Literacy Connection launches appeal to raise money for programming, financial security

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Angel Idowu
Wednesday, July 30, 2014

JANESVILLE--The Literacy Connection recently launched a community appeal to raise funds to expand is programming, raise its profile and weave a financial safety net.

“We plan to do two things with the help of this fundraising,” said Pamela Thomas, executive director of The Literacy Connection. “We want to be able to increase and expand in the community, create better awareness. We plan to do this by creating more programs, and partnering with organizations similar to ours more.

"With the funds we raise, we also hope to create a financial safety bucket. If funds for a particular year aren't as strong as past years, we want to have something to fall back on," Thomas said.

The Literacy Connection for 50 years has worked to improve literacy in the region. It plans to make a direct mail appeal to about 350 people who have worked with the organization in the past.

“Whether they be volunteers or tutors, we're reaching out to them,” Thomas said. “It is our goal to raise $30,000 in pledges a year for the next three years. They can donate as much as they want each year for a three-year commitment.

“Each member of the board of directors has committed to raising $1,000 a year for the next three years. So one-third of the campaign will be covered by the board members, which is fantastic," Thomas said.

Dwindling resources has taken a toll on the organization, she said.

“I think that this is something a lot of nonprofits are experiencing,” Thomas said. “Our staff is really fantastic at doing a lot with a little. But that time has passed, and now we need the funds to do things that will expand the program.”

The Literacy Connection plans to hold fundraising events.

“We are planning to have a meat raffle with lots of other prizes at the end of September,” Thomas said. “It will be at Jake's Junction Pub, 130 Merchant Row in Milton.”

It is the The Literacy Connection's goal to work more in the community and answer a high demand for services.

“We currently have a waiting list,” Thomas said. “People are ready, but we need more volunteers, more tutors. We need to work harder to get our name out there, and we need funds to do that.”

The Literacy Connection has a few projects they have been working on to spread the word.

“We'll be partnering with the School District of Janesville in a couple weeks, working with the library and partnering with UW-Rock County and Blackhawk Technical College on a couple of classes in the fall,” Thomas said.

The Literacy Connection partners with churches, offers one-on-one English tutoring, provides GED readiness programs in both English and Spanish, offers citizenship classes and has computer literacy classes.

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