Literacy Council receives Community Development Block Grant to expand and add services
JOINT PRESS RELEASE
Contact: Wendy Meyer-Schmidt, Public Information Officer
Kurt Stoppkotte, Executive Director
Phone: 308.385.5444 ext.148 (Wendy)
308.380.2181 (Kurt’s cell)
Release Date: March 2, 2017—Immediate
Literacy Council receives CDBG to expand and add services
GRAND ISLAND, Neb.— The City of Grand Island Community Development Division has recently awarded a $50,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to the Literacy Council of Grand Island. The council will use this funding to expand the English as a Second Language (ESL) program and offer more tutoring opportunities for adults. In addition, the organization will begin offering life skills classes, hiring teachers to instruct group classes, and developing the Language Lab by adding additional equipment and software.
The Literacy Council was established in 1981 and is a non-profit organization that provides free individualized literacy and English language instruction. Student numbers have increased dramatically, tripling in the past three years from 105 students served in 2013 to 323 in 2016. The CDBG grant will allow the Literacy Council to expand services to more effectively meet the crucial need for literacy training in Grand Island.
Charley Falmlen, community development administrator, said, “The Literacy Council’s grant application was very well-researched and executed. The agency is motivated and driven to do this expansion and to do it right.”
The Literacy Council will provide the Community Development Division with quarterly reports, regarding the ongoing implementation of the program.
Kurt Stoppkotte, executive director of the Literacy Council of Grand Island said, “While the Literacy Council provides educational services to all members of the Grand Island community, the vast majority of our students are immigrants and refugees. This grant will allow individuals to learn the skills necessary to obtain employment, education, and to continue to become productive individuals within the community of Grand Island.”
Stoppkotte went on to say, “The Literacy Council of Grand Island would like to thank the City of Grand Island for supporting the important work we do and for recognizing the transformative impact that literacy education has not only on the lives of our students, but on the overall well-being of the Grand Island community.”
In October 2015, the city was awarded an annual allocation of $348,927 from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Program. Falmlen wrote the 2016-17 Annual Action Plan based on community needs established in community wide plans such as Grow Grand Island. In August 2016, the Grand Island City Council approved the plan which included various projects throughout Grand Island to benefit low-to-moderate income persons or areas.
Falmlen stated, “One of the overarching goals of the 2016-2017 Annual Action Plan is to support public services for vulnerable populations. The Literacy Council directly aligns with the City’s CDBG goals.”
As part of this plan, the Community Development Division created a “Continuum of Care” grant to be awarded to a Continuum of Care member. The Continuum of Care is a Housing Urban Development (HUD) directed collaboration which aligns service providers with the continuum of services offered to low income persons.
Other CDBG allocations available this year include a Small Business Rental Assistance Program for a large section of Grand Island’s downtown Railside area, lot acquisition support for Habitat for Humanity, and a design program for Railside among others. Additional grants for public services, such as the grant awarded to the Literacy Council, should be available again at the end of 2017.