Become A Volunteer!

Program Overview

Heart Math Tutoring (“HMT”) gives young students successful experiences in math through one-on-one, volunteer-delivered tutoring during the school day. Teachers and school leaders recommend students for the program who are performing 2-3 years below their grade level in math and may not have access to resources for private tutoring. We assesses each student to determine his/her individual instructional needs. Volunteers provide lessons at each student’s level in 30-minute tutoring sessions twice per week using Heart Math Tutoring’s structured curriculum. In addition to providing academic support, tutors act as mentors, providing encouragement that can have a positive impact on students’ confidence and enthusiasm towards academics. Since 2013, Heart Math Tutoring has served over 4,500 elementary students. 

Volunteers are effective within a commitment of one hour per week because of Heart Math Tutoring’s curriculum and staff support.


  • District-approved, Common Core-based
  • Hands-on activities
  • Internally developed, specifically for use by volunteers
  • Targets foundational number sense skills needed for success in higher-level math
  • Aligned with pre/post assessments adapted with permission from Kathy Richardson’s Assessing Math Concepts. Pre-assessments identify conceptual gaps of each individual student. Post-assessments measure student growth.

Program Coordinator 

  • Heart Math Tutoring provides a dedicated staff member to each school where it operates.
  • Trains and coordinates volunteers
  • Communicates with school staff
  • Assesses and supports student progress throughout the year
  • Supervises tutoring sessions (virtual or in-person)

School Partnership Model

  • 50 students per school, grades 1 – 5
  • Quarterly reports updating teachers and families on student progress
  • Family education events prior to Winter Holiday Break and Summer Break
  • Resources provided to help families support student learning, including take-home kits, newsletters, and a resource bank

Operating Principles

  • We hold students and all parties to high expectations.
  • HMT volunteers can be effective within a one-hour per week commitment (approximately).
  • We limit additional work created for school staff. We are here to add resources to schools, not to drain resources.
  • We execute a responsive, high-touch model to create a positive experience for everyone involved.


Heart Math Tutoring (“HMT”) was initially piloted in 2010 by volunteer members of Social Venture Partners Charlotte who knew that volunteer tutors could make a powerful impact on students falling behind if given tools and support. The group obtained guidance from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Communities In Schools to identify curriculum resources and format. Over three years, volunteers tested the model while providing tutoring for over 200 students. The original name “HEART” was an acronym for “Helping Ensure Academic Results through Tutoring.” With strong student results, positive feedback from schools and tutors, and a national need for math tutoring, Social Venture Partners (SVP) saw potential to formalize and scale the program.

Heart Math Tutoring became a standalone nonprofit in 2013 when SVP hired Emily Gaffney as executive director and established a Board of Directors. We partnered with two elementary schools to begin implementing the primary program model in existence today: a structured, targeted curriculum; dedicated on-site support from a Program Coordinator employed by HMT; and ~50 students per school in grades 1-5 receiving tutoring during the school day twice weekly.

Since 2013, the organization has grown to more than 930 students across 24 schools, thanks to school partners, more than 1,100 weekly volunteer tutors, and over $1.4M in support from the philanthropic community in the most recent year. Tutoring is free of charge to families; the program focuses enrollment on students who do not have resources to access private tutoring.

98% of more than 3,400 students tutored to date have made meaningful growth in math on program pre/post assessments, and over 90% of teachers consistently report that students are more confident and enthusiastic towards math as a result of the program.

Founding Board of Directors

Steve Beam, Barbara Bissell, Sam Bowles, Carla Hermida Clements, Michael Clifton, Anne Leggett, Emily Gaffney (ex-officio)

Founding Operations Committee

Andy Cooney, Nancy Covington, Susan Daniel, Minna Elliott, Martha Eubank, Catherine Fischer, Debbie Kemmy, Reid Leggett, Daniel Tanaka – all members of Social Venture Partners

"My students are gaining confidence in math! They are excited to see their Heart tutor and look forward to this special one-on-one time." – 1st grade teacher at Lansdowne Elementary
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