LITERACY VOLUNTEERS OF GREATER HARTFORD

Read.Learn.Grow

aka LVGH   |   Hartford, CT   |  lvgh.org

Mission

The mission of Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford is to create a community of fully literate adults through student-centered instruction that catalyzes career readiness and advancement.

Ruling year info

1999

Executive Director

Ms Carol DeVido Hauss

Main address

30 Arbor Street Suite 101 South

Hartford, CT 06106 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

23-7237570

NTEE code info

Adult, Continuing Education (B60)

Employment Training (J22)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford addresses the critical literacy issue facing the Greater Hartford community. According to the National Institute for Literacy, 41% of Hartford adult residents function at the lowest literacy level and 73% perform within the lowest two literacy levels. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports (2019)that full-time workers age 25 and older had median weekly earnings of $975. Those without a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $606, compared with $749 for high school graduate. 43% of low literate adults live in poverty, and patients with low literacy skills have a 50% increased risk of hospitalization. Research also indicates that the best predictor of a child's literacy level is that of his or her mother. (ProLiteracy)

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Basic Literacy

Our Basic Literacy program focuses on helping adults whose native language is English to improve their basic reading and writing skills. Most of the students in this program read and write below a sixth-grade level upon enrollment. In recent years, we have added Pre-GED and GED-level classes to this program to provide a continuum of educational services for our students.
Instruction is provided by highly trained volunteers, who teach small group classes using a standard curriculum designed for adults.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Economically disadvantaged people

Our ESOL program is designed for adults whose native language is not English who wish to improve their English literacy and communication skills. Instruction is provided by highly trained volunteers, who teach small group classes using a standard curriculum designed for adults.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Immigrants and migrants

The adults who come to LVGH for basic literacy or English instruction often also lack the basic computer skills needed to obtain employment. Our digital literacy program has two main components: (1) drop-in computer lab access with one-on-one volunteer support; and (2) computer & internet instruction integrated into our literacy/English classes. Topics of instruction include basic computer usage, keyboarding, Internet use, creating resumes, and completing online job searches and applications. In addition, all students have access to literacy software and online educational resources that support their literacy/English learning while also helping them to develop digital skills.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Economically disadvantaged people

Career Pathways provides language and digital literacy instruction, career counseling, job training and employer engagement services to move low and very low literate adults forward along the career pathway, eventually leading to sustained employment at a livable wage.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Awards

Literacy Best Practices Award 2014

Library of Congress

External assessments

Evaluated via the Impact Genome Project (2019)

Affiliations & memberships

Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) 2005

ProLiteracy America 1972

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of program participants who receive a secondary school diploma or GED

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Economically disadvantaged people, People with learning disabilities

Related Program

Basic Literacy

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) developed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Career Pathways

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Program launched in 2016. Each student works with a Career Counselor to develop an individualized career pathway plan, identifying career goals, steps toward goals, potential obstacles and solutions.

Number of clients participating in educational programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Economically disadvantaged people, Immigrants and migrants

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

2020-Pandemic, all classes pivoted to virtual in March 2020 through the end of the year.

Number of adults who received literacy services

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Economically disadvantaged people, Immigrants and migrants

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

2020- Pandemic. All classes pivoted to virtual in March 2020 through the end of the year.

Number of students who demonstrate improved overall literacy

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Immigrants and migrants, Unemployed people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

The mission of Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford is to create a community of fully literate adults through student-centered instruction that catalyzes career readiness and advancement.

Nationally recognized by the Library of Congress with a Best Practices Literacy Award, our program is unique in the population it serves – very low and low literate adults - and in the way we provide services - through small group, slow-paced, volunteer-led instruction. This small group approach works well with students who cannot learn in the larger, faster paced classes offered at other public and non-profit agencies. Unlike some volunteer-based programs, our classes follow a recognized curriculum that is in alignment with Hartford Adult Education; student progress is regularly evaluated using standardized testing, formative and summative methods. Students benefit from a learning environment enriched with technology. Classes are offered both in person and online to accommodate diverse learning styles, mitigate geographic, transportation, child care and scheduling barriers to in person attendance, and of course, to sustain education through global health crises.

Our volunteers are rigorously trained before placement, regularly observed and evaluated, and must participate in ongoing training throughout their tenure with us. They are trained to teach both in person and online.

These factors combine to provide a highly professional program, embedded with significant accountability measures.

