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Review for ProLiteracy , Syracuse, NY, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I am a longtime (20+ year) supporter of this organization. ProLiteracy is an incredibly worthwhile charity which deserves to be far better known. It's the largest organization of community-based literacy providers in the world. In the US it has affiliates in all 50 states and serves adults and older youth who are learners at the lowest levels of literacy. There are 30 MILLION adults in this country at the very lowest levels of literacy -- many of whom are graduates of our school system (remember that phenomenon of 'social promotion?'). ProLiteracy affiliates also teach English to speakers of other languages, many of whom aren't literate in their mother tongue. Services are provided by trained volunteers in one-on-one and small group settings, and are always free to learners. The organization receives the bulk of its financial support from individual donors. I have seen firsthand the profound impact this organization has on peoples' lives, and adult illiteracy is a massive problem in our country which underpins so many of our most challenging societal problems (crime, a permanent'underclass' of disadvantaged persons, etc). Helping ProLiteracy to address the huge challenge of adult illiteracy couldn't be a better decision on your part. The organization is focused and passionate about its mission, well-run and very much in need of new donors.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have met many recipients of service (ie adult learners) over the years, from ProLiteracy affiliates in the US as well as numerous of its international partner programs.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Focus on building greater public awareness of the huge probem of adult illiteracy in America. The organization is doing this now and gaining a higher profile in Washington under the leadership of its new CEO who was recruited in 2007.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Being part of 'teaching people to fish.' This organization builds lifelong capability and independence in its learners. Learning to read is recidivism, unlike so many other issues.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Incredibly passionate about the issue of adult illiteracy, in America and around the world. Many who have devoted decades to this cause and this organization, but supplemented by newer, energetic and equally passionate people.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Put the issue of adult illiteracy on the map in America, and marshall resources across the country -- public and private -- to make a meaningful difference in addressing the problem.

Ways to make it better...

We had more resources to have even greater impact.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Lack of public awareness. Inadequate funding. Acute, and growing, shortage of volunteers to tutor. Almost every program has waiting lists of students because we don't have enough tutors.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Current management team is dynamic and making many important changes at the organization to maximize its impact with the resources we do have.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Donor & Multi-year donor and board member.