First Literacy Lab Grants Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who do I contact if I have questions?

A: Bryan McCormick, Program Director, may be reached at

Q: How many proposals may I submit?

A: Each program may submit any number of proposals. First Literacy will only fund one proposal per program.

Q: How should I submit my proposal?

A: Proposals will only be accepted via email. Send the grant proposal as a single PDF file to Bryan McCormick at We will be printing out and circulating the proposals to reviewers in hard copies.

Q: Why do I need to have an interview, and who will interview me?

A: Interviews give you a chance to tell us a little more about your ideas and how you plan to carry them out. It also gives you a chance to ask us questions. We envision the interview as a conversation via Zoom. You will meet with First Literacy staff, a member of the First Literacy Community Advisory Council, and a member of our Board of Directors.

Q: If we are awarded a grant, how are we paid?

A: First Literacy disburses half of the award by September 30, 2021. Your final report and final submission of grant materials are due June 15, 2022. We will pay your second installment by June 30, 2022 if we have received the final report and materials. We reserve the right to withhold final payment if the project is not completed.

Q: What am I expected to do as part of the Literacy Lab sharing presentation?

A: The lead teacher (and any collaborators) will present their project to ABE colleagues for 30-45 minutes at an event in October 2022. We will support you in designing your presentation.

Q: What kind of support may I expect from First Literacy?

A: Our intention is to help you implement a strong project. We are available to support you with any reasonable requests, such as finding resources, solving problems, adjusting to unexpected changes, etc.

Q: What kind of monitoring can I expect from First Literacy?

A: Bryan McCormick, Program Director, will schedule a site visit with you to look at the project in action, to check in on how things are progressing, and to see what support you might need.

Q: What kind of reporting will I be required to complete?

A: You will need to fill out an interim report and a final report that includes student demographic data, outcomes, and any final products. Reporting requirements will differ based on the awarded amount. Please note: We send all correspondence about the grant to each person who is part of the project.

Q: Why do you need the demographics of our students?

A: When we apply for grants, we are often asked about the demographics of students who benefit from our services. In your program application, you will be asked about the demographics of your program. If you receive a grant, you will share the demographics of students served by the project in your final report.

Q: I plan to submit a proposal to a conference based on my First Literacy Lab grant project, but I won’t know if I am accepted at the time of my grant submission. How should I handle this in the budget?

A: Use a provisional amount depending on whether your conference is in New England or out of state. Contact First Literacy when you are accepted. If you are not accepted, we can make a budget modification and change your award.

Q: What happens if things don’t work out the way we projected in our original proposal?

A: If you need to make a change, and your original goals are still on track, it’s probably fine. But you do need to contact First Literacy with your request, so we know about the changes and can approve them. This is particularly important if you are making budget change requests.

Q: Can you tell me more about the activities/outcomes chart?

A: The purpose of this chart is to think ahead about how you plan to implement your project. For example, in the first few weeks, you might want to do a pre-survey or assessment of some kind. In the weeks that follow, you will need to plan for certain tasks that will bring you closer to reaching your overall goal. We view this chart as a planning tool for you to think through the project step by step and to show us how you plan to proceed.

Q: Why do you give us a limited number of pages to write about our idea?

A: The Literacy Lab grants are small. We are looking for focused projects with clear goals and processes. The more focused you are, the clearer you will be about what you want to achieve.