A Letter from Dr. Mark Emblidge
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
What an amazing twenty years we’ve shared together. It has been a pleasure to serve as the
executive director of the Foundation since its inception. Working with you, sharing in your
triumphs, and watching our ideas and ambitions become reality has been as rewarding as
any career I could imagine.
Our organization has flourished, I believe, because it was based on an innovative approach.
By bringing together the public and private sectors, we marshaled a far greater force of
insights, expertise, and resources to battle illiteracy than either one alone had at its disposal.
Consequently, we were able to streamline services, develop best practices, fund programs,
influence legislation, improve the quality of life for thousands of under-educated Virginians,
and positively impact the communities in which they live.
One of our greatest accomplishments in the past twenty years has been helping to raise
awareness and support on the governmental level. Recently, we have seen adult education
included as part of the Governor’s statewide education initiative. We have seen the Secretary
of Commerce commit funds to adult education, because he understands that illiteracy is not
only a social problem, but also a hindrance to our economy. We have seen the General
Assembly increase funding for adult education for the first time in 18 years. In light of this
exciting recognition, the Foundation has developed plans that we hope will continue to exert
such influence on public policy.
In 2003, we partnered with Virginia Commonwealth University to form The Literacy Institute
at Virginia Commonwealth University. This entity quickly began securing grants and contracts
to conduct sound, academic research into adult education. We also recently began a project
with longtime partner, Verizon Virginia, to develop a database that will streamline reporting
practices for literacy organizations statewide, if not nationwide. We are confident that this
tool will help us to improve our services by allowing us to more effectively collect and analyze
data from all of the organizations that serve adult learners in Virginia.
We have come a long way in twenty years, and many exciting developments are just ahead. I
look forward to many more years of working together, and I want to thank and congratulate
you all for the work that you do.
Mark Emblidge, PhD