Applications available for $20,000 in Altrusa, Rotary literacy grants

Two community service clubs announced last week that they are now accepting applications for literacy grants awarded each year to schools in Oak Ridge and Anderson and Roane counties.

The two clubs—Altrusa International of Oak Ridge and the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club—will award about $20,000 in grants, a press release said. The money comes from a March 2012 event that featured author Pamela Schoenewaldt.

Grant applications and award criteria may be found on the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club website or at the Oak Ridge Public Library. The money will be competitively awarded to organizations whose programs, projects, or activities foster literacy in the area, the press release said.

“Lack of literacy skills continues to be a serious problem in the lives of many of our East Tennessee neighbors and for many throughout the world,” the release said. “Non-readers and below-grade readers cannot realize their full potential in life, which in turn adversely affects our local, and national economies and society in general.”

The Altrusa and Rotary clubs co-sponsor an annual luncheon to raise money to help local organizations that work to raise literacy levels. The press release said the funds from this year’s literacy luncheon will be awarded based upon the following guidelines:

  • Successful applications will propose specific projects or activities that will foster literacy in the community.
  • While prior successful applicants are eligible to apply for continued support, all grants will be for one year. Each application will be reviewed on its own merits and subsequent funding is not guaranteed.
  • Funds for general operating support, capital campaigns, or endowments will not normally be funded, nor will grants be made to individuals or religious groups.
  • Grants will be made to community-based groups and organizations that are based in or have a local presence in the service area that includes Oak Ridge, Anderson, or Roane counties; serve people who live and/or work in the service area; and/or have volunteers, members or board members who live and/or work in the service area.
  • Applicant organization or groups must be operated and organized in such a way that they do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, age, national origin, or disabilities when they hire staff, let bids, or provide services.
  • Organizations that received funds from this grant program the previous year must submit a project summary and report of effectiveness to be eligible for current funds.

Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club Past President Brenda Thornburgh, chair of the literacy grant selection committee this year, said that projects will be funded primarily on the basis of their emphasis on programs that teach children or adults to read or that help them improve basic reading skills.

“Traditionally, the Altrusa/Rotary grant process supports the parts of programs that deal with reading materials, such as books and instruction materials, and not for staff support or the costs of developing a program,” Thornburgh said.

Altrusa Immediate Past President Janet Swift said the community has played a key role in making the Altrusa/Breakfast Rotary literacy grants possible through its support for the annual literacy luncheons.

“We have had a very strong response from area businesses and individuals in sponsorship of and attendance at this event in past years, and I would urge everyone to support the 2013 Literacy Luncheon so that we might continue making a real difference for literacy programs in our community,” Swift said.

Applications must be submitted by Nov. 9. For questions about the application process, contact Thornburgh at [email protected] or (865)742-9700.


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  • Chris dungan

    Well done Rotary and Altrusa. Literacy is the key to giving people a hand up. :-) Chris Dungan Otaki Rotary New Zealand dist 9940

    • John Huotari

      Thanks for writing from New Zealand, Chris.

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