Human Services

LITERACY ACTION OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS INC

  • Little Rock, AR
  • http://www.literacylittlerock.org

Mission Statement

Literacy Action of Central Arkansas is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that strives to build a community of adults empowered through literacy by teaching reading skills to adults and English language skills to nonnative adults. Our vision is literacy for all.

Main Programs

  1. Local Community Partner Organizations (LCPO)
  2. Adult Basic Literacy (ABL)
  3. English as a Second Language (ESL)

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Service Areas

Self-reported

Arkansas

Literacy Action has offices in Little Rock and Conway, but we now serve students from a seven county area - Pulaski, Faulkner, Jefferson, Grant, Lonoke, Perry, and Saline

ruling year

1988

Executive Director since 2013

Self-reported

Sara Drew

Keywords

Self-reported

adult literacy, english-as-a-second-language, ESL, tutoring

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Also Known As

Literacy Action of Central Arkansas

EIN

71-0638565

Physical Address

100 Rock Street, Suite 530

Little Rock, AR 72201

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Ethnic/Immigrant Services (P84)

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Literacy Action of Central Arkansas has three main programs: Adult Basic Literacy (ABL), English as a Second Language (ESL), and our Local Community Partner Organization (LCPO) program. With each of these programs, we have been able to reach more of the 145,000 people in Central Arkansas who cannot read and write English at a functional level. We serve over 550 students in a 12 month period, and all students make some progress toward or meet their personal goal, whether it's reading to their children or filling out a job application.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Local Community Partner Organizations (LCPO)

Our LCPO program involves training volunteer tutors within community partner organizations who want to offer one-on- one sessions or small classes for adults who read at or below a 5th grade level and need tutoring in basic reading and writing skills or
for adult immigrants that who want to learn English.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Adults

Budget

Program 2

Adult Basic Literacy (ABL)

The ABL program is designed for people 18 years or older who read below an 8th grade level. Many of these adults have coped for years with the enormous handicap of being unable to read and write well enough to function effectively in the community. They have realized that in order to improve their lives, they must improve their literacy skills. For some, making the first contact with Literacy Action means overcoming the embarrassment of admitting that they cannot read.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Adults

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Program 3

English as a Second Language (ESL)

Imagine living in a foreign country and not being able to read or speak the language. Think about how difficult it would be to perform the everyday tasks most of us take for granted: shopping for groceries, renting an apartment, getting directions, reading a bus schedule, or communicating with doctors, merchants, or teachers. Without good English skills, most immigrants cannot reach their full potential and become active contributors to the community.

Just as in other communities in the United States, the immigrant population in the Central Arkansas area has grown rapidly in recent years. Since 1999, Literacy Action’s trained volunteers have taught non-English speaking adults from all over the world to read and communicate in English. These students come from all walks of life from professionals with advanced degrees to unskilled workers and stay-at-home mothers.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Immigrants/Newcomers/Refugees

Adults

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Literacy Action's goals are to advance literacy among Central Arkansas' families and adults through direct services, advocacy, and collaboration. Our vision is literacy for all. Founded in 1986, Literacy Action is the only Arkansas agency focused solely on adult literacy instruction through evidence-based adult literacy programming. Literacy Action has touched thousands of adults reading at or below the basic level of literacy--meaning approximately 5th grade-- throughout the Central Arkansas area. Literacy Action's program design focuses on mitigating barriers to access while maximizing the time students spend in the classroom and providing relevant, applicable outcomes. We will continue to provide quality, individualized, free instruction at convenient times and locations, expanding not only the number of classes and locations, but also the types of classes and support services offered. We provide English instruction for a majority of nonnative speakers in this area. Literacy Action hopes to grow our staff so that we can meet the needs of more students in Central Arkansas, with specific programming for job training, improved volunteer tutor recruitment, and management of partner organizations, and additionally, we grow our existing citizenship and TESOL programs. We would also like to see more strategic alignment with agencies meeting complementary needs. These are steps that will take us closer to realizing our vision of Literacy for All.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    We are currently embarking on a five year strategic plan with support from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. Out of this plan will come our new goals, as well as strategies to reach them.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    We have highly qualified staff and volunteer tutors using excellent curriculum to meet the needs of our students. We have a solid system in place for running the organization smoothly and partnering with a large number of local organizations to reach additional students. We have just reached a point of growth where we cannot manage the student numbers effectively without additional staff.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Literacy Action tutors report on their students progress and accomplishments weekly. Literacy Action compiles this information and analyzes it on a quarterly basis to determine our current success rates and whether we are making progress as an organization. On an annual basis we survey students and tutors to determine what is going well with our programs and what might need to change. Also we ask for assistance with additional needs that are not being met.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Literacy Action has been able to add a citizenship class through one of our partner organizations and potentially start another class through our VISTA partnership. We have an ongoing TESOL program for specific students. Also, we were able to develop and eventually turn over a bridge program for potential community college students who have difficulty passing the entrance exam.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Arkansas

