Literacy Network: Eexpands capacity for adult literacy programming through partnership with FCI

Contact: Desmond Webster
Title – Director, Communications
Phone – 608-257-3863
Email address – [email protected]

Forward Community Investments (FCI) provided a $300,000 loan to Literacy Network, Inc. The loan supports the renovation of the former Wingra Clinic in South Madison to serve as the Network’s new community learning center. Last year, Literacy Network purchased the property at 701 Dane Street. Post-renovations, the new center is three times larger than the former location and will help the organization increase its capacity to serve adult learners and to recruit, train and support volunteers. This location will share space with a partner organization, Madison-area Urban Ministries.
“We are delighted. This is an excellent example of a smart investment with a great partner.” says Salli Martyniak, FCI’s president.
In South Madison, 26% of residents live in poverty. Through this partnership, Literacy Network will expand services to meet the large and growing need for literacy training in their immediate neighborhood and beyond.
“Of Literacy Network’s learners, 93% are people of color and of those who reported income, 90% earn incomes below the federal poverty level. So we serve a unique need in the community for individualized reading, writing, and speaking skills for adults. No other organization fills this need in the community, so we are thrilled to be able to increase our capacity to serve more people,” states Jeff Burkhart, Executive Director of Literacy Network.
This investment is reflective of how FCI’s goals respond to the Race to Equity’s “Roadmap to Equity” findings; FCI’s loans to mission-based organizations indirectly increase the employment, income and wealth of Dane County’s low-income families of color.

About Literacy Network
Literacy Network is a nonprofit organization that works with teachers, tutors, volunteers, and donors to improve adult literacy in Dane County. Their programs help adults find career opportunities, improve computer skills, understand finances and speak with doctors about health concerns. Literacy Network’s mission is to teach reading, writing and speaking skills to Dane County adults and families so they can achieve financial independence, good health and greater involvement in community life.
About Forward Community Investments
Forward Community Investments is an investor, connector, and advisor for organizations and initiatives working to transform Wisconsin communities by reducing racial and socioeconomic disparities. For more information about FCI, visit