Literacy Nonprofit Finds Funding

Daily News- Record 12/13/18
HARRISONBURG — Skyline Literacy has raised enough money to keep its doors open at least through the end of the fiscal year on June 30, the nonprofit announced Tuesday.
After having its federal funding cut in recent years, the Harrisonburg-based organization for adults looking to improve their reading skills, attain citizenship, earn a GED or other similar objectives has struggled to make ends meet.
However, a call for support through social and local media has resulted in the donation of one-quarter of the organization’s operating budget, about $37,500, which will allow it to continue to operate, said Andy Kohen, treasurer of the organization.
Skyline Literacy previously received $ 200,000 from the Department of Homeland Security. After that was cut, it used smaller grants to stay in operation, but those are no longer available, Kohen said.
In response, Skyline Literacy has cut costs drastically. Staff have been reduced from five to two, and the organization has cut its physical footprint to save on rent. Its 1,000-square-foot space on North Mason Street in downtown was reduced to a couple of hundred feet.
Questions remained, however, as to whether it could provide the services
needed to meet the organization’s mission. The board of directors met at the end of October to address that question.
The board decided to launch a fundraising campaign for the rest of the year. Officials said Skyline needed $150,000 annually to effectively serve the community.
Moving forward, the board of directors will continue to seek opportunities to remain financially viable past June 30, including grant support through its current partners at the United Way, the Virginia Department of Education, the Virginia Literacy Foundation, Harrisonburg City Public Schools, as well as private donations and foundations, according to a press release.
Kohen added that Skyline Literacy will prepare for the Great Community Give in April, organized by local nonprofits to promote charitable giving in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.