Stacy Ratner

Green-haired reader, writer, aunt, and social entrepreneur for literacy.


Thirtysomething years ago, Stacy learned to read. This life-changing experience carried her through degrees in law and literature, let her help take three startup companies from idea through a combined total of $30 million in committed venture funding, and finally led to her life’s work: the transformational power of literacy. She  is honored to have received an Emerging Leader Fellowship from the Chicago Community Trust, places on NewCity’s Lit 50 and the national 40 Women To Watch Over 40 list, a Chicagoan of the Year award from Chicago Magazine, and the Social Enterprise Alliance’s Innovation award, but is most proud just to be part of the amazing things her colleagues make happen every day.
Stacy writes a novel every year, eats ice cream every day, and is always starting something.


Founder, 2006

Nonprofit social venture dedicated to transforming lives through reading, writing, and the UNLIMITED power of used books.

Currently serves 5,000 Chicago students each year through direct reading and writing programs plus tens of thousands of readers through our two award-winning bookstores and other work across the city.



Co-Founder, 2009

Nonprofit association of agencies operating in and around the city to help meet literacy needs for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Opened Literacenter, the country’s first shared nonprofit workspace devoted to literacy, in spring 2015. More than 80 organizations are now active members.



Co-Founder, 2013

For-profit venture to engage, educate, and empower young learners and their guides. Proud member of the Impact3 cohort at Impact Engine, 1871.

Currently in pilot with its first portal, Hooray Writing, which empowers K-12 students to create stories of all kinds, educators to connect those stories to academic objectives, and parents to participate in the process.