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Seeds Awarded Large Grants from Local Foundations to Address Major Shifts in Adult Ed Landscape

Cleveland, OH (November 30, 2017)

This fall, Seeds of Literacy (Seeds) was awarded $300,000 from the Cleveland Foundation and $125,000 from Saint Luke’s Foundation in support of its adult education program. These major grants will allow for strategic organizational growth that addresses three major shifts in the adult education landscape.

“We are grateful to these two important foundations for their continued commitment to adult literacy and education,” said Bonnie Entler, Executive Director of Seeds of Literacy. “Without these gifts, our ability to empower adults to lead better lives through increased literacy levels would be in jeopardy.”

Major changes to high school equivalency test choice and structure, as well as workforce development outcomes, will have tremendous impact on adult literacy programs like Seeds.

First, the state has added two additional high school equivalency test providers. HiSET and TASC will join the GED® as options for Ohioans. Although these tests are desirable options for Seeds’ students, they will require significant reconfiguration to the Seeds’ curricula.

Second, the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) test  — the standard, best practice test used to benchmark a student’s abilities when they enroll at Seeds  — is doubling in length, impacting Seeds’ program structure and budget.

Finally, as part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Seeds faces additional reporting requirements concerning employment and higher education/training outcomes. This will require the complete design and implementation of a tracking system focused on future employment and educational choices made by graduates.

“These changes in adult education are considerable. Seeds needs to dramatically expand our organizational capacity to implement the restructuring required to address them,” Entler explained. “The Cleveland Foundation and Saint Luke’s Foundation have provided us the resources we need to continue our mission in the best way possible for our students. The positive impact these gifts will have on our organization is incredible.”

The grant from the Saint Luke’s Foundation will be dispersed over two years to aid in providing educational equity to adults at Seeds East.

Seeds East serves the Mt. Pleasant, Buckeye/Shaker, and Woodland Hills neighborhoods of Cleveland, where the illiteracy rates are 85%, 68%, and 90% respectively.

The Cleveland Foundation’s grant has already resulted in hiring additional staff, including roles to prepare for long-term sustainability. The grant also supports restructuring existing and creating new programs to accommodate the additional high school equivalency tests and lengthened intake process.

Adult literacy annihilates poverty. It helps people become healthier and wealthier, opens doors to better jobs, and increases children’s school success.

“Whether we are navigating bus schedules, medication instructions, public bulletins, or a note from a child’s teacher, literacy impacts every one of us,” said Kristi Andrasik, Cleveland Foundation program officer. “For the last 20 years, Seeds of Literacy has been a stalwart advocate for improving access to adult literacy services for marginalized communities. From its humble beginnings, this small-but-mighty organization has emerged as a trusted and highly effective adult literacy provider in our city, and the Cleveland Foundation is pleased to continue supporting this important mission.”

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About the Cleveland Foundation

Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $2.13 billion and 2016 grants of $93.6 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of residents of Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking and providing leadership on vital issues. The foundation tackles the community’s priority areas – education and youth development, neighborhoods, health and human services, arts and culture and economic development – and responds to the community’s needs. For more information on the Cleveland Foundation, visit www.ClevelandFoundation.org.

About Saint Luke’s Foundation

Now in its 20th year of operation, Saint Luke’s Foundation is dedicated to improving and transforming social and physical conditions in their neighborhood and improving the health and well-being of individuals and families in Greater Cleveland. Saint Luke’s program strategy framework positions them to build sustainable solutions to key issues that impact our community. Information on the work of Saint Luke’s Foundation is available on the Foundation’s website: www.saintlukesfoundation.org.

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