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Literacy Council wins $150,000 grant

The Blue Ridge Literacy Council has won a three-year grant of $150,000 to enhance its programs that teach adults to read.

The Literacy Council was one of six nonprofits serving western North Carolina to win a grant from the Melvin R. Lane Fund of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, which promotes access to quality health care, safe and affordable housing and social services for young, elderly and disabled people living in the region. The program helps human service organizations improve their operations, become more collaborative and secure their future to improve lives for disadvantaged citizens.

The Literacy Council will receive $50,000 a year for three years to support expansion.

"The structure of the Lane Fund will allow the Literacy Council to quickly transition to a more efficient and effective provider of instructional services to adult learners," said Steve Kirkland, Executive Director of BRLC. "This grant application was a year in the making and showcased the ability of our board and staff to articulate the potential for the Literacy Council in our mission of providing adults in Henderson County the English communication and literacy skills they need to reach their full potential as individuals, parents, workers and citizens."

BRLC president Barb Wilcox said the grant will help the agency in several ways.

"Special focus for year one will be upgrading our information technology, updating strategic plans, increased marketing and branding of our services and the need for additional tutors, board development, formalizing fundraising plans and adding a new staff position," she said. "It's going to an exciting and productive couple of years for BRLC as we transform our organization to better serve current students and to reach more students in Henderson County. We want our supporters to share in the thrill of this announcement and recognize that we will need more sustainable investment than ever from loyal and new community literacy champions as we move forward. Our gratitude to the Lane Fund is more than we can put into words."

The multi-year grants are made possible through the Melvin R. Lane Fund, created by Melvin and Georgianna Lane, longtime residents of Henderson County. Lyn Fozzard, daughter of Melvin R. Lane, oversees the fund with her husband, Harry, and members of the advisory board.

For more information on Blue Ridge Literacy Council call 828-696-3811; write BRLC at PO Box 1728, Hendersonville, NC 28793; or go to www.litcouncil.org.