Penny Severns Family Literacy Program Illinois State Library
Grant projects provide integrated, intensive instruction to improve the basic reading, writing skills, math or English language proficiency of parents and children together. Services include adult education, child education, parenting education, literacy-based, interactive, parent-child activities and library services.
Projects also strengthen the ability of the parent to foster educational achievement and increase their ability to use the resources and services of the library. Services are provided through a partnership between a public library, an adult educational agency, and an organization that serves at-risk children.
- Increased skills in reading, writing, math and/or English language for the adult caregiver(s) and children.
- Increased knowledge of parenting.
- Increased ability to use the public library.
Application and Forms
The Adult Literacy grant applications are being offered in advance of the provision of the state budget. The Illinois State Library makes these grant applications available so that award notification may be released when legislative and gubernatorial approval of the appropriation is made. Obligations to fund this grant program will cease immediately without penalty or further payment being required if the Illinois General Assembly or the federal funding source fails to appropriate or otherwise make available sufficient funds.
- Application Deadline March 15. Requests of up to $50,000 will be considered.
- Financial Management Guidelines and Instructions (Adult Literacy Program Administrative Manual, p. 20)
- Grant Reviewer's Scoring Rubric
- Instructions for Completing Fillable PDF Grant Forms
- Library Data Entry Guidelines
- Reporting Forms
Partner agencies (those specifically named on page 2 of the Penny Severns Family Literacy application and who are not the submitting agency) must provide a letter of support detailing their responsibilities to the project.
Any additional participating agencies in the literacy project must attach a statement detailing their significant responsibilities to the literacy project. Each letter should describe their cooperation, coordination, and services to the project and include the signatures of organization representatives.
If the submitting agency is a not-for-profit entity, submit a copy of the Internal Revenue Service Tax Ruling on Determination Letter.
Special Note to Agencies Partnering with the Chicago Public Library
For Family Literacy applications, Chicago area agencies that propose to cooperate with a Chicago Public Library branch as a library partner must contact the Chicago Public Library (CPL) and get approval of their participation in writing. Responsibilities of both Chicago area agencies and the CPL are outlined below:Responsibilities of Chicago Area Agencies
- Immediately contact the local CPL Branch Manager to discuss the Penny Severns Family Literacy proposal in detail.
- Submit a draft copy of the Penny Severns Family Literacy grant proposal to the local CPL Branch Manager to review, edit, if necessary, and ultimately, approve the proposal. Once approved, the literacy agency will submit a letter of participation to the Branch Manager, reiterating the scope of library services stated in the proposal. The letter of participation should be on the agency's official stationery, and returned with signatures from the 1) Representative of the literacy partner agency, 2) CPL Branch Manager, and 3) CPL District Chief or Regional Director. Please provide the Branch Manager with a valid email address to which the CPL District Chief or Regional Director can scan and email the signed letter back to the literacy agency.
- Each Penny Severns Family Literacy proposal requires a separate letter of approval/participation.
- This outreach to CPL is the responsibility of the local literacy agency.
- Please note: The letter must be received by the Branch Manager by no later than March 1 to ensure the letter can be signed by the appropriate District Chief or Regional Director and emailed to the literacy agency prior to the March 15 application due date. If the literacy agency has not received the signed letter via email by March 8, contact the CPL Branch Manager.
- Once the Branch Manager approves the proposed project and signs the letter of participation, the Branch Manager will submit the completed copy of the Penny Severns Family Literacy proposal to the District Chief/Regional Director along with the signed letter of participation and a valid email address for the literacy agency contact.
- Once the District Chief approves the submission, the CPL branch will be notified. The District Chief will scan and email the signed letter of participation to the literacy agency.
The signed letter of cooperation from the Chicago Public Library must be submitted electronically with the completed application due March 15.
Penny Severns Family Literacy grant informational webinars are recommended for all Illinois Secretary of State funded Penny Severns Family Literacy grantees or any agency interested in applying for the program.
- Penny Severns Family Literacy Grant Information Webinar
- Penny Severns Family Literacy Grantee Orientation
Eligibility and Program RequirementsApplicant Eligibility Requirements
- Three provider agencies are required to work as partners:
- Adult educational agencies
- Organizations serving at-risk children
- Public libraries that are members of a regional library system
- Any of these entities may be the submitting agency.
- One agency may be both the adult literacy provider and the organization serving children at risk if there are separate departments providing each of these services within that agency. In that case, separate services for each providing department must be clearly delineated.
- Partner agencies are considered equal partners in the project.
- For-profit educational entities are ineligible to apply.
- Adult caregivers who are 17 years of age or older, not enrolled in school and are Illinois residents.
- Function below the 9th grade level, below student performance level 7, or at or below educational functioning level 6 in English proficiency, and
- their children ages 0–16.
- Adults must participate in educational skills assessment, instruction in Adult Basic Education (ABE) and/or English as a Second Language (ESL), parenting education, parent and child together activities (PACT), and instruction in public library services.
- Children must participate in children's education, parent and child together activities (PACT), and instruction in public library services.
- Instruction may be delivered via formal and informal educational activities.
- High School Equivalency (HSE)/GED instruction is not allowed.
Public funds awarded under this grant range up to $50,000. Agencies may apply for more than one family literacy grant if each application serves a distinct population.Allowable Costs
- Personnel (including instructor's wages)
- Library and instructional materials (print and non-print)
- Supplies, postage and printing
- Administrative and facilities costs not to exceed 10% of total grant request
- Promotional items
- Background checks
For more information about Penny Severns Family Literacy, please call 217-785-6921 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.