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Funding Focus(Please note the changes in funding priority)

Virginia Literacy Foundation grants target organizations that provide literacy and numeracy services to adults 18 years and older.

Programs are encouraged to actively seek a match for their grants and describe how they will do so. No less than 80% of the VLF grant should be matched in this way. In-kind contributions, current funds, and the value of volunteer time may be used to describe 20% of the match. (Note: this is a change from previous years.) The VLF will place a document about matching VLF funds on its website:

Activities eligible for funding are:

  1. Literacy instruction and services to adults, including teaching basic literacy, pre-GED, GED, ESOL, and numeracy skills
  2. Recruitment and retention
  3. Board development and staff development
  4. Strategic planning
  5. Instructing literacy and numeracy skills to parents in family literacy programs (teaching adults to read to children, for example)
  6. Using technology to teach literacy skills (creating online homework assignments and writing emails, or taking distance learning courses such as GED Connection, for example)
  7. Community awareness, outreach, and marketing (includes web development)
  8. Strengthening or initiating collaborative efforts
  9. Increasing program capacity
  10. Data collection and management
  11. Salaries related to the grant project
  12. Tailoring established, scientifically-based research on teaching approaches, curriculum and tutor training techniques to program needs
  13. Implementing standardized pre- and post-tests to measure student progress.

Activities not eligible for funding are:

  1. Wholesale purchase and distribution of childrens’ books and/or handing out free giveaways. (Your program must provide literacy instruction to parents – handing out books does not fall under this category.)
  2. Classes that teach individuals how to use the computer. (Using the computer as a resource to deliver literacy instruction or learn essential job skills while they are becoming familiar with computers is allowed.)
  3. Family literacy activities that involve only children. Parents and adult literacy are the focus.
  4. Developing new curriculum. Adapting current curriculum that is based on best practices is allowed.
  5. Out-of-state travel.
  6. Parties or celebratory events.
  7. Purchasing accounting or legal services.

In order of importance, the VLF’s focus is on projects* that:

  1. are workforce and career pathways oriented.
  2. improve and strengthen student retention.
  3. incorporate 21st century technology in instruction.
  4. are outcome-based and rely on evaluation instruments that reliably pre- and post-test students for progress.
  5. seek close and integrated collaborations with regional adult education programs, community colleges, and agencies with similar missions to increase the community's capacity to serve low-level adult learners.
  6. strengthen current services or introduction of new services based on community need and internal data analysis, ie., use data and strategic planning to drive program improvement.
  7. align student lessons to College Career Readiness Standards.
  8. incorporates social media and a variety of technology resources in outreach and marketing.
  9. offer family literacy services with
    1. integrated literacy instruction to parents/caretakers of children,
    2. meaningful collaborations with current family literacy programs,
    3. added components to current program offerings that improve parents’ literacy skills and target parents of at-risk children
  10. explore innovative ways to recruit, train, and retain volunteers, following a best practices model.

*The term project may be defined loosely. You may choose to improve specific program components, such as recruitment or fund development activities, or to start new program components. Or you may choose to fund a salaried position that is crucial to a particular program or project in your organization. If this is the case, then your grant focus should be on the salaried position, the need for the position, and how this position advances the project. The activities you describe will then be related to the salaried position, not to the project itself. If you have any questions about activities that are eligible for funding or how to write for a salaried position, please contact Victoire Gerkens Sanborn at 800-237-0178 or

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