Funding innovation in adult literacy to change lives.


Adult literacy is an often overlooked yet persistent issue in the United States and in Massachusetts. At First Literacy we know that adult literacy can change everything – from earning potential, to a child’s academic success, to recidivism rates. At First Literacy we envision a world in which all adults are able to reach their full potential. We are committed to supporting the continuum of Adult Basic Education (ABE) by offering free professional development workshops for teachers, grants for innovative new programs, and scholarships to adults continuing to higher education or vocational training. Our goal is to ensure that adult learners and adult educators receive the support and resources they need to make our vision a reality.

Since First Literacy was established, we have helped over 50,000 adults improve their lives through the power of education and allocated more than $6 million to support teachers and innovative literacy programs. Our impact is far-reaching and life-changing.


In 1988, a consortium of public and private sector leaders, including Mayor Raymond Flynn and Boston Globe publisher William O. Taylor, established the Boston Adult Literacy Fund (BALF) to expand and improve Adult Basic Education (ABE) in Boston. Twenty years later, BALF became First Literacy. Today, our professional development workshops, program grants, and scholarships continue to work in concert to change the lives of adult learners throughout Massachusetts.

First Literacy Mayor Raymond Flynn in 1988 with BALF supporters

Mayor Raymond Flynn in 1988 with BALF supporters

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