LVGH is known for its cutting edge, student-centered, technology-enriched curriculum that successfully meets the needs of low literate adults. As a volunteer-based program, committed to best practices in adult education and volunteer management, LVGH has provided this community with quality, cost-effective adult literacy services since 1972. At the same time, LVGH provides the community with enriching opportunities for volunteerism that build bridges of understanding between segments of the community that would not otherwise engage with each other. LVGH's commitment to collaborating with partners who can enrich and extend services to our students not only enables us to serve students more holistically, but utilizes the many community resources already available, rather than duplicating them. Professional staffing is in place to develop and nurture the partnerships, educational programming and volunteer engagement to support and sustain the program. The Board of Directors provides strong governance and fundraising leadership. As a volunteer-based organization, with expertise in volunteer recruitment, development and management, LVGH is able to deliver quality programming at the very reasonable cost of approximately $1,000/student/year. Board and staff are strategic and purposeful in the agency's financial planning and fundraising efforts. Combined, these factors ensure the sustainability of the agency and its programs. LVGH also has the internal fiscal controls and systems in place to ensure funding is allocated appropriately.

Enrollment at LVGH has increased over the past five years despite declining enrollment in adult education across the state. We credit this to our reputation for providing quality programming in a welcoming, supportive environment. Although the pandemic curbed enrollment growth this past year, all programs were sustained throughout the crisis, with services expanded to include virus and vaccine-related health literacy, assistance making and accessing vaccination appointments. With the rise in vaccination rates in Connecticut, we expect to see enrollment build again in 2021-2022.

The success of the Career Pathways program has perhaps been our biggest program achievement in recent years. This program has enabled our students to find life-changing employment, while having a significant impact on our employer partners' capacity to attract and retain quality employees. During the pandemic, the food services job training program not only continued throughout as a take-out service, but became a significant food security resource to the community, tripling the number of meals produced and served.

Financially, the organization remains strong, despite state and city budget cuts, and the ongoing uncertainty in the funding environment. Anticipating these challenges, the Board and staff have focused heavily on fundraising efforts, successfully raising record dollars last year. In addition, both Board and staff engaged in intensive fundraising training, in preparation for launching a major donor and planned giving initiative in the coming year. Unlike many non-profits who were forced to close either temporarily or permanently, Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford was able to sustain programming and remains financially healthy post-pandemic.

An undesignated $1.0 million bequest enabled the Board to establish the Literacy Volunteers Endowment Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving that not only provides income, but inspires additional giving, further securing the agency's future and its capacity to grow and adapt to changing community needs.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Our students are low income, low literate adults, both immigrants learning English and English-speakers learning to read, their families and communities. 95% of our students are persons of color; 70% are non-native English speakers. Many are re-entry citizens, some are homeless and some may be undocumented. Typically, our student body is about 40% Latino, 30% Black, 15% Asian and 15% Caucasian. Most students are between the ages of 25 and 59. The majority of our students are employed; however, the majority also live at or below the poverty level. Most of our ESOL students speak Spanish or Portuguese as a first language, with Creole and Arabic the next most prevalent first languages.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Individual and class feedback; most of the above strategies are ineffective with a low literate popu,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    When students asked for help navigating the multi-faceted challenges they faced during the pandemic, we developed a new program to provide multiple supports and education. Listening to students, however, we re-shaped our original vaccine hesitancy curriculum to be more than a science-based lesson. We recognized the need to honor the impact of students' unique cultural perspectives and identities around the health care system and vaccinations, in particular, and integrate those into the teaching process. We also reshaped what we saw as straight-forward science-based teaching but that could be construed as judgemental.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Many of our students have had a negative experience with education as youth. It is where they lost their self-confidence and belief in their ability to succeed. LVGH is the first time that they are put in charge of their education. They are empowered to speak up about what they need to meet their goals; this is as much a part of the educational experience as the language and literacy classes. And it makes not only the student feel stronger and more capable, it makes our program more relevant and effective.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

LITERACY VOLUNTEERS OF GREATER HARTFORD
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

LITERACY VOLUNTEERS OF GREATER HARTFORD

Board of directors
as of 5/10/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Jared Chase

Pension Real Estate Association

Term: 2019 - 2022

Carol Hauss

Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford

Kara Venus

evariant

Christine Williams

The Hartford

Les Katahara

Pratt Whitney

Trish Hesslein

Tribune

MaryBeth Cardin

PNT Data

Neha Pande

HSB

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 05/10/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/10/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.