Adult Literacy Empowers

Adult literacy lifts each adult learner, their family, and their community, but is often overlooked in our national dialogue on education. At First Literacy we are on a mission to improve the lives of adults with low-literacy. With help from you and thousands of others, our impact is significant and life changing.

Our Impact In 2021


benefited from First Literacy programs


participated in First Literacy Lab program grant projects


in Massachusetts were reached through 81 adult education programs


attended First Literacy workshops


of free training helped adult educators in their classrooms


received First Literacy scholarships to start or continue college

Literacy Lab Grants

Since the introduction of the First Literacy Lab initiative in 2014, we have supported the development of innovative literacy programs across Massachusetts with unique hands-on technical support and field-wide sharing of project results. Programs that have not received First Literacy Lab funds in the past 10 years are eligible for up to $7,500 in the first year. Grants are unrestricted, and open to all Adult Basic Education (ABE) nonprofit programs in Massachusetts.

“Funding from First Literacy, that is unrestricted in terms of eligibility (immigration status, welfare status, referral systems, residence or employability), allows us to create and maintain our specialized morning class for non- or low-literacy learners. Simply, First Literacy funding ensures literacy instruction for the highest-need students.”

– Lab Grant Recipient

Professional Development

Supporting the front line in adult education helps to ensure that adult learners receive the high-quality education they need to reach their full potential. Our professional development workshops provide free quality training on evidence-based, best-practice techniques and materials for adult literacy professionals. Dozens of workshop sessions are offered each year addressing the field’s current and immediate needs.

“I always come away reinvigorated by the presenters and the attendees at the First Literacy Workshops. I am not paid for attending PD and am not reimbursed for attending MCAE so I especially appreciate your wonderful workshops. They keep me going! Thank you!”

– Workshop attendee


Since the Scholarship Program was initiated in 1990, we have awarded over 500 scholarships to adult learners throughout Massachusetts. Eligibility is based solely on recommendations from the student’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) program, acceptance to a college program, and proof of financial need.

“I now know that there is no age or time limit for beginning my new life. First Literacy has shown me what direction to take to achieve my goal. I have learned that no matter how difficult my situation, I should never give up.”

– First Literacy Scholar

Your donation will help create life-changing educational opportunities for adults with low-literacy and limited English proficiency throughout Massachusetts.