The Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded $7,500 to Great Plains Literacy Council to help increase the functional literacy of adults and families. Roy Perry and Maria Bustos, managers of the two Altus Dollar General Stores, presented the grant check recently to Ryan Howard, the President of the GPLC Board of Directors.
They told Mr. Howard that local stores collect money donated by customers in the “literacy collection cubes” at the checkout stands and in purchases of a certain candy bar and cookies for literacy. All the change in the “literacy cubes” and the sales of the two literacy-promoted items are sent to the Dollar General Literacy Foundation that was started in 1993. Since its inception in 1993, the foundation has awarded more than $81 million in literacy grants, helping more than 4.7 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy and continued education.
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation distributed in early June over $6 million in grants to 725 schools, literacy organizations, and non-profit organizations across the company’s market area to be used during 2013-2014. These grants will help adults learn to read, write and speak English.
The Great Plains Literacy Council was selected to be one of those grant recipients. Their grant proposal was entitled “English Language Learning”. Two of the requirements for a grant were that the organization have an outstanding program and must be located within 15 miles of a Dollar General Store.
“The Great Plains Literacy Council has agreed to continue providing education and expanding the literacy needs of adults. We will target adult learners who have English as a Second Language and those needing to pass the Immigration naturalization test,” stated Mr. Howard. “Our Board of Directors and literacy staff are dedicated to the advancement of literacy through our nonprofit organization.”
Dollar General’s commitment to literacy began with co-founder J. L. Turner, who quit school in the third grade, but saw the need to read and write as an adult. After accomplishing this task later in life, Turner overcame tremendous odds. He started the Dollar General business in 1955, and it has grown to more than 10,000 stores. He made literacy his number one campaign. This dream is still promoted by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation even after his death in 2000.
Both of the Altus Dollar General stores display English and Spanish brochures that contain post cards for local prospective students to send to ProLiteracy America as a referral for a nearby literacy program to contact the students.