First Literacy Lab – Eligibility Requirements


FY 2018 First Literacy Lab RFP and Proposal Form Now Available

**Because of the impending storm, we are rescheduling the Literacy Lab Information Session to NEXT Wednesday, March 22, 3:30-5:00 PM. There is no need to re-register, but if you cannot attend please let us know.**

Grant Categories

  1. Innovation Grants focus on fresh and novel approaches to instruction and related areas. We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary projects that blend content areas (science, technology, expressive arts, etc.) with language and literacy learning.
    • These grants are open to all not-for-profit ABE programs in Massachusetts, with a focus on Greater Boston. Not- for-profit includes community-based programs, public school adult programs, prison programs, and unions. Please contact us if you are unsure of your status.
    • Up to $5,000 may be provided for the development and trial of innovative resources and practices potentially promising to the ABE field. Examples of past innovation grants include ESOL Through Gardening and Digital Memoir Project for lmmigrant Seniors Residing in Public Housing.
  2. Program Strengthening Grants focus on the strengthening of individual programs that are under-resourced. We are particularly interested in funding grants that will help programs stabilize and begin to grow their services.
    • These grants are open to all not-for-profit ABE programs that do not receive funding from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
    • Up to $5,000 may be provided for the development, trial, and implementation of new resources and practices that strengthen an individual ABE program. Examples of past program strengthening grants include Spanish HiSet preparation and a Curriculum Strengthening Project.

Additional Information

  • Proposals for lesser amounts are welcome.
  • All grants are for one year: from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.
  • An adult education program may apply for more than one grant, but only one grant will be funded in a fiscal year. (Note: This is a change from FY 2017.)
  • We encourage collaboration among programs with similar project needs and ideas.
  • Teachers are encouraged to serve as project leaders and serve as the contact for all phases of the grant.
  • In FY 2018, proposals for projects that significantly build upon an FY 2017 First Literacy Lab grant will also be considered, with its own goals, activities, and evaluation protocols.
  • Assessments and Evaluations of First Literacy Lab project goals need to be project-specific and clearly described in the proposal narrative.

Requirements of Applicants, Grantees

  1. The proposal review process includes a 30-minute interview between the applicant, First Literacy staff, and representatives from the First Literacy Community Advisory Council. We will consider a virtual meeting for applicants who would need to travel long distances.
  2. Project leaders will submit a short mid-year report by January 15, 2018.
  3. Project leaders are encouraged to discuss the project with the Director of Programs at First Literacy as it evolves. We are happy to offer support along the way.
  4. We understand that original ideas might change. Any amendment to project activities, evaluation, or budget must be approved by First Literacy.
  5. The Director of Programs may visit programs to assess project progress.
  6. Final reports describing project activities, final products, and project evaluation will be due no later than July 16, 2018. Reports will include electronic copies of all resources developed.  First Literacy will upload products from the project onto its website.
  7. Grantees will agree to make brief presentations on their projects at a First Literacy event in October 2017. Grantees will also agree to write a short reflection piece on their project for the First Literacy blog.
  8. Articles or presentations by grantees on Literacy Lab projects are encouraged and should include reference to First Literacy’s support of the project.

Dates/Timeline FY 2018

  • Release of Request for Proposals                 March 6, 2017
  • Information Session (All applicants are strongly encouraged to attend.)

March 15, 2017
3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
First Literacy
160 Boylston Street, 2nd Floor
(Across from the Boston Common)

  • Proposals Due                                                      April 14, 2017
    Send to                 5:00PM
  • Interviews of Applicants                                  May 1-May 31 (Individually scheduled)
    Required of all grant-award finalists
  • Announcement of Grant Awards                   June 16, 2017

Questions? Please contact Lenore Balliro, Director of Programs,