The Detroit News calls Pamela Good a “foot soldier of Hope.” Pamela is a founder of Beyond Basics, a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to fighting illiteracy among children. Though others have called her a hero, she sees herself as just doing what needs to be done to help schoolchildren.
As President and Executive Director of Beyond Basics, her passion comes through in everything she does – whether it’s inspiring staff and thousands of volunteers, addressing administrators in the governor’s office, or speaking to the media. Pamela was born in San Rafael, California and grew up in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
She has always been an entrepreneur at heart. At 19, while still in college, she started her first business, Farmington Computer Services, which specialized in client company payroll and the production of financial statements for Certified Public Accountants. She sold the company to her business partner and went to work at a CPA firm, checking tax returns and payroll. Subsequently, she moved to information-technology provider EDS, where she worked on the General Motors account. For ten years, she persevered in her college education, taking classes at night, pursuing her degree in psychology with a minor in business from the University of Michigan.
A visit to an inner-city school changed Pamela’s life. In 1999, she volunteered to help out with a coat drive that would benefit students attending a Detroit public school. During this time, her eyes were opened to the vast deficiencies in public education. She began running enrichment activities that led to her creating Beyond Basics with her friend Dr. Joanne Wagerson. As the organization began to grow and students showed marked improvement in their literacy levels, Pamela incorporated Beyond Basics as a nonprofit in 2002. Under Pamela’s leadership, Beyond Basics uses a curriculum developed by distinguished educator and literacy advocate Steve Tattum.
Beyond Basic’s Read to Rise programs provide one-on-one tutoring and small group “reading readiness” for students at low-performing schools to help them learn to read at or above grade level in just six weeks. Every year, Beyond Basics reaches thousands of under served children in Detroit and the Metropolitan area. In addition to its core reading programs, Beyond Basics also provides students with an array of literacy enrichment programs that provide tools for future success by cultivating curiosity and a love of learning.
As the Michigan Chronicle states, “Beyond Basics has found a way to break the cycle of illiteracy and give disadvantaged children opportunities to change the destinies that have been mapped out for them by poverty, violence, and other factors.”
Pamela and Beyond Basics have been profiled on Dateline, ABC affiliate WXYZ, Fox 2 News (Detroit), Comcast Newsmakers, Black Public Media, Fifty Plus Prime, The John Prost Show, and in The Michigan Chronicle, dBusiness, and The Detroit News. She was named “One of Five Incredible People Remaking Detroit” by Forbes.com. Pamela Good has also been involved in the 2013 Michigan Department of Education Critical Friends Workgroup. In April 2015, best-selling author and radio host Mitch Albom interviewed her on his popular show on WJR and praised Beyond Basics for its “great approach” to conquering illiteracy. In addition, Pamela contributed an essay about Beyond Basics to the popular book, 65 Things to Do When You Retire (Sellers Publishing, 2012), which the Wall Street Journal named “[one] of the year’s best guides to later life.”