CLiF celebrates 25 years, names Rice executive director, moves to Waterbury Center

Vermont Business Magazine The Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF), a Vermont-based nonprofit, is marking three significant milestones in April. It is celebrating 25 years of service to the children of Vermont and New Hampshire under the guidance of founding executive director Duncan McDougall. It is announcing McDougall’s retirement and the selection of Laura Rice as just the second executive director in the nonprofit organization’s history. And it is moving into a new, purpose-built headquarters in Waterbury Center.

McDougall founded the nonprofit in his garage in Waterbury Center in 1998. Since then, CLiF has grown into a regionally-recognized, award-winning organization that has provided inspiring, free literacy programs to 375,000 under-resourced young readers and writers in 430 communities across Vermont and New Hampshire and given away more than $10 million in new, high-quality books to children in shelters and low-income housing, refugee, foster, and migrant children, children in rural communities with limited resources, children of incarcerated adults, and many others.

On April 1, Laura Rice will be assuming the role of CLiF Executive Director. Rice has over 20 years of professional experience at mission-driven organizations, including the last 11 years in leadership roles at WISE, a New Hampshire-based nonprofit dedicated to ending gender-based violence in the Upper Valley. She joins CLiF already well-acquainted with the organization’s work, having previously spent six years on the board of directors, including a stint as CLiF board chair.

“I have long admired CLiF's dynamic and inclusive ways of motivating children to read and write, and I strongly believe these inspired young people will lead themselves and our communities to bright futures,” Rice commented. “I am absolutely thrilled to join the amazing CLiF team as it carries the tremendous momentum of Duncan and the past 25 years forward.”

McDougall, who five years ago announced his intent to step down as executive director on the occasion of CLiF’s 25th anniversary, said: “Laura was chosen as CLiF’s next executive director after an extensive months-long search that revealed her to be absolutely the best choice from almost 50 applicants to take our organization into its next chapter. She is committed to continuing CLiF’s mission of inspiring children across Vermont and New Hampshire to fall in love with reading and writing, and I could not be more pleased to hand over the reins to her.”

Rice takes the helm from McDougall as CLiF prepares to move to brand-new, purpose-built offices in Waterbury Center. With more than twice the square footage of CLiF’s previous headquarters, the new building is designed for greater efficiency and will enable CLiF to serve many thousands more children in coming years. The organization anticipates completing the move by April 1.

In recognition of McDougall’s countless contributions and achievements since first founding CLiF in 1998, the new headquarters will be named in his honor. A CLiF 25th anniversary celebration is planned in April.

About the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF)
CLiF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to nurture a love of reading and writing among under-resourced children up to age 12 throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. Since 1998, CLiF has supported and inspired 375,000 young readers and writers through its literacy program grants and has given away over $10 million in new, high ­quality children's books. For more information about CLiF, visit

3.17.2023. Waterbury Center, VT: The Children’s Literacy Foundation