United Way of Greater New Haven has teamed up with the Literacy Coalition of Greater New Haven following their dissolution this fall to continue the mission of supporting literacy for all ages. By consolidating efforts, United Way will offer literacy resources and volunteer opportunities, as well as share the message about literacy challenges, programs, and ways to help. “When our Board of Directors was looking for a partner to help us continue our mission, we knew that United Way would be an excellent place--with its volunteer orientation and professional capacity--for the work to endure,” commented Josiah Brown, Board Chair for the Literacy Coalition of Greater New Haven. “Their existing programs will be strengthened by the resources and relationships that our volunteers have worked so hard to develop.”
The Coalition was founded in 2003 by the late Christine Alexander, who served as the inaugural Board Chair during her early years as founding Executive Director of New Haven Reads, which has continued to grow. In 2008, Alexander was one of two recipients of the national United Way of America Volunteer of the Year Award, and that same year, she and her husband Bruce Alexander received the United Way of Greater New Haven Tocqueville Society Award in recognition of their service to the region.
In 2009, the Coalition joined as a founding partner in the Literacy Resource Center in New Haven’s Science Park. The Center is a hub for free tutoring, books, computer classes, and employment support services. Over nearly two decades, the Coalition mobilized members of the community to be volunteers, convened a Literacy Forum series that drew three state education commissioners and numerous others as panelists, and served as a champion for literacy and learning.
United Way has been bringing literacy and learning skills to people in need for over 100 years through ongoing work to advance education opportunities, volunteer efforts like the annual Read Across America event, and partnerships with schools across the region. Jennifer Heath, President & CEO of United Way of Greater New Haven commented, “We are honored to pick up the mantle and continue supporting literacy in greater New Haven. Our existing work will be strengthened by these additional literacy resources and we are excited to welcome Coalition partners and volunteers to join us as we move forward.” The mission of the Literacy Coalition aligns well with United Way’s ongoing commitment to create a region where everyone can reach their full potential.
“We would also like to recognize the 46 individuals who have served on the Board of Directors of the Literacy Coalition over the years for their amazing dedication and passion,” said Heath. The current Board of Directors includes: Earl Bloodworth, David Braze, Josiah Brown, Curtis Hill, Susan Holahan, Suzannah Holsenbeck, John Jessen, Kirsten Levinsohn, J. Gregory McVerry, and Lou Perno.
Those interested in getting involved in expanding literacy in greater New Haven can visit www.uwgnh.org/local-literacy-resources for resources and ways to help.
About United Way of Greater New Haven:
United Way of Greater New Haven fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in greater New Haven. The organization brings people and organizations together to create solutions to the region's most pressing challenges so that everyone can reach their full potential. Join the movement to Live United at www.uwgnh.org.