Mission and History



Mission

Founded 30 years ago, First Literacy’s mission is to ensure that adults with low-literacy or limited English proficiency have high-quality educational opportunities that enable them to thrive as individuals and as family members, in their workplaces, and in their communities. We see that by supporting the front line in adult education—teachers, tutors and program administrators—students benefit. Our goals are to:

  • offer free best practice workshops for teachers and other adult education professionals;
  • encourage, support, and share innovative practices, curriculum and resources through our First Literacy Lab program grant initiative; and
  • award scholarships and provide support for adult learners who are starting college.

History

Mayor Raymond Flynn in 1988 with BALF supporters

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. Our professional development workshops for adult educators, our grants and technical assistance to literacy programs, and our scholarships to literacy students work in concert to support adult literacy in and around Greater Boston and throughout Massachusetts.

Since First Literacy was established, we have

  • helped 50,000+ adults improve their lives and their families’ futures by achieving their educational goals;
  • raised awareness and allocated more than $6 million for adult literacy;
  • given thousands of hours of free technical assistance to literacy programs, and free professional development to teachers; and
  • awarded 500 college scholarships.