Blue Ridge Literacy Council (the Literacy Council) will celebrate 30 years of service in 2019. Traditionally, we have served low-literate and English as a Second Language adults to ensure successful transition into the Blue Ridge Community College Basic Skills department. Programming has been determined by the NC Community College Systems’ goals and priorities, historically the Literacy Council’s largest funder. Knowing that the NC Community College System (NCCCS) would not continue to be the Literacy Council’s largest funder, the Board of Directors began an extensive planning period.
In 2016, the Executive Director benchmarked the Literacy Council with other agencies across the State, Southeast, and Nation. As a result of the benchmarking the Board of Directors implemented the Executive Director’s recommendation to tighten up staffing, program processes, and delivery. This positioned the Literacy Council to operate with a more conservative budget while expanding services, including the launch of the Family Literacy and Detention Center programs.
In 2017, the Literacy Council began the 2018-2021 Strategic Planning process. During this process the
Board of Directors:
- analyzed where the organization was on the Life Cycle of Nonprofits by participating in an Organizational Coaching period;
- evaluated the sustainability and impact of programming, and developed program-specific budgets through the Matrix Model Consultancy;
- gathered feedback from stakeholders, Board members, staff, and key volunteers;
- participated in a facilitated Board meeting and a four-hour planning retreat to further flesh out areas of importance.
Concurrently, the Executive Director, with the help of the Board and staff, diversified programming, partnerships, and revenue, including a successful Spring Luncheon in 2018 which highlighted success stories and resulted in increased individual and community support.