  All traffic gets redirected from “http://” to “https://”, which encrypts it using SSL (same technology that banks use). Further, you can see lock icons on donation pages.

Is my donation tax-free?

Yes! The Neil Cummins PTO is a registered Section 501(c)3 nonprofit and donations qualify as a charitable deduction for federal income tax purposes. (Tax ID#36-4781717)

How can I track my child’s class donations and participation percentage?

Due to feedback from previous years and our overall goal of participation – our team chose to turn off online tracking of class participation percentages. The Readathon team will run a report and send the total donations and participation percentage of each class to every teacher on a regular basis. Please note that envelope donations must be manually entered by Readathon team members, so there will be a lag time between the date you submit your envelope to the office and when those donations appear on your child’s fundraising webpage.

Can my child still collect donations the old-fashioned way? (Door-to-door)

Yes, but we prefer all donations to happen online. If your child does not have computer access or prefers to personally solicit donations, they will still have the traditional envelope option. Download and print our pledge sheet to begin cash or check collection. Please note that students must submit their envelope donations by February 10, 2023 to be counted online toward their class totals. Completed pledge sheets and envelopes should be turned into the office.


How is the winning classroom determined?

There will be ONE winning classroom for the Readathon, but no individual winners. The class with 100% participation and the highest dollar amount will receive a special class trophy and something special for their classroom.

* Please note that 100% participation means that each student in the class has at least one donation, regardless of donation amount.

What is the giveaway this year?

Readathon totes are back and will be given to every student at Neil Cummins. It’s the perfect environmentally friendly way to bring books to school – and can be used over and over again! Take it to a sleepover, to soccer practice, to basketball, to chess and to the market. Show pride for Neil Cummins and help get to our school goal of zero waste.

My child lost his/her Readathon tote. Can I get a replacement?

Yes! Replacement totes are available for $10.  All money supports the Neil Cummins PTO. Contact ncreadathon@gmail.com for a replacement.


Who is on the Readathon team?

The Readathon team is comprised of a few parent volunteers. The team includes:

    • Lisl Dupree, mom to Scott (1st) and 4-year old daughter
    • Ashley Eklund, mom to George (1st), 4-year old daughter, and 2-year old daughter
    • Stephanie Jackson, mom to Oliver (1st), 5-year old daughter, and 2-year old son
    • Katherine Matso, mom to Bennett (5th) and Elise (4th)
    • Anne-Marie Tasto, mom to Monica (1st), Joe (K), and 3-year old daughter
    • Sophie Walsh, mom to Charlize (3rd) and Donovan (1st)

We feel fortunate to be working together for a great cause.

Additional questions?

Email the Readathon team! Our email address is ncreadathon@gmail.com.