BBJ Nonprofit Awards 2018: The Literacy Council of Central Alabama – Winner



What is your organization’s main goal to achieve? To provide the literacy skills necessary for people in Central Alabama to become more independent, meet their goals, realize their dreams, and have the knowledge needed for increased education and employment opportunities.

How long have you been in operation? 27 years, since 1991

What population do you typically serve? TLC serves men, women and children, ranging in age from 8-88, from more than 70 countries. Some attended college, some dropped out of middle school and some became caretakers before the age of 10. All voluntarily seek TLC services to improve their lives.

What is the greatest challenge facing nonprofits today? Nonprofits can affect greater change with greater capacity. With increased capacity (larger staff, increased funding and expanded programs), nonprofits can reduce participation barriers that affect vulnerable community members.

What is Birmingham doing right when it comes to nonprofits? Birmingham exudes a culture of philanthropy and collaboration. Birmingham residents and corporate community understand the importance of nonprofits filling gaps in services. Community members generously shares time, talent and treasure to transform lives.

What role has changing technology played in your organization? It has increased organizational efficiency and our ability to track tutor participation and learner progress. Technology has also accelerated the rate people we serve are displaced from their jobs, resulting in an increased demand for our services.

What can Magic City residents and its leaders do to help nonprofits succeed? Become our advocates. Tell our stories to those who can make a difference. Volunteer and encourage volunteerism. Ensure that nonprofits are included and represented in conversations, planning and action meetings addressing systemic change in our community.

What is your philosophy on community service in 10 words or less? Listen to, connect with, and value people and their efforts.

What steps are you taking to ensure institutional knowledge is not lost with so many baby boomers retiring from the nonprofit field? TLC is documenting processes and the thought behind those processes. In addition, TLC works closely with undergraduate students and interns to share knowledge from one generation to the next.