Timeline of VLF Events

Image of the number increase inf adullt students who received literacy instruction in VLF funded programs, from 1,400 in 1987 to 7,098 in 2017

1986: Jeannie P. Baliles founded the Virginia Literacy Foundation

1987: Virginia Literacy Initiative, a public/private partnership between the VLF and the State Adult Literacy Committee, is established.

1989: First Lady Barbara Bush attended a Literacy Conference that celebrated the accomplishments of Virginia’s literacy programs and supporters through the newly formed Jeannie P. Baliles awards. From 1989 to 2009, these awards totaled over $119,000.

1990-1993: Through the efforts of the Virginia Literacy Initiative, the level of state funding was maintained for adult literacy education. The partnership included technical assistance to literacy programs provided through the Literacy Training Office (now the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center) and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Family literacy has always been important to the VLF

Innovative and award winning family literacy programs

1991: The Foundation received a three-year Toyota Family Literacy Grant in which 120 families participated. Partners included Richmond Public Schools, the Richmond Public Library, and Richmond Department of Social Services.

1992: The Virginia Literacy Initiative funded a two-year fellowship at the University of Virginia that investigated the effectiveness of instructional methodologies in adult literacy education.

1993: The newly legislated Virginia Advisory Council for Adult Education and Literacy replaced the State Adult Literacy Committee as the public sector representative in the Virginia Literacy Initiative.

Image of a male and female, both in construction, working on the job.

Literacy instruction to improve Virginia’s workforce

1998: The VLF partnered with James Madison University to develop the Workforce Improvement Network (WIN).

1998: Virginia’s First Lady Roxane Gilmore joined Mrs. Baliles as co-chair of the Board.

1999: The Virginia Literacy Leadership Council successfully lobbies for $400,000 in state funds that support community-based organizations. 1999: The Literacy Support Center was formed with regional coordinators who provided technical support and training advice to their region’s programs.

2000: The first “A Celebration of Words” isheld with former President Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush in attendance.

2000: The Workforce Improvement Network surveys Virginia employers about workplace-based foundational basic skills.

2001: First Program Improvement Institute is implemented with six literacy programs across the state. Staff and board members attend four institutes and work on a program improvement goal in this two-year effort.

VCU School of Education image of Oliver Hall

VCU School of Education

2002: The Virginia Literacy Foundation forms a partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University to create The Literacy Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University.

2003: Literacy Specialist at the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center now coordinates all training and technical advice from a centralized location.

2003: In the Governor’s PASS Initiative, the Virginia Literacy Foundation overees a support program in eight federally sanctioned schools to meet the unique needs of high-poverty children. The Take Home Reading Program built vocabulary background knowledge for later comprehension.

2003: The Northern Virginia Program Improvement initiative, a two-year effort with five northern Virginia programs begins.

2004 – 2007: In partnership with the VLF and Verizon, member literacy organization of the Virginia Literacy Leadership Council embarked on a three-year development of the QuAL-D database that improves the quality and consistency of data reporting.

2005: The third Program Improvement Initiative begins with 17 programs. Centered on quality data, setting policies on data collection, using data for program management and outreach, and training data specialists, the programs implement good data gathering techniques.

2005: The second “A Celebration of Words” is held at The Governor’s Mansion, with former First Lady Barbara Bush in attendance.

Image of a tutor and student discussing an assignment

Image from the online tutor training

2005 – 2008: The development of a 14-hour online tutor training and 30-hour online train the trainer workshops for Virginia’s literacy program volunteers and staff, with support from Verizon and Interface Media Group, allows programs to offer training any time, any where.

2008: Excellence in Children’s Early Language and Literacy (ExCELL), formerly Northside Reading Foundations (NoRF), brings together families, early childhood educators, community resources, and early literacy specialists with the goal of ensuring that children receive the learning opportunities (at home, at preschool, and in the community) necessary to develop critical early language and literacy skills known to predict later reading success.

A logo of ExCELL, which stands for Excellence in Children's Early Language and Literacy

Today the ExCELL program provides training and support to over 100 classrooms and 200 teachers/educators and over 2,200 families and children.

2008: The Jiranek family donates funds to the VLF to oversee the annual Nancy Jiranek Award for Outstanding Executive Director of a Literacy Program in Virginia.

2009 to 2017: The VLF sponsors an annual conference at the end of February in Richmond for all of Virginia’s community-based literacy organizations.

2012-2015: The VIP Initiative, funded by the Verizon Foundation, Wish You Well Foundation, and Paul M. Angell Family Foundation begins with eight literacy programs across under served areas of Virginia in Cohort One (2012-2014) and 7 additional programs in Cohort 2 (2013-2015) to teach workplace soft skills with PIVA Pathways, a new curriculum designed for low literate adults. Programs taught the first two modules, Communication and Safety in the Workplace during this initiative.

PluggedInVA Pathways logo

2015-2017: The Paul M. Angell Family Foundation and the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center combine resources with the VLF to fund a new program improvement initiative to help community-based adult literacy programs teach the top six professional job skills to low level literate adults who are seeking employment or looking for better employment.

2017-18: The VLF board and staff, in discussion with other adult education professional development proponents, realized that presenting a joint conference with a statewide organization like VAACE (Virginia Association for Adult Continuing Education) would increase CBLO staff with opportunities to

  • attend a wider variety of workshops designed for professional staff,
  • meet and network with public adult education groups from all regions of the state, and
  • begin the process of strategically partnering with regional community, business, and literacy programs to increase their capacity to serve more students while streamlining resources.

Consequently, beginning in 2017 with a two-year commitment, the VLF co-presented a joint VAACE/VLF conference in the fall of 2017 and 2019.

2018-2020: The Paul M. Angell Family Foundation grants funds to support the Pathways to Parents as Partners (3P) project for ExCELL to impement the P3 project, a two-generational family learning project, at Summer Hill Preschool Center in Richmond, VA. Partners include the National Center for Families Learning and Richmond Public Schools.

2019 AE&L Conference: The VLF’s 35+ year collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education Office of Adult Education and Literacy Virginia Adult Learning Resource led the VLF to naturally agree to co-sponsor the annual Adult Education and Literacy (AE&L) conference in Roanoke.

Upside down pyramid showing the itotal number of participants in year 1 - 66, by year 5 - over 390, and in a decade - over 1,000