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Adult Education & Family Literacy Week starts Monday: Get Involved!

September 17, 2013

The District of Columbia is frequently cited as America’s “Smartest City,” based on our exceptionally high percentage of residents with a college degree. As of 2010, 46.8% of District residents held a bachelor’s degree—beating our closest competitor, Silicon Valley, by a healthy margin.

Yet, our knowledge-driven economy and high rates of post-secondary completion mask the realities of many residents. Read between the lines and you’ll see that the nation’s most educated city is also home to more than 64,000 adults who lack a high school diploma or its equivalent—that’s more than 10% of our residents. In a city where it is estimated that more than 70% of new jobs will require postsecondary training beyond high school, the number of career opportunities available to these individuals is rapidly declining.

The Community Foundation has a long history of investing the skills and credentials of the Metropolitan Washington region’s residents. Since 2007, our grants have helped 675 people increase their literacy levels and more than 700 earn a credential that will help to boost their employability in our competitive job market. Most recently, we’ve been working with a community of DC-based literacy providers like Academy of Hope, Southeast Ministry, and Literacy Volunteers and Advocates to bolster support for the critical programs that serve the District’s adult learners.

To raise broader awareness among both elected officials and community members, these partners have organized an Adult Education and Family Literacy Week – officially endorsed by a resolution of the DC Council – this September 23rd-29th. We’re pleased to announce two opportunities for Community Foundation donors to get involved:

  • The organizers will kick-off Literacy Week on Monday, September 23rd, with a special event, “An Investment in Adult Education is an Investment in Children’s Success,” from 8:30 to 11:00 am at the PNC Bank Building at 800 17th Street NW.  Join us for an exciting panel of speakers featuring adult learners, policymakers, and nationally-recognized experts. Continental breakfast will be served. Please RSVP by September 20th if you wish to attend.
  • Later that week, the entire community is invited to join the organizers for a Literacy Advocacy Day at the Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW) from 9:30-11:00 am. Participants will visit the offices of our elected officials to discuss the needs of adult learners. Seasoned advocates as well concerned citizens who have never stepped foot in the Wilson Building are all welcome to join us. If you’re interested in participating, please contact Samantha Davis at to RSVP.

We hope that many of you will be able to join us. Unable to attend? Please contact Benton Murphy at for more information about some of the excellent local nonprofits that need your support to serve adult learners.

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