ProLiteracy Conference on Adult Literacy

Professional development is universally accepted as best practice. Not only is it important for organizational leaders to constantly be aware of trends, best practices, and new resources, but it’s also an important opportunity for staff to rejuvenate and network.

BEACON for Adult Literacy was recently awarded a ProLiteracy Conference Innovation Grant to attend the National ProLiteracy Conference on Adult Literacy in Minneapolis, Minnesota September 27th through September 30th. Made possible through the National Center for Families Learning, the award provided the funds possible for BEACON’s Executive Director, Jen Mora Zuniga, to travel and attend the conference.

The ProLiteracy Conference is offered every two years and is focused on providing literacy programs of all sizes with tools and strategies as well as enhance leadership skills, and implement dynamic programming. The conference did not disappoint and Mora Zuniga left with practical information/strategies that will be instrumental in further developing BEACON’s strategic planning.

“It was reassuring to hear that across the country literacy programs face many of the same challenges,” she said. One of the biggest challenges that programs face today is diversifying income in the face of decreased federal and grantor funding. Mora Zuniga reported that it was eye-opening to hear that fundraising efforts focused on individual donors and public relations are far more effective than efforts focused primarily on grants and events. BEACON’s strategic plan has long been to decrease grant dependency, but the conference provided an abundance of examples of how other organizations are already successfully diversifying their funding.

Mora Zuniga found the Why your PR plan is more important than your Fundraising Plan and Stop the Grant Writing Madness workshops to be the most valuable for BEACON. “I walked away with a number of practical approaches to build awareness of Adult Literacy Education’s significant impact on the community, to increase our networks with people who are passionate about Adult Literacy and to raise funds in the process.”

The ProLiteacy Conference on Adult Education will certainly be considered a must attend event for BEACON in the future. There are already a number of strategies/resources being integrated into the program as a result.