CHICAGO, Ill. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A law school graduate, a startup entrepreneur helping to raise $30 million in venture capital, and often being one of the very few women in the boardroom, this smart woman has accomplished many goals.
But now in what she calls her biggest accomplishment yet, she is using her talents to help others succeed.
When adult learner H.C. Warfield retired, he decided to go back to school, to learn something he was never able to do before. “When I came here, I couldn’t read at all,” explained Warfield. He is one of the thousands of adult and child learners who benefit from a first-of-its-kind literacy collaboration called Chicago Literacy Alliance. “My reading is getting really good,” said Krystil Clemmings, a fellow participant.
“It’s like having a great big extended professional family in one place. Like a great big non-profit family reunion for literacy,” said Stacy Ratner, Co-Founder of the Chicago Literacy Alliance. With her experience in the venture capital world, Ratner used her expertise to build support for the idea that if literacy groups work together, their reach can be vast. “No one is going to be motivated or inspired or drawn to a group which is doing a few little projects in isolation,” said Ratner.
Instead, Chicago Literacy Alliance has a home base, where more than 120 literacy groups can rent workspaces, use resources, and collaborate with one another. Christine Kenny is the Executive Director of Literacy Works, which trains more than 600 volunteer tutors for adult learners. Being close to other organizations working toward the same mission has been a huge plus for her. “Find out more about what they’re doing, see if there are ways to partner,” said Kenny.
And for people who are learning to read for the first time, this collaboration for literacy… “It’s going to mean a whole lot,” said Warfield. Not only to him, but also to the millions of people struggling with illiteracy.
Forty-three percent of adults with little or no reading skills live in poverty and 70 percent of adult welfare recipients cannot read or write. Chicago Literacy Alliance started out with 17 groups, now it has well over 120. The organization has been so successful, that the Library of Congress recognized the company as a Best Practice Award Winner.
Contributor(s) to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Bruce Maniscalo, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.