ProLiteracy Worldwide

ProLiteracy Worldwide

ProLiteracy Worldwide, a nonprofit organization based in Syracuse, N.Y., is an international organization that supports the people and programs that help adults learn to read and write.


ProLiteracy Worldwide was formed when Laubach Literacy International and Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc. merged in 2002.

Laubach Literacy International’s history begins in 1930, when Dr. Frank C. Laubach was a missionary among the Maranao people of the Philippines. His concern about their poor living conditions led him to conclude that the ability to read and write was essential for them to begin to solve their problems. As the Maranaos learned to read, they would, in turn, teach other adults on a one-to-one basis that became known as “Each One Teach One.” From 1935 to 1967, Dr. Laubach visited 105 countries answering calls for literacy help and created reading lessons in 315 languages. He founded Laubach Literacy International in Syracuse, N.Y. in 1955.

For years, literacy as a global mission interested Ruth J. Colvin. She had heard Dr. Laubach speak about illiteracy in faraway countries, but she didn’t consider it a problem in America. So she was shocked when she read a 1961 Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper article that stated there were over 11,000 people in her county who could not read or write well (based on 1960 U.S. Census figures). She began speaking with local social service agencies, community leaders, and church groups about the problem. With the help of reading experts, she developed a means to train volunteers to tutor adults. In 1962, she started Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc.


ProLiteracy Worldwide’s mission is to sponsor educational programs and services whose purpose is to empower adults and their families by assisting them to acquire the literacy practices and skills they need to function more effectively in their daily lives and participate in the transformation of their societies.


ProLiteracy’s International Programs division works with grassroots partner programs in developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. ProLiteracy provides training, technical assistance, and targeted local grants to support tailored programs that combine literacy with economic self-reliance, health, education, peace, human rights, and environmental sustainability projects.

ProLiteracy America, the U.S. Programs Division of ProLiteracy Worldwide, represents community-based volunteer and adult basic education affiliates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. ProLiteracy America accredits programs and supports them with technical assistance and program and professional development services online, in regional trainings, and at an annual conference. ProLiteracy also serves as an advocate for issues related to adult literacy and lifelong learning.New Readers Press, ProLiteracy’s publishing house, generates $8 million in revenue annually through the sale of materials used in teaching adults and older teens. Proceeds from these sales support ProLiteracy’s work throughout the U.S. and the world. News for You, a New Readers Press weekly newspaper written in plain English, is read by new learners in the U.S. and around the world.


The National Book Scholarship Fund (NBSF) gives grants of New Readers Press books and materials directly to local literacy service providers. The NBSF provides books for family literacy programs that work with parents and children, English-as-a-second-language (ESL) programs, adult basic education initiatives, and women-focused programming.

ProLiteracy Worldwide began its Women In Literacy (WIL) initiative in 1991 in response to the particular needs of women. Cultural traditions and local laws often favor men, allowing them access to education, property, employment, health care, and participation in government that is denied to women. ProLiteracy's Women in Literacy initiative gives women the literacy skills they need to understand and change their daily lives. Women hold key leadership positions in more than 80% of WIL partner programs.


In 2006, ProLiteracy Worldwide was active in the following countries:

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaire, Zimbabwe

Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet/China, Uzbekistan
Middle East

Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, West Bank
Latin America

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela


About 60% of ProLiteracy Worldwide’s funding comes from sales of its educational materials. About 35% comes from private sources, including individuals, corporations, and foundations. The remainder comes from affiliate dues and investment income.

In 2005, 87% of funding went to programs, 7% went to fundraising, and 6% went to general and administrative services.

Accountability Standards

A 2005 report by the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance (WGA) found that ProLiteracy Worldwide met all of its standards for charity accountability. The WGA found that ProLiteracy Worldwide is truthful in its representations of how money is spent, does not allocate an excessive part of its budget for fundraising or administrative expenses, and makes its financial statements readily available to the public.

External links

Organizational Links

* [ ProLiteracy Worldwide]
* [ New Readers Press]
* [ National Book Scholarship Fund]

Reports by Charity-monitoring Organizations

* [ BBB Wise Giving Alliance Report: ProLiteracy Worldwide]
* [ GuideStar Basic Report: ProLiteracy Worldwide (registration required)]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Frank Laubach — Dr. Frank Charles Laubach (September 2, 1884 ndash; June 11, 1970) was a Christian Evangelical missionary and mystic known as The to the Illiterates. In 1935, while working at a remote location in the Philippines, he developed the Each One Teach… …   Wikipedia

  • Frank Laubach — Frank Charles Laubach (* 2. September 1884 in Benton, Pennsylvania; † 11. Juni 1970 in Syracuse) war ein christlicher evangelikaler Missionar und Mystiker bekannt als „Der Apostel der Analphabeten“. Im Jahre 1935, als er auf den Philippinen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Florida Literacy Coalition, Inc. — Established in 1985, the Florida Literacy Coalition (FLC) is a non profit organization that promotes, supports and advocates for the effective delivery of quality adult and family literacy services in the state of Florida.As a statewide umbrella… …   Wikipedia

  • List of non-governmental organizations in the People's Republic of China — This article is a list of domestic and international non governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the People s Republic of China. Contents: Top · 0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z List …   Wikipedia

  • National Scrabble Association — The National SCRABBLE Association (NSA) was created in 1978 by Selchow Righter, then the makers of SCRABBLE, to promote their game. It coordinated local clubs and Scrabble tournaments in North America, including the National SCRABBLE Championship …   Wikipedia

  • List of charitable foundations — This is an of foundations, which can or may never satisfy any objective standard for completeness. Revisions and additions are welcome. This is a list of foundations that support or provide philanthropic activities. A*Abundant Life Foundation… …   Wikipedia

  • Literacy Florida! — Inc., also called Literacy Florida! volunteers for adults (LFva), provides training and technical support for adult and family literacy programs using trained volunteers. Some 74 million adults in the United States lack minimum literacy skills;… …   Wikipedia

  • Robert Wedgeworth — Biographical Sketch = Robert Wedgeworth became President of ProLiteracy Worldwide in August 2002 when Laubach Literacy International (LLI) and Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc. (LVA) merged. It is the largest non governmental literacy training …   Wikipedia

  • PLW — Peace, Love, & Wisdom (Community » Religion) * Palu, Indonesia (Regional » Airport Codes) * ProLiteracy Worldwide (Community » Non Profit Organizations) * Putting Learning to Work (Community » Educational) * Product Lines Wanted (Business »… …   Abbreviations dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”