Alyssa Cares Foundation


Year Established
The Alyssa Cares Foundation was established as a 501 (c) 3 organization in 2008 by the Hemmelgarn family, one year after the loss of their nine year old daughter, Alyssa.

Service Area
We currently provide reading books to 2,500 at-risk elementary-aged children in the Denver metropolitan area, visiting them three times during the school year and allowing every child to choose a reading book at each visit. The student’s ages range from four to 11 years old. Over 90 percent participate in their school’s free and reduced lunch program, a key identifier of economic need.

Mission Statement
Our mission is to inspire and encourage the passion for literacy by putting books in the hands and homes of children in need. We hope to bring the joy of reading to children who may not have books readily available to them and, in turn, increase their potential for higher academic achievement and better life opportunities.

Reading proficiency by third grade is one of the key predictors of completing high school. Our goal is to improve the reading abilities of all the children we serve in order to reduce the likelihood of them dropping out of high school, while increasing their potential for academic and life successes. We provide reading books to every child so that they have books to read in their home.


Over the last nine years, The Alyssa Cares Foundation has given away over 60,000 reading books to children of families facing economic challenges. For many of these children, these books are the only ones they have in their homes. Along with the books, comes a message of encouragement and inspiration of the impact being a passionate reader can have on their lives.

What we have learned with children is that a book without a message or a message without a book is not very effective. But when you combine the two together – a book and a message – something special happens – minds are ignited!

For the younger children, our messaging is mostly about enthusiasm for reading – choosing a just-right book to ensure proper engagement.

For the older ones, it’s about inspiring and understanding the importance of reading. How reading can build vocabulary and knowledge, as well as open doors for them in the future – doors to higher educational achievements and job prospects.

We encourage and inspire so they may aspire and achieve!

Giving Opportunities: 

We may be a small organization, but we are making a big impact at the schools we serve. Currently, we are leveraging the generosity of individuals, corporations, and private foundations to share a little girl’s love of reading with over 2,500 at-risk children annually – encouraging and inspiring them to become life-long readers.

When you give to the Alyssa Cares Foundation, your support is helping to improve the learning potential of at-risk children, while opening doors of possibilities for them, their families and the communities they live in. An annual donation as small as $20 provides a child with three reading books of their very own to take home and practice reading.

Today’s young readers are tomorrow’s leaders. The Alyssa Cares Foundation is seeking employers looking to improve their community and the quality of their future workforce.

We offer unique opportunities for employers to not only donate funds, but also to have their employees volunteer at our school visits and interact with the children and witness first-hand the direct impact of their investment.

• Sponsor a Classroom: $500 sponsors a classroom at a school for a year.
• Sponsor a Visit: $3,500 sponsors one of our three annual visits to a school providing books to 500+/- children.
• Sponsor a School: $10,000 sponsors all three of our annual visits to a school providing three reading books to 500+/- children.

To learn more about becoming a corporate sponsor at one of our schools, contact Joe Hemmelgarn at or call us at 303-470-9836.

Book Drives and In-Kind Donations
Talk to us about having a book drive at your company. We gladly accept brand new copies of the reading books we are currently distributing to the children.

On-Line Donations
On-line donations are graciously accepted at

Board of Directors: 

Joe Hemmelgarn

Carole Hemmelgarn
Vice President

J. Alan Hurley

Janet Hurley

Advisory Board

Clancy Gill

Janet Bortot

Crystal Winter

Jane Peter

Stacy Baird

Aimee Burrow