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Madison County Literacy Coalition

Madison County Literacy Coalition

Faced with a chronic literacy problem that included inadequate early childhood literacy intervention, poor high school graduation rates and an undertrained workforce, Madison County leaders knew that something had to be done. A National Assessment of Adult Literacy Report confirmed their fears — an estimated 10 percent of the county’s adult population functioned below a basic reading competency level. To address this problem, the Madison County Literacy Coalition was formed in 2011 to bring literacy to the forefront of the county’s attention.

The Coalition serves as a county-wide collaborative mechanism for organizations that serve people with limited literacy skills. It is comprised of more than 40 diverse community organizations, school districts, health care sites, higher education institutions, local and state governments, and public libraries. The Community Foundation is an ongoing supporter of the Coalition, both as a grant funder and a managing partner.

Through its five-year county-wide Literacy Plan, the Coalition has implemented family literacy and workforce development programs, expanded programs for adult learners, and introduced Imagination Library, which provides free monthly books to pre-school children until they enter kindergarten throughout Madison County. Recently, the Coalition was chosen as a national finalist in the All-America Cities Campaign for Grade Level Reading, which is a testament to its creative, sustainable and knowledgeable approach to community change.

Thanks to the Coalition, the community is now tackling literacy with shared purpose and garnering crucial community support. The combination of inclusive programming and a focus on literacy is a recipe for success in creating a more engaged community.

Cazenovia Library is the fiscal sponsor for this coalition.