After launching several Internet startups, Stacy Ratner decided to combine her love of literature with her entrepreneurial know-how. In 2006 she started Open Books, a nonprofit that sells donated books to fund literacy programs for kids.
Since then, Ratner’s enterprise has funded literacy programs for thousands of Chicago K-12 students, offering reading help to novel writing. In 2015 she opened the Literacenter, a shared workspace in the West Loop, which is a project of the Chicago Literacy Alliance, which Ratner co-founded in 2009. In 2014 she co-founded another organization — Hooray for Learning, an online education startup.
The Literacenter includes 38,000 square feet of offices, open work areas, conference and meeting rooms.
“There needs to be a central place where these organizations know they can come together that is a safe, collaborative space,” she told BlueSky. “It’s a physical place people will see, which will bring literacy into their minds. They will find ways to get involved, and that will accelerate the rate of change.”
She has a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Brandeis University and a law degree from Boston College Law School.