Annual campaign

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Created using the Donation Thermometer plugin$65,000Raised $19,050 towards the $65,000 target.$19,050Raised $19,050 towards the $65,000 target.29%
50 years of adult literacy

2024 represents the 50th anniversary of the Kalamazoo Literacy Council providing free, critical literacy and language skills to adults who struggle to read. We remain as passionate and steadfast as ever about serving those who need us and we offer deep gratitude for the many donors, volunteers, and partners who have supported us through the decades.  

Related: Stories of volunteer service and learner excellence

Our in-person and online programs strengthen reading, writing, spelling, and comprehension skills for native English speakers and English Language Learners. We believe everyone deserves access to quality adult literacy services that empower them to reach their full potential.  

2024 literacy advocates of the year

Edison Resident Scholars

In 2023, we recruited residents of the Edison neighborhood to form a task force where they shared their concerns and experiences living in Edison, and discussed opportunities for improvements around safety, beautification, and community building. They became the Edison Resident Scholars, a passionate group of citizens who began to take action to drive positive changes in and around the neighborhood.  

In Spring, they took a class called Place Matters!, taught by Dr. Karika Parker, through a partnership with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Western Michigan University. They learned about the¬† neighborhood’s origins and discovered historical gems about street names, industries, and landmarks. These studies revealed the legacy of Albert White, an African American builder responsible for several iconic structures including the Kalamazoo County building and WMU’s Heritage Hall. They learned that White had never been appropriately recognized for his achievements, and during a campus visit with President Edward Montgomery, raised their concerns. In Fall 2023, WMU held a historic commemoration for White, pledging to erect a permanent display and the following April (2024), they did just that. Heritage Hall is now home to a beautiful wall installation, celebrating its creator and all his contributions to Kalamazoo.¬†

The Edison Resident Scholars have been responsible for many community initiatives in a relatively short time. These include cleaning up a 1/8 mile path along the Portage Creek and established it as the Albert White Literacy Trail, which also features Literacy Lane, a play street and learning nook for all to enjoy. They also participated in a Photovoice workshop, where they documented their neighborhood experiences through pictures and journaling. That project resulted in the first Edison Photovoice art exhibit, which debuted at the Adult Literacy Research & Training Symposium.

This dynamic group of caring residents has made incredible progress transforming thoughts into actions and by doing so, they’ve created meaningful and lasting changes that positively impact the culture of the neighborhood and the surrounding community. We are proud to honor them with this award and look forward to all their future accomplishments. ¬†

The Edison Resident Scholars are a component of the Edison “EDucation IS ON” initiative, which serves to transform the neighborhood into a vibrant learning campus. It is supported in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Michigan, Western Michigan University, United Way of South Central Michigan, and the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo.¬†

Our Impact: Supporting the Resilience of Parents

Parent Literacy Together is a multi-generational learning initiative that helps parents improve their literacy and language skills so they can help their children and families succeed. It connects¬†parents who are reading at a low grade level to existing family literacy and child literacy programs and prepares them to be successful ‚Äúfirst teachers‚ÄĚ of their children.

The KLC engages parents of school-aged children with weekly in-person and online classes. We also offer outdoor learning in the Read and Seed Community Garden and Interpretive Learning Center, located at Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Michigan. Through this partnership, KLC parents of children ages 0-4 have access to free childcare in the Little Scholars Child Development Center. KLC parents also have access to our Workforce Literacy instruction for improving job skills, as well as Health Literacy, Financial Literacy, and Digital Literacy to improve the well-being of every household. We proudly serve these learners with a faculty of more than 200 trained volunteers.

Gilmore Foundation 1:1 Match 

Thanks to the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, new contributions or increased contributions from last year will be matched dollar-for-dollar. We encourage you to make a gift to the 2023 Everyone Needs to Read Annual Campaign and help us take advantage of this wonderful gift.

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In Kalamazoo County, more than 25,000 adults struggle to read.





Every Contribution makes a difference

  • $75 provides training materials and workbooks for one tutor and one student.
  • $150 provides annual subscriptions (newspapers, books, and magazines) for 10 adult learners.
  • $300 trains three volunteer tutors to begin literacy instruction.
  • $750 provides scholarships for 10 tutors or instructors to attend training workshops to sharpen their skills.
  • $1,000 funds the annual costs for materials, assessments, and instruction for 10 adult learners.
  • $2,500 funds the books and supplies for a Community Literacy Center that can serve 25 learners annually.
  • $5,000 funds the online academic instruction and in-class tutoring support for 50 adult learners annually.

Supporting tutor and student needs

The KLC provides free books and supplies to students and tutors so everyone who wants to learn how to read has the materials needed to take that very important step. Each tutor/student matched pair uses $100 annually in books and supplies. 


will be used to support 200 matched pairs.

Working Together

More than 30 organizations are working together as part of the Adult Literacy Collaboratives (ALC) of Kalamazoo County to ensure every adult has the educational level and skills to be successful at work, at home, and in the community. This group unites adult education, workforce development, literacy service providers, business, and other organizations to support the cause of adult literacy and is convened monthly by the KLC. Contact us for more information on the ALC. 


will be used to support the ALC.

Funds will support Parent Literacy Programs.

Workforce Development

Everyone needs to read to get a job. The JOBS Program strengthens critical literacy skills for the workplace.

Early Childhood Ed

Everyone needs to read to help their children learn. 186 parents study with the KLC and our "Parent Literacy Together" class helps parents and children can both enjoy learning.


Everyone needs to read to manage their health. Our "Read and Seed" Health Literacy Course helps learners make healthier decisions for their families.

All learners should have access to quality literacy services that empower them to reach their goals.

