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Mar 13, 2023 |
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NCFL is excited to have joined the Adult Literacy and Learning Impact Network (ALL IN). Together with the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and a national group of 13 literacy-focused organizations, ALL IN is leading efforts to implement the National Action Plan for Adult Literacy to elevate the issues surrounding adult literacy and learning.

When parenting adults are equipped with skills, knowledge, and supports to fulfill their educational and career goals, their families thrive. But for many households in America, adults are struggling. The numbers are alarming—nearly one in five U.S. adults reads at a third-grade level or lower and more than 54% of adults struggle with low literacy skills in reading, writing, numeracy, and digital literacy[1]. The challenge is pervasive and far-reaching, impacting a person’s ability to navigate jobs and access public services and systems like healthcare, education, and social supports. Not only does low adult literacy affect individual and family well-being and prosperity, but it is of national consequence. Jonathan Rothwell, principal economist at Gallup, estimates that if all adults attained the literacy skills equivalent to the sixth grade level, the U.S. could generate $2.2 trillion more for our economy—that’s 10% of the GDP[2]!

The need is great, but the opportunities and potential that the ALL IN collaboration brings could lead to exponential impact on adults, families, and children all across this country.

“NCFL is proud to be part of ALL IN to address an issue of critical importance to the livelihoods of families across the nation,” says Dr. Felicia C. Smith, president and CEO of NCFL. “When we support parenting adults with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to be leaders in their communities, as well as create family-centric policies and systems, families can change the trajectory of their lives, positively impacting generations to come.”

In February, ALL IN’s coordinating council held a virtual update meeting. Leaders from the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, World Education, Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE), TESOL, ProLiteracy and NCFL shared the rationale for ALL IN and our collective priority areas for 2023:

  1. Increase awareness of adult literacy needs and advocate for change.
  2. Improve quality of adult literacy programs through data-driven, technology-enabled research and development. 
  3. Expand access to needs-based adult literacy programs and services. 
  4. Develop and implement a comprehensive funding strategy to support ALL IN initiatives and affiliated projects.

Watch a replay of the webinar to learn more.

Bipartisan support for ALL IN

Also in February, we joined ALL IN and Engage, a bipartisan women’s organization, in celebrating an important milestone for addressing Priority 1—the launch of a new U.S. Senate Caucus on Adult Literacy. Co-chaired by Sen. Susan Collins (ME) and Sen. Jack Reed (RI), the goal of the caucus is to raise awareness of the issues surrounding adult literacy and to promote policies and solutions aimed at improving it. Other members of the Caucus include Senators Bill Cassidy (LA), Ben Ray Luján (NM), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Alejandro Padilla (CA), Tina Smith (MN) and Todd Young (IN).

As Sarah Cacicio, director of ALL IN, puts it, “Literacy is everyone’s issue.” We need all hands on deck! When we strengthen family literacy and learning opportunities in communities, we create the stimulus for transformation and equity across the country. To get involved in ALL IN, visit


[1]National Action Plan for Adult Literacy 2021. (2021, October 20). Retrieved February 21, 2023, from   

[2]Rothwell, J. (2020, September 8). Assessing the Economic Gains of Eradicating Illiteracy Nationally and Regionally in the United States. Retrieved February 21, 2023, from


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NCFL Partners

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Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $50 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.

Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.

Read more about Toyota's commitment to communities

William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

NCFL received its very first donation in 1989 from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to promote and implement family literacy programming, first in Kentucky and North Carolina and later nationwide. The Kenan Family Literacy Model in part laid the groundwork for 30 years of subsequent family literacy and family learning programming developed by NCFL.

Kenan has continued to support NCFL’s place-based family literacy programs since our inception. Most recently, it has invested in our organization’s Sharon Darling Innovation Fund, which will launch emerging ideas and programmatic evolutions in the multigenerational learning space.

Learn more about the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to guide potential students and volunteers to literacy services, community education programs, and testing centers in their communities.

The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.

Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.

Learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation

PNC Grow Up Great

PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.

PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994, most recently in Louisville, Kentucky, to support Say & Play with Words, our pre-Kindergarten vocabulary-building initiative.

NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.

Learn more about PNC Grow Up Great

U.S. Department of Education

Initiated through the U.S. Department of Education in 2018, the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC) program provides 12 grantees and 13 states with five-year, $5 million grants to promote and implement systemic evidenced-based family engagement strategies. NCFL was selected to lead SFECs in two states, Arizona and Nebraska, and is a primary partner for two other SFECs in Kentucky and Maryland/Pennsylvania. 

The SFECs work to support family engagement through state- and local-level agencies while providing both professional development to school districts and direct services to families related to children’s academic outcomes and overall well-being.

Learn more about the U.S. Department of Education

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

NCFL was named a recipient of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s "Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenge," which seeks to elevate diverse voices in order to broaden the conversation about the issues inhibiting economic mobility and generate deeper awareness along with actionable understanding. NCFL will develop and launch a podcast series that will highlight the remarkable stories of low-income, diverse families across the U.S. who have improved their communities through Family Service Learning.

Foundation Website