Welcome to the Literacy Rochester 2020-2021 Fiscal Year!
I am excited and honored to serve as your President for the coming year. I have been a member of Literacy Rochester board of directors since 2016. While on the Board, I also served as the Board’s Vice President and Chair of Literacy Rochester’s major fund raiser, the Brain Game. I have greatly valued my time on the Board and have learned so much from the intelligent and capable people with whom I serve.
As a Board, we strive to support Literacy Rochester by providing guidance, creating programs, and promoting events that are in support of the people who we serve. It is important to recognize the impact Literacy Rochester has in our community. With the goal of fostering literacy in the greater Rochester, New York area, Literacy Rochester’s purpose is to utilize trained, dedicated volunteers who provide one-to-one or small group tutoring to adults who functionally lack basic English language, mathematics and/or computer-based skills.
In the 2019/2020 fiscal year Literacy Rochester achieved some amazing results in spite of COVID-19. From an adult education standpoint, 165 students received a total of 4,176 student hours of English and Math training through the hard work, support, and dedication of Literacy Rochester’s 118 volunteers. Literacy Rochester’s Digital Literacy program continues to grow. In the 2019/2020 fiscal year, Digital Literacy provided basic computer skills in 13 locations throughout the City of Rochester and Fairport library. Our 31 dedicated volunteers accumulated 4,368 volunteer hours were able to assist hundreds of individuals both through Digital Literacy and our partnership with OACES, resulting in 3322 outcomes.
As I look to Literacy Rochester’s year ahead, I am excited about what’s to come.
- First, the board has welcomed four new members with various business and not for profit backgrounds who I’m sure will be bring a fresh perspective to the Literacy Rochester board. Throughout the next year we will continue to recruit and look for new board members who are representative of those we serve.
- Next, The State of NY has awarded Literacy Rochester with a 5 year renewal of the Adult Literacy Education (ALE) Grant which provides funding for adult education programs for under educated and disadvantaged adults.
- Finally, Literacy Rochester was also awarded an extension of the Rochester City School District’s Office of Adult and Career Education Services (OACES) program funding to provide digital literacy education to adults who lack computer skills. The board and staff sincerely thank New York State and the Rochester City Schools OACES Program for their continued faith in Literacy Rochester.
- The board and staff are also busy reimagining the 2020 Brain Game this year. Due to social distancing and the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, it looks like we will be conducting the Brain Game virtually. We still need a lot of help, so please reach out to our new Brain Game Chair David Wyman, if you’d like to donate or offer any other assistance.
Given this positive news and momentum, Literacy Rochester and its board have a lot to do. Undoubtedly the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to pose challenges to our finances and programs. The need for financial help from you is greater now than it has ever been. There never has nor will there ever be a donation that is too small for Literacy Rochester!
The continued uncertainty surrounding educating our students due to COVID-19 our Digital Literacy and Adult Education Program staff are being challenged to provide the same level of quality education with our excellent level of educational outcomes through varied teaching methods while at the same time, keeping our staff and students safe.
Our Board has the goal of supporting Literacy Volunteers organization and staff to enable them to provide the critical adult education that is much needed in the City of Rochester and Monroe County. We can all offer insight and guidance to each other as a community. I have come to count many members of the Literacy Rochester board, both past and present as friends who I can turn to for both professional and personal matters. These are people who offer different perspectives and professional backgrounds from me, and who I never would have met if not for being on the Board of Literacy Rochester. I know many of our members have similar stories. As a Board, we want to make Literacy Rochester an organization that continues to offer English and non-English speaking adults education now and well into the 21st Century.
Finally, let me leave you with my goals during my two-year tenure:
- More Board diversity. We must strive to have more representation from the community and those we serve who can offer different perspectives and backgrounds.
- Development of a five-year strategic plan. Over the years we have tried and failed at delivering a five-year strategic plan, with board involvement, Literacy Rochester leaders must create and implement a five-year plan that ensures our organization is moving forward.
- Greater Board Involvement. My goal is to have 100% board involvement in moving Literacy Rochester forward.
- $75,000 Brain Game Goal. My goal as Brain game Chair was to achieve $50,000 and through a lot of hard work of others, the 2019 reached that goal. As president I challenge us now to attain a $75,000 goal by the time my tenure concludes.
- Year over Year Program Growth of 15%. There are a significant number of adults in The City of Rochester, and Monroe County who lack basic literacy and computer skills that we can assist. We must strive to increase the numbers of those we support annually.
- Fund Raising. We must secure the future of Literacy Rochester in order to be able to serve. I will task the board and Literacy Rochester staff to develop a pragmatic plan to grow cash donations by 20% annually.
I am open to your suggestions, questions and concerns, and I hope that you will reach out to me in the coming year. I look forward to seeing you at this year’s board meetings and events, and appreciate your support of Literacy Rochester!
All the best,
President and Chairman of the Board of Directors