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 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.
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 2005, 87% of funding went to programs, 7% went to fundraising, and 6% went to general and administrative services.
Reports by Charity-monitoring Organizations
First State of Adult Literacy Report Available; ProLiteracy Worldwide Predicts More Adults Face Literacy Challenges.
Feb 10, 2004; Byline: ProLiteracy Worldwide SYRACUSE, N.Y, Feb. 10 (AScribe Newswire) -- ProLiteracy Worldwide's first State of Adult Literacy...
Country Inns & Suites.(COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT)(lending library service raises funds for ProLiteracy Worldwide)(Brief Article)
Jul 01, 2005; Country Inns & Suites has created the "Book It And Return" lending library program that allows guests to borrow books for free,...