Educational Institutions


aka The Literacy Council

Lancaster, PA


Mission: To promote life-long learning, and learning for life.

Vision: Adults have the skills to transform their lives, sustain their families and strengthen their communities.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Cheryl L Hiester

Main Address

407 Lafayette Street

Lancaster, PA 17603 USA


Lancaster Lebanon





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Adult, Continuing Education (B60)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

More than 64,000 adults living in our service area struggle with basic literacy skills. 15% of adults in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties do not have a high school diploma and more than 13% speak a language other than English. 58% of our students read below the 6th grade level. By 2020, the American Action Forum projects that the US will be short an estimated 7.5 million workers across all levels. adult education is here to prepare adults for jobs by teaching the skills they will need to be successful at work. According to Adecco State of the The Economy Survey, 92% of business leaders think that US workers are not as skilled as they need to be. Adult education gives motivated adults an opportunity to address their skill gap and improve their lives through education.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Adult Basic Education

English as a Second Language (ESL)

High School Equivalency Diploma Preparation

Tutor Training

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

The Literacy Council's vision for our community is that adults have the skills to transform their lives, sustain their families and strengthen their communities. Our aspirational goal is that all adults in our service are have a postsecondary education credential and a good job. Our organizational goals are:

1. Expand our outreach, advocacy, community engagement and collaboration efforts.
2. Ensure student achievement and accountability.
3. Diversify and grow our funding streams so that we can serve more people.
4. Ensure an organizational culture of lifelong learning.

Our program goals address students enrolling in classes, persisting in the program and meeting their goals.
1. We will serve 1,000 adults.
2. We will track student achievement by measuring learning gains, job attainment, job retention, transition to postsecondary education and attainment of a high school equivalency diploma.

The Literacy Council meets each learner where they are and helps them begin their journey as an adult learner. We use research and evidence based instructional strategies, curriculum and materials. We hire qualified and trained instructional staff. We use an individualized approach to teaching and learning. Our teachers practice a career pathways model that focuses on transitioning to the next step in an adult's live - job, continuing education, job training, job advancement. Our students receive case management and transitional counseling and education navigation to help them chart their career path. Students participate in an individual diagnostic interview and are tested in reading, writing, math and English language fluency. Students participate in goal planning activities. Students are placed in the instruction setting that best meets their educational needs and their practical needs. They receive ongoing assessment and feedback.

Progress is monitored with standardized assessment and case management.

The Literacy Council has 9 full time staff, 7 adjunct teachers and more than 125 trained and qualified volunteer tutors to serve adult learners in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties. The Literacy Council has a strong board of directors committed to the work. In 2016, The Literacy Council received the Pennsylvania Association for Nonprofit Organization's Standards for Excellence Accreditation.

The Literacy Council understands the value of collective impact and practices collaboration in our every day work. We work with more than 40 organizations in our community to help us bring in more resources to serve more people. It is important for The Literacy Council to work with employers and postsecondary education providers to ensure a smooth transition for our students. We work with libraries who provide classroom, meeting space and outreach. We work with school districts to reach parents who are struggling. We work with community based organizations to ensure that students with barriers can find the support services they need to help them complete their educational goals.

The Literacy Council engages in evaluation on several levels. First, we measure program success through student achievement. We measure enrollment, retention, learning gains, high school equivalency attainment, employment and college enrollment against national standards established by the US Department of Education through the National Reporting System. Each year, The Literacy Council meets and exceeds standards.

We also measure progress through our strategic goals. Using the Balanced Score Card process of strategic planning, our organizational goals tie all aspects of our organizational work together. The board establishes the organizational wide strategies and determines what will we do, where we will do it and who we will serve. The staff determines how we will do the work.

The board and review the strategic blueprint on a regular basis and we connect staff evaluations and annual goals to the blueprint, ensuring support of our most valuable assets.

Ultimately, we want to see the needle move in our community in terms of high school completion the attainment of an industry recognized credential for all adults in the community. We are working with United Way and other partners to track impact and return on investment beyond the program year.

The Literacy Council trains volunteer tutors who provided more than 17,000 hours of service in program year 2016-2017. Last year, 381 students got a job. 16 students attained a high school equivalency diploma. 33 students transitioned to college and 444 student improved their reading, writing, math and English langue skills. The Literacy Council is the lead agency for a collective impact partnership that works with a network of providers to support immigrant and refugee integration. Through this partnership, we have reduced wait time for entry into an ESL class from 30 days to less than 7 days. We are meeting and exceeding standards for student achievement.

Moving forward, The Literacy Council will strengthen its career pathways programming by engaging employers to help us create articulated career paths to jobs in high growth industries. We will work with higher education and job training providers to help our students become aware of career options, explore career choices, get the skills they need to take the next step and provide the support services to ensure that they make it to the next step on their career path.

External Reviews

Awards & Accreditations

Since 2016



Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?