10th anniversary accolades

Allisa Chamberlin, 2020 Р2021 Board President 

There is nothing more rewarding for the¬† KLC than to see the impact we make in our community and in the lives of the learners we serve. Starting September 14, 2020, we’ll be celebrating our 10 year anniversary with 10 voices from community leaders, partners, tutors, and friends over 10 days. Click the video to hear from Allisa Chamberlin, our board president, who helps kicks things off and stay tuned for more accolades.¬†

We are forever grateful to our community for your support, as well as our tutors and learners for all your hard work! 

Michael D. Evans, Executive Director 

“Everyone Needs To Read is an ambitious effort to acheive a fully literate community.”

Click the video to hear more directly from the KLC’s executive director.¬†

Ron Kitchens, CEO Southwest Michigan First 

“I’m looking forward to another decade of amazing impact and families’ lives changed because the Kalamazoo Literacy Council believes in the power of reading.”¬†

Click the video to hear more of Ron’s powerful personal testament to literacy and his advocacy of the KLC.

Jim Edwards, Vice President Residential Services, KPEP 

“I have long been a KLC advocate, from serving as a Board Member, Past President and currently sitting on the Finance Committee. 2020 represents significant milestones for the Kalamazoo Literacy Council. 

Congratulations on 10 years of the Everyone Needs to Read Initiative. It is this initiative that has driven strategic board and agency planning decisions to expand reach, invest in the community, and implement best practices. The impact on individuals, families, and the community is truly remarkable. A more literate community is a more thoughtful, vibrant and thriving community. The KLC has certainly assisted Kalamazoo in being just that. 

This is also the 10 year anniversary of KLC Executive Director Michael D. Evans. The growth, adaptation, and progress would not be possible without Michael and his vision. From day one, Michael has embraced the mission while never slowing down. Michael’s leadership and compassion for the students has led to the Kalamazoo Literacy Council being the gold standard.¬†

Congratulations to Michael and the KLC on these anniversaries.‚ÄĚ


Dave Campbell, Kalamazoo RESA Superintendent  

Click the video to hear from Dave Campbell, KRESA superintendent, as he shares his thoughts on how the KLC helps ensure literacy becomes part of a family’s lifestyle.¬†
Thank you for considering a donation to our 2020 annual campaign! 

Lyda Stillwell, Volunteer Tutor and Assessor

“In 2001, I became a tutor for the KLC¬† and shortly after, joined the small governing group. At that time, the governing group was without an office or staff, yet took on all of the adult literacy responsibilities such as the care and distribution of the free tutoring books, tutor training, and the matching of tutors with learners. They also took on the difficult task of educating the greater community about the Literacy Council and its mission. At that time, even the word ‘literacy’ was uncommon. We knew the KLC needed to grow in every way!

Through a grant, a planning specialist was obtained and many weeks were devoted to dreaming, thinking, and planning. The result was the hiring of the first Director¬† ‚Äď Michael Evans. Through Michael‚Äôs efforts, a strong support foundation was established and the Council created a headquarters, a staff, a Board, and a broad network of community members.

Its newly created mission and vision was ‘Enhance the lives of adults by improving their reading, writing, spelling, and comprehension skills.¬† Empower adults to reach their full potential.’ This intention and commitment is a beacon to countless adults.”

L. Marshall Washington, Ph.D, President, KVCC

“Literacy is the cornerstone of learning.”

The partnership between the KLC and KVCC is integral to ensuring that learners have the educational supports in the community to help them reach their goals for success.

Click the video to hear more from Dr. Washington. 

Deb Holtz, Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries 

“Congratulations to you, Michael, and congratulations to the KLC on 10 years of helping guests in our community learn to read. That‚Äôs pretty exciting and you actually do so much more than helping people to read. I‚Äôm really proud to be a part of it. As a ministry, we are excited to partner with you; thank you for what you‚Äôre doing with the community. I love how you and your tutors, as a team, encourage people; you give them hope so they know that they can do this, that they can do whatever they want to do and that they can learn. Hope and encouragement are the biggest things to help people grow. I‚Äôve seen the KLC grow and change immensely over the last several years. I appreciate all you do for me personally and our ministry here at KGM. And, I really appreciate your support, help, and understanding.¬†Thank you so much and congratulations!”


Von Washington Jr., The Kalamazoo Promise 

“For the last 15 years, I’ve worked with the KLC in my work in K12 and the Kalamazoo Promise, as we support students and families to reach their goals. KLC fills the gap for individuals who’ve left thorough graduation or other challenging circumstances. The KLC aligns those goals, allowing them to be successful in the community and society for the global world. Those that do this work don’t do it for the accolades or for the huge amounts of money they think they will gain through their accomplishments – it’s a labor of love and a desire to change the human condition.¬†

Michael embodies that sentiment – his desire each and every day he wakes up is to eradicate illiteracy in Kalamazoo County. This is a tall order and one that requires someone with Michael’s fashion to see it through. I am fully convinced that he will not leave this position until it’s through, and the community is far better off because of his efforts. We need to continue to provide the much needed services to advance individuals, whether it be in their family, daily, or work lives.”¬†


Paula, KLC volunteer tutor and tutor trainer

Paula is one of the longest KLC supporters, having served as a board president and tutor/tutor trainer for 19 years. Through her efforts, hundreds of volunteers gain certification to become KLC tutors, teaching in the Laubach and Challenger methods. Paula is a beloved volunteer, literacy advocate, and donor Рwithout her, the KLC could not do the work we do! 

Click the video to hear more from Paula. 

Mary Doud, Kalamazoo Public Library

Mary is a beloved supporter of the Kalamazoo Literacy Council. We are deeply grateful for her advocacy and generosity! 

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Kalamazoo Literacy Council is a member organization of ProLiteracy. 

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