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The Literacy Council of Sarasota (LCS) receives no State, Federal, or United Way funding and relies on individual donations, grants and foundations for support. Your donation to LCS could help sponsor a class, provide valuable teaching and learner resources to our library, and do even more to advance literacy and education in the community. Consider donating today and help us to build a more literate community!

Make An Investment

You can help change lives and establish a legacy of literacy for many Sarasota County adults and their families.

Your donation to the Literacy Council of Sarasota helps provide literacy instruction to change the lives of adults who want to become self-sufficient, improve their lives as well as their families’ lives, and make a meaningful contribution to our community by improving their literacy skills.

Your financial gift supports their hard work to learn literacy-related skills that many of us take for granted: fill out a job application, improve employment skills, open a bank account, register to vote, use a computer, read to their children, or earn their GED. Your gift helps break the cycle of poverty for many held back by lack of basic literacy skills.

Please help us share the power of literacy! The Literacy Council of Sarasota is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. We depend on the generosity of your tax-deductible gift to provide the support and instruction our adult learners need to succeed.

The impact of your investment

Thirty-six million adults in the United States have low-literacy skills and read at or below a third-grade level. Forty-three percent of adults living in poverty have limited literacy skills. Historically, there has been little research to demonstrate the positive impact on adults, jobs, and future generations, as well as the return on investment that adult literacy skills programs realize.

However, research conducted by Dr. Stephen Reder provides a new opportunity to demonstrate for stakeholders the positive outcomes that adult basic skills (ABS) programs can have on an individual’s life, career, and income.

Dr. Reder’s research examined the correlation between participation in adult basic skills programs and later increases in income, literacy levels, high school equivalency attainment, post-secondary education engagement, and civic participation/voting activity.

The study findings showed a positive outcome for individuals in four of these five areas:

  1. Individuals participating in an ABS program showed a dramatic increase in income over time, especially those participating for 100 or more hours
  2. Participants were more likely to go on to obtain a high school equivalency credential, especially those participating for 100 or more hours
  3. Program participants were more likely to pursue secondary education and received more credits than nonparticipants
  4. Program participants were more likely to develop improved literacy proficiency over time, especially those participating for 100 or more hours. This research provides a strong case for an increased investment in adults and adult education. These outcomes directly impact all Americans in that they contribute to a healthy economy, increase employment, reduce public assistance, and lower health care costs.
  5. Finally, in terms of both voter participation and actual voting, the findings are similar, with ABS program participants showing more involvement and greater voting patterns than nonparticipants, although not as significant as the positive findings in the other four studies.

Dr. Reder is Professor Emeritus of Applied Linguistics at Portland State University. His research interests focus on adult literacy and language development, the role of technology in supporting lifelong learning, and the ways in which adult basic skills development contribute to reducing poverty and economic inequality. He is a member of the Literacy, Language, and Technology Research Group; the Skills Use expert group of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); and the board of directors of the National Council for Adult Learning (NCAL). Dr. Reder has also served two terms as a member of the ProLiteracy Board of Directors.

LCS’ 200+ ProLiteracy-trained volunteers have helped over 1,500 adults learners reach their goals in the last five years.