Seeds of Literacy | Innovation Grantee


Seeds of Literacy, one of three Innovation Grant recipients, was rewarded by the National Literacy Directory for its creative solution to a common literacy challenge: recruiting students and volunteers. Learn more about how Seeds was able to increase its enrollment below, and click here and here for more examples of innovative literacy programming.

Seeds of Literacy

logoSeeds of Literacy (Cleveland, Ohio) is an innovative adult literacy program that relies on individualized curricula and one-on-one tutoring to help students who were not successful in traditional education settings. With the help of over 250 volunteers, Seeds offers free basic education and GED preparation to nearly 1,000 adults annually. Its official GED test section pass rate is 87 percent – higher than the state rate of 67 percent.

Almost half of Seeds’ students hear about its programs and services through word-of-mouth and fliers. To help spread the word and help its students, Seeds created student recruiter positions and hired former or current students who knew the community. Before hitting the streets to knock on doors, the two student recruiters received training on effective communication and outreach skills from the executive director, volunteer and outreach coordinators, and the development officer.

Not only has Seeds’ enrollment skyrocketed by 23 percent since June 2016, but these student recruiters were able to gain part-time employment and valuable job skills.

“Positive word-of-mouth advertising carries great weight with our students,” said Bonnie Entler, executive director at Seeds. “They trust what peers, family, and friends say about a program.”

Seeds will be using its Innovation Grant to print fliers to reach potential students in neighborhood gaps it found using historical data, along with reaching out to potential non-profit partners it identified using United Way’s 211 mapping tool system.

The National Literacy Directory is a community of innovative leaders, learners, educators, and student-champions. NCFL is amazed time and again at the stories and strategies of success that come pouring from the Directory’s more than 7,000 literacy and learning organizations each time it accepts Innovation Grant applications to recognize innovative solutions to persistent challenges. To find out more about the National Literacy Directory’s grant opportunities, subscribe to the National Center for Families Learning’s monthly e-newsletter. To learn about joining the Directory or creating an account, click here.