From Story County Reads to National Campaign

Malai Amfahr, Story County Reads Director at United Way of Story County (UWSC), has moved on to become a Senior Program Officer of Constituency Outreach and Engagement with the National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Amfahr worked with United Way for four short years, spearheading the local Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) on a countywide level.

In Amfahr’s time with UWSC, Story County Reads, the local CGLR chapter, was often noticed as a Bright Spots community – highlighting programs using innovative and promising strategies to help children from families with low-incomes, read at grade level. Story County Reads has also been awarded the Pacesetter award for the past eight consecutive years. Ralph Smith, director of CGLR, calls Pacesetter communities “mobilized communities that are essential to ensuring school success.”

As a representative of UWSC, Amfahr also spoke at GLR Week 2020, presented on national webinars for the Campaign, was a keynote speaker for the Campaign’s Crucible of Practice series last year, joined the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation HealthConnect Fellowship in 2019, and more. Amfahr has also facilitated workshops and presentations for Iowa Afterschool Alliance, Early Childhood Iowa and Iowa State University. Her accomplishments are many and it’s no surprise that her talents were sought out for the benefit of the national Campaign.

Jean Kresse, president and CEO of UWSC shares, “Malai helped strengthen the collective work of our partners to ensure children and families were given the supports they needed. This translated into children being ready for school. Her work with our partners also strengthened the summer enrichment programs in multiple communities. Having every child in Story County read at or above grade level by the time they complete third grade, wasn’t just a goal of the CGLR – it was her goal for Story County.  She has a passion for the work and fortunately for all of us her work will continue on a national level 

The Story County Reads coalition will continue to push the needle forward in working for education and literacy advancements in our community. A new coordinating position will soon head the collaboration and work alongside our 20+ Story County Reads partners to ensure every child can read by the end of 3rd grade.


Malai Amfahr            GLR logo