Match Challenge goal exceeded, raising more than $266,000 from the community at the end of 2017 

On Thursday, November 9th, Literacy Network announced a match challenge of $125,000 from several of our most loyal and generous donors. By the end of the evening, additional donors contributed $68,800.

I am an assembly person at Ultratec and worked there for 7 years.  I use English a lot.  My supervisor told me that my English is better than when I started.  When I started I learned everything by watching their hands.  I did not understand what they were saying.” – Celia Gomez who spoke at our Growing Through Literacy Reception

We are happy to share that 89 donors helped us exceed our match goal, raising $141,760 by the end of 2017!   We are so grateful to the donors who believe in this work. Gifts to the capital campaign ensure that we can continue to increase the number of students served.  They ensure that our doors remain open and welcoming to all the adults who need to improve their literacy skills.
Thank you for being part of adult literacy education. Thank you for moving us closer to the goal of raising $3 million to increase our impact. The campaign will continue in 2018 as we work to ensure that more students have access to services in Dane County.

2016 was an amazing year thanks to your dedication to adult learners.

On September 12, we moved into our new learning center, expanding our space by more than three times. Most importantly, the new learning center provides dignity and respect to adults who have had negative experiences with education. You opened doors to new opportunity for nearly 1,200 adults. Thank you so much for your support!

As you’ll see in this report, we have celebrated many amazing achievements – people who became U.S. citizens, helped their children succeed in school, got new jobs, and gained promotions because of their hard work in our individualized literacy programs. Lupe is a student in one of our customized workplace English programs at North Central Group. Lupe says the classes have helped make communicating with guests and coworkers easier. She’s not afraid to answer the phone, and she finds it much easier to speak with the maintenance crew. Her goal is to become a housekeeping manager by taking classes to improve her English. We were honored to partner with NCG, their employees, and so many other organizations and companies in Dane County to reach more adults in 2016.

1 in 7 adults in Dane County needs us. With a new facility, more community support, and increased numbers served, we are poised to continue meeting the literacy needs of residents here in Dane County. We thank you for your continued dedication to supporting the hopes and dreams of adults and families in Dane County.


Jeff Burkhart, Executive Director
Maureen Miner, Board President


Rennebohm Foundation boosts Literacy Network capital campaign over two-million-dollar mark with $50,000 gift

Literacy Network and Madison Path to Citizenship receive UW-Madison Community-University Partnerships Award

$250,000 Challenge and Match


A group of very generous donors has stepped up to issue a $250,000 challenge. Gifts to the campaign of any amount from now until January 31 will be matched dollar for dollar up to $250,000.

Your gifts will help Literacy Network build capacity to double the number of adult learners we serve. Here’s a snapshot of our services this fall:

  • More than 730 people are participating in Literacy Network classes
  • 252 of those adults are receiving one on one tutoring
  • 283 volunteers are serving our adult learners
  • The session began with 114 learners on the waiting list
  • Individuals may have to wait up to 6 months for a tutor

Imagine no waiting lists. Imagine every adult in Dane County who wants to improve their literacy skills and their lives has the opportunity to do so. Imagine children being read to by their parents at home. Imagine people filling out job applications confidently. Imagine people being able to read prescription labels and stop unnecessary trips to the hospital. It is all possible!

Please make your gift to our Growing Through Literacy campaign today and open the doors of opportunity for hundreds of our Dane County neighbors.

Thank you to The Goodman Foundation, Madison Community Foundation, US Bank, Tom Terry, Bea and Lau Christensen, Findorff, Dave and Terri Beck-Engel, and Fred and Nancy Gants for coming together to issue this challenge and match.




Grand Opening Photo Gallery

Thank you to all who joined us for the official Grand Opening of Literacy Network’s new learning center. We had a great time and the place was packed! Here are a few photos from the evening.

