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Ready to Learn

Raised toward our $12,000 Goal
125 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on August 22, at 12:00 AM EDT
Project Owners

Thank you!

August 24, 2015

Hi, everyone.

So the campaign wrapped up last Friday, and while we're sure a few of you might have RTL e-mail fatigue by now, we'd be remiss if we didn't take this opportunity to express to you our gratitude for helping make it an outstanding success. We're thrilled that so many feel as passionately as we do that mentoring can make a substantive difference in people's lives, and we're eternally grateful for your participation. 

Thank you.

The CUE Team

Only 12 hours left!

August 21, 2015

If you decided you were going to wait until the last minute to make a donation to Ready to Learn, now is that minute!* Help us make one last push toward our goal!

- Matt and the CUE Crew


*The last minute, in this instance, consists of roughly 720 minutes. If you waited until the actual last minute, you'd almost certainly risk unexpected complications such as server timeout, equipment malfunction or bear attack. 

Good news!

August 18, 2015

The folks upstairs* are so pleased with how the campaign has progressed that they've decided to extend our deadline to the end of the week!

You've read a lot from us the last couple of weeks about what makes this program so important, but this campaign and the project it supports isn't about us -- it's about the students. Here are just a few quotes from high school students who have benefitted as Ready to Learn mentees:

"I believe that the tutoring from the program will be a motivational push toward me attending college."

"I’m really trying to achieve all of my goals to go to college and to fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse."

"This program will help me realize what areas I need to focus on. The earlier I get help the better I will be in the future."

"It'll keep me focused and out of trouble."

"The program seems to give me an opportunity to grow academically and socially with tutors as well as students."

"This program will help me perfect my skills so I can be able to go to college to become whatever I decide. I feel that this is a chance to build new relationships by meeting new people and to better my life."

We have until Friday to reach our goal, which will make this program entirely sustainable. Until then...

Click. Donate. Share.

- Matt and the CUE Team


*Technically, they're not upstairs so much as they're in another building, but you get the point.

It's crunch time, people!

August 17, 2015

We're over 50 percent after a stellar weekend, but now our backs are to the wall and we're down to our last three days!

If you've been thinking about giving but haven't yet, now's absolutely the time. And to further entice you, we're thrilled to roll out this series of exciting rewards!*

If you give $25 between now and the end of the campaign, CUE Media Arts Director Matt Wein will compile and send you a list of links to his favorite YouTube videos.

Anyone who gives $50 between now and the end of the campaign will get a pair of reserved seats to the fall installment of CUE's lecture series, featuring Dr. Russell Skiba, on October 22nd!**

A gift of $100 will earn you the opportunity to play catch at Mazeroski Field with Matt and/or CUE Graduate Associate Adam Alvarez during their lunch hour.***

A donation of $200 will earn you the opportunity to go on a 60-second shopping spree inside the CUE office supply closet -- we have some great stuff in there!****

As reward for a gift of $500, one of the CUE interns will come to your house and mow your lawn.****

To show our gratitude for a donation of $1,000, we'll immortalize your generosity on the prestigious CUE Wall of Bricks with a personalized brick.#

As always, every little bit helps, and if you're able to share the link to our campaign with your family and friends on social media without doing irreparable damage to your "net red," we strongly hope you'll consider spreading it around. Home stretch, folks! Help us get there!


- Matt and the CUE Team


Click. Donate. Share.





*Though knowing you're making a difference in the lives of children should be reward enough, itself.

**Event is free and open to the public, but we will save you really good seats.

***Date to be agreed upon at completion of campaign. Donor must supply own baseball glove.

****Actually, we need all of that stuff, and it's technically not ours to give away. But there is a healthy collection of cans of Sierra Mist, and we could totally let you have one or two.

*****Offer not valid, since we technically can't make our interns do this.^

#The CUE Wall of Bricks consists of the space on the wall to the right of Matt's desk. Bricks are hand-crafted from recycled paper using only the finest scissors and affixed to the wall with scotch tape. Once affixed, you may visit your brick on the CUE Wall of Bricks by appointment only.

^Also, I'm not even sure if we have any interns. And you may or may not have a lawn, so it all works out.

Fostering our celebrity fanbase

August 12, 2015

The Monday evening happy hour was, by any measure, a great success. We're still waiting to learn how much money we raised, but the turnout was fantastic and included a certain local filmmaker, seen here with CUE Director Rich Milner and me.*

If Rick Sebak can find the time to support Ready to Learn, you, old friend, are out of passable excuses.**

We're 45 percent funded right now with eight days to go, and we think we can get to 70 percent by Sunday. Help us get there by making a donation today and sharing our cause with your like-minded family and friends.

Click. Donate. Share. (

- Matt and the CUE Team




*This photo is not doctored. I don't even have that technology.

**Everyone says they're busy. Some people are. Others like to say they are, but only because it's in fashion. With the possible exception of the other guy in that photo,*** Rick Sebak is the busiest person I know, and he took the time to join us and support RTL, because that's the kind of thing you do when you're a local treasure. Don't you want to be a local treasure? You can start by supporting mentoring and donating to RTL: See what I did there?

***I'm talking about Dr. Milner, not myself. Doc's way busier than I am. I could have just clarified this by cleaning up the sentence structure, but that would have deprived you of a third footnote experience.****

****Footnote Experience is the name of a band I'm forming with Chuck Klosterman and two other guys who are really into David Foster Wallace.