Literacy Action has offices in Little Rock and Conway, but we now serve students from a seven county area - Pulaski, Faulkner, Jefferson, Grant, Lonoke, Perry, and Saline

Social Media

Funding Needs

Literacy Action of Central Arkansas is in need of staff positions to manage our rapidly growing student populations within our programs. Our one Adult Program Director cannot manage the rapid increase in students that need tutors and the requests from local organizations that want to partner with Literacy Action to serve their specific communities.

Affiliations + Memberships

Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member

ProLiteracy America

United Way Member Agency

External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

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  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2006 and 2004
  • Board Chair
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

LITERACY ACTION OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS INC

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2006 and 2004
  • Board Chair
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Executive Director

Sara Drew

BIO

Sara Drew joined Literacy Action as the Development Director in November 2013, and was promoted to Executive Director in October 2014. She has 12 years of experience in the nonprofit sector including programming, education, fundraising, facilitation, marketing, and management. Sara started out in web design with Aristotle, Inc., moved on to historic preservation with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP), spent six years running the Study Tours Program for Heifer International, and then helped open the ESSE Purse Museum in the SOMA area of Little Rock, before joining Literacy Action of Central Arkansas.

Sara received a BA in History from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 2003 and an MA in Public History from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2010. Sara lives in North Little Rock with her amazing husband of 11 years, 5 year old son and one giant rescue dog.

STATEMENT FROM THE Executive Director

"Literacy Action has worked hard since 1986 to teach literacy skills to struggling readers in the Central Arkansas area. We still have offices in Little Rock and Conway, but we now serve students from a seven- county area: Pulaski, Faulkner, Jefferson, Grant, Lonoke, Perry, and Saline. In the last 12 months, Literacy Action served over 550 adult students, delivering over 11,000 hours of individualized instruction. Learning to read or speak English enables our students to get family-supporting jobs, have better access to health information, and teach their children the value of literacy. We believe in acknowledging and advocating for the important role adults play in fostering their children's basic literacy skills and attitudes toward learning. Parents are often children's first and most influential teachers. With 145,000 adults in Central Arkansas reading at or below below basic levels, Literacy Action provides a crucial service that benefits the entire community. All services are offered free of charge.

Literacy Action focuses on a one-on-one tutoring model for Adult Basic Literacy (ABL) instruction and a group conversation model for English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction to improve adult literacy levels. We recruit and train community volunteers to provide tutoring services to adults in need. Tutors work with students on practical applications of their new skills so that students see the benefits of their efforts right away. Learning to read or speak English is hard work, but most students see significant progress in the first six months of instruction. Literacy Action is so effective because we are one of the few organizations that focus on empowering individuals by teaching them one of the most crucial skills necessary to help lift themselves out of poverty: the ability to read."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mary Waldo

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


ORGANIZATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

Gender
This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Volunteers.
Race & Ethnicity
This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Volunteers.
Middle Eastern
Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Disability

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Diversity Strategies
Yes
We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
No
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
Yes
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
No
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
No
We have a diversity committee in place
No
We have a diversity manager in place
No
We have a diversity plan
Yes
We use other methods to support diversity