“Giving the gift of literacy” was a goal Betty Wright and her late husband Frank Wright had in mind when they established The Frank and Betty Wright Foundation. In 1979, a children’s literacy program called Wright to Read (WTR) was established. What began as a pilot program with just three volunteer tutors working with three students has grown into three programs, which serves over 150 students and involves over 150 volunteer tutors! Now celebrating 25 years of service to the children of the City of Alexandria Public Schools, Mrs. Wright’s dream continues to be a huge success.
A resident of Old Town since 1953, Mrs. Wright has made outstanding contributions to the community through her leadership and commitment to philanthropy efforts. In 1962 Betty Wright became the Executive Director of what was then the Alexandria YWCA and later became the Alexandria Community Y. While director of the YWCA, Mrs. Wright hired Elizabeth Ann Campagna as director of programs. In 1990, the community Y was renamed the Campagna Center, in honor of Mrs. Campagna, who was one of the first people invited to join the board of the foundation.
Today, the Wright to Read office is administered and located in The Campagna Center and has been fully funded by the Frank and Betty Wright foundation for the last 25 years. Mrs. Wright continues to be an active participant and volunteers her time in the entire Wright to Read programs, which has grown tremendously over the years. With the help of dedicated tutors, who become friends and mentors to their students, Wright to Read strives to teach children to read – one child at a time.
In addition to her continued commitment and love of children and literacy, Mrs. Wright provided the funds for a reading garden at the Charles E. Beatley Jr. Library in the year 2000. Enjoyed by thousands of Alexandrians, the reading garden is an inspiration and gift of love from Betty Wright. Mrs. Wright ahs generously donated American furniture and paintings to the Smithsonian’s State Department for their reception room and donated a portrait of Dr. Brown and funds for restoration to the Alexandria Art Museum. She is also a long time member and contributor of the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum.
It is hard to put on paper the many contributions of this wonderful woman. She is an inspiration to everyone who comes in contact with her – a community hero and true philanthropist. The Wright to Read program is grateful for her vision and commitment to giving the gift of literacy to the children of Alexandria.