Funding Focus

FUNDING FOCUS: (Note the changes in funding priorities)

Virginia Literacy Foundation grants target organizations that provide literacy, ESOL, Workplace, Technology, and numeracy services to adults 18 years and older for a minimum of 12 hours per year.

ALL VLF GRANTS ARE MATCHING GRANTS. Programs are asked to actively seek a
NEW match for their grants. A matching grant should NOT be monies that programs have relied on for years. They should be new revenue streams for 80 % of

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.)

A document about matching VLF funds is available at this link: Active Grant Matching-2019-Final

Activities eligible for funding:

1. Collaborative efforts with local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) and One-Stop
partners, local regional public adult basic education programs, local businesses, post secondary education programs, local businesses, and apprenticeship programs that teach workforce skills for collective impact.

2. One-on-one or small group literacy instruction and services provided to adults, including basic literacy, pre-GED, GED, ESOL, and numeracy skills.

3. Activities and strategic plans that strengthen student and tutor recruitment and retention.

4. Literacy and numeracy skills provided to parents & caregivers in family literacy
programs (teaching adults about workplace and civics education, to read to children, to
transition to adult literacy and education programs or secondary education programs).

5. Digital literacy in instruction in order to teach literacy, numeracy, and workplace skills.

6. Community awareness, outreach, and marketing materials (includes social media and
web development) modernized and updated.

7. Strategic planning for increased program capacity through partnerships.

8. Improved or streamlined data collection and management.

9. Staff salaries tied directly to the grant’s project and student outcomes.

10. Established and scientifically researched curriculum tailored to tutor training and other instructional practices to meet client needs. (Demonstrate qualification of staff to tailor curriculum. Mention curriculum to be modified.)

11. Standardized pre- and post-tests that measure student progress.

Activities not eligible for funding are:

1. Wholesale purchase and distribution of children’s books and/or handing out free
giveaways in a family literacy project. (Your program must provide literacy instruction to
parents and caregivers – handing out books to children does not fall under this category.)

2. Classes that teach individuals how to use a computer and/or specific software, such as for a Microsoft Word certificate. (Using the computer as a tool to complete literacy,
numeracy, and workplace skills lessons is allowed.)

3. Family literacy activities that involve only children. Parents and adult literacy are the
focus for the VLF. An ideal partner would be one that serves children.

4. Developing new curriulum. Adapting current curriculum that is based on best practices is allowed–in this instance, the qualifications of staff making the adaptations should be attached.

5. Out-of-state travel.

6. Parties or celebratory events, such as tutor appreciation.

7. Purchasing accounting or legal services.

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

1. seek close and integrated collaborations with regional adult education programs,
community colleges, and agencies with similar missions to increase the community’s
impact to serve low-level literacy adult learners.

2. are workforce and career pathways oriented.
3. strengthen current services or introduce new services based on community need and internal data analysis, i.e., for strategic planning to drive program improvement.
4. offer family literacy services with

1. integrated literacy instruction to parents/caretakers of children,
2. meaningful collaborations with current family literacy and adult education and
secondary programs,
3. components that improve parents’ literacy skills and target parents of at-risk

5. improve and strengthen student retention and persistence.
6. incorporate 21st century technology in digital literacy instruction.
7. use evaluation instruments that reliably pre- and post-test students to measure progress.
8. align student lessons to College Career Readiness Standards.
9. incorporate social media and a variety of technology resources in outreach and
10. explore innovative ways to recruit, train, and retain volunteers, following a best practices model that demonstrates success in other settings.

*The term project may be defined loosely.

Your program may choose to improve specific program components, such as recruitment or fund development activities, or to start new program goals. Or you may choose to fund a salaried position that is crucial to a particular project in your partnership. If this is the case, then your grant focus should be on the need for the salaried position and how this position advances the project. The activities you describe will then be related to how that position achieves student outcomes.

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

NOTE: Programs requesting $7,500 and $12,500 grant funds are asked to design projects that belong to the top five priorities in this section.