Photo Credit: Marcus Miles Photography


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Grand Opening Celebration

Please join us for our Grand Opening of our brand new home on Wednesday, October 26 from 4:30pm to 6:30pm at 701 Dane St., Madison, Wisconsin 53713. 

We will have a short program featuring Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, Madison College President Jack Daniels III, a learner and Literacy Network board member along with a ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of our new learning center! During the program we’ll be making an announcement about a gift to the campaign that will help propel us forward.

After the ribbon cutting, enjoy appetizers, cake and a tour of the new building!

Inside, we will unveil our beautiful donor wall created in collaboration with Dane Arts. All donors who contributed at least $1,000 will be recognized. If you have not yet contributed to the campaign, you may do so now!

Hope to see you at the Grand Opening party! Please RSVP here.



A Learner Success Story

Congratulations to Lyjya Miles, who was sworn into the Madison Police Department this week! THIS is why we do what we do!

See more of NBC 15’s coverage here:


Your name in Dane Arts mural!

Dane Arts muralists have created this beautiful 15 foot donor wall that you'll see when you enter the building.

Dane Arts muralists have created this beautiful 15 foot donor wall that you’ll see when you enter the building.

We’re happy to share that Dane Arts is supporting our project by assigning a team of muralists to custom design a donor recognition mural. Donors who have given at least $1,000 to the campaign will have their names included in this beautiful creative project!

The mural uses paper samples of Literacy Network learner writing from hand written papers and books. The pages have been painted and incorporated into a scene that the muralists designed in cooperation with Literacy Network staff.

Many thanks to Mark Fraire, Sharon Kilfoy, Alicia Rheal, and all of the students who have been a part of this wonderful work of community art! Don’t miss this great opportunity to have your name included in the mural. Donate today to support the project!

Adult learners deserve a quality learning center

“When you want to explain something and you don’t have a way to explain, it’s a wall,” Mario explained. “But, now it’s more open. This opened the doors. Now I can feel free.”  Thanks to the help they got at Literacy Network, Mario and his wife Maria have a thriving business, Evolution Cleaning. “I can explain more to them over the phone. I can feel more happy because now, my clients, we can talk about each other. Sometimes my clients ask about my life, my kids, my car. We can talk about more topics,” said Mario.

Mario’s success is just one of more than 800 workplace success stories over the last year. Literacy Network serves more than a thousand adults each year. 90% of our learners have a low income. Learners come from 68 different countries.

The need is great. Approximately 55,000 adults in Dane County struggle with low literacy, and the number is increasing. Low literacy means not being able to read prescription labels, notes from your child’s teacher or a job application.

Literacy Network has helped a growing number of adult learners reach their goals since 1974. Workplace goal achievement is up 20% in the last two years, and student persistence has increased 30% in that time period.

For the last 14 years, we’ve been in a Park Street location that is too small. Students are often packed into classrooms, and there are only a two tutoring spaces for individual work. It is an environment that doesn’t afford dignity to adult learners. So we are on a path to build our capacity and better serve adult learners.

Last year, we purchased a building for half the appraised value thanks to the generosity of Dean/St. Mary’s. It is four times the size of our current building, and in the heart of South Madison, where the poverty rate is more than 26%. Renovations have started. In just five weeks, we will move out of our rented space into this renovated building. But to do so, we need your help.

Literacy Network learners will have a dedicated space for childcare, a real library, five tutoring spaces and large classrooms. But paying for the building renovations, a technology lab, and operational support is where we need your help. When we reach our $3 million campaign goal, we will double the number of adults we serve through basic reading, writing, and language education. Now through the end of July, your online gift at will be match dollar for dollar by our campaign team and generous donors.

I invite you to tour the new space where adult learners will feel dignity, respect, and excitement about meeting their personal literacy goals. Mario’s story of success is one inspiring example. Will you support families like Mario and Maria’s? Learn more about how you can support their dreams at

Jeff Burkhart,

Executive Director, Literacy Network of Dane County