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Literacy Grant Awards 2010

I’m very pleased to announce the recipients of grants totaling $10,000 as
part of Ask Leo!’s 2010 – It’s
About Helping People

The recipients of these grants were selected from your recommendations and
represent a broad cross section of literacy efforts spanning the globe.

In addition, I’m announcing an additional grant to my own community in
support of its literacy efforts.


Your Recommendations

While I’d originally envisioned 4-5 recipients taken from your suggestions, it really ended up being too hard to cull – there were so many worthy organizations. I selected 7, and added an eighth that I discovered indirectly though a reader suggestion.

As it is, I feel bad that all recommended organizations couldn’t be a recipient, but such is the nature of the selection process. If the organization you recommended is not represented here, please do not be offended or take it personally. I generally favored organizations with demonstrable success, verifiable non-profit status (at least in the U.S.), and close alignment to my literacy goals.

That being said, the recipients are:

ProLiteracy – $2,500

ProLiteracy is a nation-wide organization that advocates for literacy and supports other organizations providing literacy education throughout the United States.

Whatcom Literacy Council – $2,500

I was pleasantly surprised to find WLC among your suggestions. Whatcom County is roughly 80 miles north of Seattle, and is where my wife was born and raised. Like many communities it has both significant need and opportunity.

Literacy Council of Norristown – $1,000

LCN, in Norristown Pennsylvania, makes use of over 100 volunteers to serve about 120 adult learners, providing English as a second language (ESL) classes as well as outreach to employees in the workplace.

Family Literacy Center – $1,000

Family Literacy Center serves Lapeer Michigan, about 40 miles north of Detroit. “The Family Literacy Center [offers] programs designed to help Lapeer County families who are concerned about the level of literacy in their homes and are looking for resources to help them.”

Computer Pals for Seniors -Turramurra Inc. – $1,000

CPST, in Australia, is an example of computer literacy, specifically focused on helping seniors gain access to the incredible opportunities offered by today’s technology. Computer literacy speaks to me of course, but I have to admit that some of my most rewarding moments relate to helping some of our more senior citizens connect to family, friends and information online.

Action Read Community Literacy Centre – $1,000

Action Read, in Guelph, Ontario, Canada is a community literacy program for adults and families, and also has a drop-in computer lab for reading and writing practice.

Literacy Source – $1,000

Coming back to the Puget Sound area, Literacy Source is a nearly 25-year-old organization that focuses on English literacy and life skills in the Seattle area.

My thanks to everyone who made a recommendation.

An Additional Grant

As you may or may not know, I’m honored to be a board member of a local non-profit social service agency: Hopelink. In fact, this year is my 6th and final year on the Hopelink board.

Hopelink serves what’s referred to as “the greater eastside and north” of Seattle. If you’re out of the area, Seattle is separated from communities to the east by a long and narrow lake, spanned by two floating bridges. Communities in that “greater eastside” include cities such as Redmond, the home of Microsoft; Medina, the home of Bill Gates; as well as Bellevue, Kenmore, Carnation, Fall City, Duvall, Bothell and many others, including of course my own home town of Woodinville. “North” includes the city of Shoreline, immediately north of Seattle.

Please don’t let the implied affluence fool you – there is most definitely need.

Hopelink is most commonly thought of as the local food bank, and indeed that’s often the point of first contact with community residents in crisis. However, Hopelink’s services also include transitional housing, employment assistance, energy assistance, transportation and more.

Including both English and computer literacy.

That’s why I’ve decided to include as part of this initiative an additional grant of $10,000 to Hopelink’s Adult Education and Literacy programs.

The Need and The Opportunity

As I’ve “done” Ask Leo! for the last 7 years, three things have slowly dawned on me:

  • A broad segment of our population does not have a high enough level of English proficiency to truly prosper and succeed in our English-speaking communities.

  • Too many students are leaving or even graduating from basic education in English speaking countries with insufficient English skills to prosper and succeed in their own communities.

  • The practical reality is that an immense amount of information on the Internet is in English, and improved English skills planet-wide can only serve to enable and empower people regardless of location, station or condition.

In short: English skills matter.

English skills matter more than most people realize, and they matter more globally than most people realize.

I hope that, by example, by repetition, or by whatever means it happens, that my grants here today do more than just support a few agencies in their important work. I hope that I’ve shined a light on what I believe to be a key component of individual success and achievement in our increasingly connected world.

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8 comments on “Literacy Grant Awards 2010”

  1. Hello Leo!! Your generosity on behalf of English literacy is very kind. Just in case not enough folk seem to say so, then please let me say “Thank You”. It is a great benevolence that you make this offer and follow through with it. Noticing that your awards tend to be mostly for organizations North of the Mason-Dixon line, I am encouraged to stick around for a year or two and to try to keep in touch with the town where I grew up so I can nominate a worthwhile organization in or around Dallas TX (most especially Oak Cliff, where I mastered Yinglish) to be recognized in coming years. The [magnanimous] Sunset High School Alumni association comes to mind immediately, so I will work with its officers and directors to try to document to you that it is indeed a worthy nominee.
    Thanks & All th’ e-Best,
    Rusty Tyson, CPA (recognised and licensed by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy)
    now domiciled and regularly practicing other professions in Yinglish and about 14 more languages in and around Rochester NY and across the Internet, Planet Earth

  2. You show up many much bigger organizations by passing on your good fortune. Glad to see an Ontario literacy organization made it to your list as well. Thanx from a Canadian and an Ontarian.

  3. Leo, I’ve enjoyed your newsletter and ancillary web info sites for about a year now. Your 2010 grants have so impressed me that I intend to hop on over to your “shop” and support your effort through a purchase. Best wishes for continued success.

  4. Leo – On behalf of everyone at Whatcom Literacy Council, I want to thank you for your generous grant award. I can’t tell you how lovely it was to open up an email telling me that we had just received $2500 through our online donation button. With your help we will continue to empower adults in Whatcom County to achieve their goals and change their lives through literacy. Thank you for being a partner in this important work!
    With sincere thanks,
    Rachel Myers
    Executive Director
    Whatcom Literacy Council

  5. Leo, thank you for your generosity to these literacy organizations. I work with a couple of non-profits in Texas (Literacy Connexus and Literacy Texas) and know how difficult fundraising is.

  6. I’m so glad the organization I recommended, Family Literacy Center of Lapeer MI won (my hometown)! They so need it! Thanks Leo!

  7. I loved reading about your generous gifts that occurred in 2010, your “year of helping,” and for such great causes!! And you included a senior computer class as well… I think we often forget that inability to read at any age truly is a concern.

    Your gifts and their causes were awesome…


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