Almost halfway there

August 10, 2015

Slow and steady wins the race, says that vaunted fable of Aesop in which two egomaniacal, talking animals metaphorically high-step their respective ways toward the finish line of a race lacking any meaningful implications.

Getting Ready to Learn funded, though, is not a marathon. We're entering the home stretch of the campaign and we've got just over halfway to go toward our goal, so we're in full-on sprint mode.

If you're in Pittsburgh, come out, have a beer and meet the team at our Happy Hour/Fundraiser tonight at the Independent Brewing Company in Squirrel Hill at 5 p.m. A dollar from each beer sold goes toward the campaign!

Whether you can make it out or not, please consider making a donation and sharing the link to help us spread the word about what we're trying to accomplish with Ready to Learn. Education is the most important tool we have in the fights against poverty and racism, and mentoring is an integral part of that tool. 

Thanks to everyone who's donated and shared so far. Let's turn it up and make this happen!

- Matt and the CUE Crew

The hour of happiness

August 05, 2015

Happy Wednesday!

What’s happy about it, you ask? Well, we’ve made incredible progress since the last update. A week ago, the Ready to Learn campaign was just crossing the 25 percent mark. As I write this, we’re closing fast on 40 percent with just about two weeks to go. That’s fantastic progress!

Some crowdfunding campaigns would be thrilled with 40 percent. Some, when they get even the slightest whiff of 45 percent will go home, kick up their feet and spend the remainder of their time watching reruns of “Seinfeld” on Netflix.*

Not us, though. We’re just getting started.

With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve teamed up with our friends at the Independent Brewing Company in Squirrel Hill to host a special Ready to Learn Happy Hour Fundraiser next Monday, August 10 at 5 p.m.

If you’ve never been to The Independent, now’s a great time to familiarize yourself. They maintain an extensive selection of craft beers on tap, all of which come from small breweries within a 150-mile radius of Pittsburgh. On top of that, they serve some of Pittsburgh’s best pub food (including vegetarian and vegan options) from one of the area’s finest scratch, local kitchens.**

Best of all, The Independent has agreed to donate one dollar from every beer sold on Monday toward helping us reach our goal! So whether you’ve donated yet or not, come out on Monday and have a brew with the CUE Crew to show your support for Ready to Learn.

Check out the event’s Facebook page and feel free to invite your friends. It’s going to be a great time for a great cause. In the meantime, you can still donate to the campaign and share the link. Everything you do to help us spread the word makes a huge difference.

Here’s the link:

We hope to see you Monday!  

- Matt and the CUE Crew



*In all fairness, we might also do this, but not before we reach our goal.

**The mac & cheese is particularly delicious. Get it with pulled pork and hot peppers.

We’re getting there…Please spread the word!

July 20, 2015

I am so excited to report that—with your generous contributions—we have raised over $2,000 so far for Ready to Learn! THANK YOU! This allows us to pay the salary of one Pitt student mentor for a semester and serve 3-4 more high school students!

We still have 1 month left to reach our $12,000 goal.

Please help us to move our fundraising efforts forward by spreading the word! Post our project link ( to your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, and feel free to send out emails to encourage your family, friends, and colleagues to contribute. 

Every dollar helps to support the continuation of Ready to Learn.


Thank you! 


(on behalf of the CUE team)

25 percent and counting!

July 30, 2015

We've crossed the 25 percent threshold! Thanks to everyone who's donated so far and helped spread the word. More than $3,200 from 47 donors is awe-inspiring.

Nobody accomplishes anything alone. That's what mentoring is all about and why what we're trying to accomplish with Ready to Learn is so important.

Today is July 30th, and that means two things: 1. We have 21 days left to meet our goal. 2. It's blues legend Buddy Guy's birthday.

In addition to being one of the most talented and innovative guitarists on the planet, Buddy Guy is a pretty important figure in American music. Without him, Jimi Hendrix wouldn't have been Jimi Hendrix. Eric Clapton wouldn't have become Eric Clapton. Jimmy Page wouldn't have been so steeped in blues tradition, causing Led Zeppelin to sound entirely different. These guitarists all took cues from Buddy Guy. Even today, Guy actively mentors a 16-year-old guitarist named Quinn Sullivan. The two have been playing together since Sullivan was seven years old.

And as he celebrates his 78th birthday today, perhaps pausing to reflect on a music career of nearly 62 years, you can bet Buddy Guy is thinking about his mentor, Muddy Waters.

Think about that and help us spread the word. Share this link ( with with your family, friends and colleagues through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace (is that still a thing?) Ello (I'm pretty sure that's still a thing), or any other platform of your choosing. Only 21 days left!

Choose a giving level


Level 1

Your support at this level brings us closer to making Ready to Learn a sustainable program. Thank you!


Level 2

Your support at this level will fund materials for a Ready to Learn Pitt Tutor to use in working with his/her mentee, this includes art supplies, writing and curricular materials.


Level 3

Your support at this level will pay for a semester of books and materials for one Ready to Learn Pitt Tutor.


Level 4

Your support at this level will pay for a full year of books and materials for one Ready to Learn Pitt Tutor.


Level 5

Your support at this level will fund an on-campus event for the Ready to Learn Tutors, the high school students, and their families.


Level 6

Your support at this level will pay for an off-campus learning experience (such as a museum) for the Pitt Tutors and their high school mentees.


Level 7

Your support at this level will pay for a semester of salary for a Ready to Learn Pitt Tutor and allow the program to serve 3-4 more high school students.

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