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On the Nice List

So today we got a check from Santa.

No, really! Seeds received a lovely, anonymous gift of a money order, signed by Santa, for $245.00.

Santa's money order

And we are very grateful for this.

You see, Seeds of Literacy keeps its doors open and its services free to students because of donations from individuals (like Santa and his elves), private foundations, and businesses.

Because we provide education, many people think that Seeds receives a good deal of its money from the government. But that’s simply not true.

Public dollars – money from the government – only accounts for about 10% of our total budget. There just aren’t a lot of government funds available for adult literacy programs like Seeds. And we aren’t reimbursed in the way that other social services agencies, like those who provide counseling or healthcare, are. Nor do we receive government funds like K-12 schools do.

We raise every dollar of our budget. Every year.

This year’s budget is $1,129,869.

So where does the remaining 90% come from?

From the generosity of three main sources:

Foundation Grants

Cleveland is fortunate to have a wealth of private foundations that invest in great nonprofits. Seeds is powered in large part by requesting funds each year from about 65 different foundations – mostly local; some national – and receiving grants that usually range from $300 to $150,000.

Donated Services

Seeds is absolutely blessed with the talents and generosity of over 250 volunteers. The value of their time accounts for nearly 30% of our budget! This year’s $313,700 in donated services and support means that we literally could not operate our program without our volunteers.

Individuals and Businesses

We’ll use Margaret Mead’s words of wisdom for this one: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. Donations, from the $2 in an envelope from a student to a $5,000 corporate sponsorship (both actual donations this year), make it possible for our students to transform their lives.

So like Santa’s elves busy building toys in his workshop, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into keeping Seeds open for people, and many wonderful individuals and organizations who contribute to our great cause.

For all of them, we’re grateful – and we’ll do our best to stay on Santa’s nice list.

Literacy is empowerment. Please consider donating to Seeds this holiday season.