MACAE Announces Grantees For Historic State Literacy Fund


[Lansing, MI, March 15, 2024] – The Michigan Adult, Community, and Alternative Education Association (MACAE) is proud to announce the recipients of the Adult Literacy Opportunity Fund (ALOF). This fund is aimed at advancing adult literacy and education initiatives across Michigan. 

The Adult Literacy Opportunity Fund was established in 2023 as a special program grant put forward by Representative Will Snyder, as part of the adult education budget for the department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO). ALOF addresses the critical need for adult education and literacy funding at the state level for non-profit 501(c)3 organizations. 

In the state of Michigan, more than 1 in 6 adults, or 17.6%, are identified as low literacy, meaning that they read at a 4th grade reading level or lower, according to the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Adult literacy rates also show a direct correlation to the local economy. In 2023, the median income in low literacy counties was $42,867 compared to $54,938 statewide.  Low literacy also results in higher poverty rates and higher unemployment.

After a rigorous review process, MACAE, as the grant administrator, has selected 29 organizations as grantees for this one time funding. These organizations have demonstrated exceptional dedication to advancing adult literacy and education in their communities, proposing innovative programs and initiatives that promise to make a meaningful impact. Through this grant, these organizations will serve 950 adult learners to meet benchmarks such as improving their English level, improving reading or writing skills, earning their GED, among others.

The grantees are as follows:

“This grant represents a historic investment at the state level in adult literacy and funding for community based non-profits. By investing in adult literacy, we not only transform individual lives but also cultivate thriving, resilient communities where every member has the opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Jennifer Nemecek, Executive Director of MACAE. “We hope that this one time Adult Literacy Opportunity Fund will become an ongoing funding stream in the future.”

The impact of these grants extends far beyond individual learners. By investing in adult education and literacy, ALOF and its grantees are helping to build stronger communities, foster economic growth, and promote social equity.

“The Adult Literacy Opportunity Fund will enable Zaman to expand, enhance and solidify our distance learning initiatives. To mitigate against the transportation and childcare barriers of our students, and to create social and economic equity created by the digital divide, Zaman will use the grant funds to pave a pathway for students to improve their digital literacy and employability skills which will move them one step closer to financial stability,” said Gigi Salka, Chief Workforce Development Officer at Zaman International and ALOF Grantee.

Information About the Adult Literacy Opportunity Fund

Grant Purpose:

The Michigan Adult, Community and Alternative Education (MACAE) Association is proud to announce a new grant opportunity in the form of the Adult Literacy Opportunity Fund. This funding stream creates a foundational funding opportunity for nonprofit 501(c)(3) literacy providers in Michigan serving the least literate individuals in the state. The significant nature of this grant approved in the state’s FY24 budget will ensure that learners from historically underrepresented or marginalized populations, students of color and/or low-income learners are prioritized to meet their education and life goals.

Additionally, this grant is framed to incentivize assisting learners in a literacy setting to reach intermediate goals on their way to completing larger life goals of English language proficiency, transition to or improvement of employment, and/or transition to postsecondary opportunities.

Eligible providers will serve adult learner participants and demonstrate measurable outcomes for each adult learner in at least one of the following areas as a core component of the grant:

  • Obtaining citizenship
  • Improving score on a standardized test (if co-enrolled in WIOA Title II, must be state approved test)
  • Obtaining a driver’s license or state identification
  • Completing a digital literacy class
  • Increasing involvement in children’s K-12 educational activities
  • Completing a consumer or personal finance skills class
  • Earning a nationally recognized soft skills or employability skills micro-credential
  • Pass High School Equivalency-Ready Test or pass one High School Equivalency Test
  • Successfully transition to and co-enroll or enroll in Title I WIOA

These goals represent some of the most significant milestones for adult learners on their pathway to be self-sufficient and responsible citizens.

Grant Awards:

Grant awards will be determined based on available funds through a competitive process. Each individual provider may request to serve up to 75 participants with a cost allocation of $2,000 per learner during the reporting period. The total award amount that can be requested by an individual entity is capped at $150,000.

Eligible providers:

Eligible providers include Michigan nonprofit literacy agencies or nonprofit councils who hold a current 501(c)(3) status and serve adult participants with low literacy skills. The entity must have a demonstrated capacity for serving adult learners.

Core Opportunities:

  • Each grantee will be required to report on the number of participants who actively earned one or more of the above-mentioned credentials during the reporting period.
  • Learners served through this program will have the opportunity to be transitioned to a state or federally funded adult learning program(s) upon successful academic skills attainment.
  • This grant will support funding for 501©3 non-profit based entities with experience and knowledge working with adult low level learners.
  • This grant can be used to improve adult literacy instructional practices, expanding equity and access to more learners across the state.
  • This grant will allow for adult literacy agencies to increase high-quality program delivery models using best practices.
  • This grant can improve staff capacity building of adult education programs by ensuring essential professional staff positions are filled to meet learner needs including lead administrators, data management/reporting personnel and instructional staff. Having these staff in place will help learners reach their goals.
  • Ultimately, this grant will reemphasize the education and employability skills needed to assist adult learners in learning or improving their English, earning a high school diploma or credential, and transition to or improvement of employment.

Grantee Obligations:

Grantees must submit quarterly reports, including financial expenditures to date, 10 days after the end of each quarter (grantees will be provided timelines and templates once selected.)

Grantees must do a financial expenditure report along with a final narrative within 60 days after June 30, 2025 (grantees will be provided timelines and templates once selected.)

Grantees must participate in the required professional learning activities. These opportunities will include but are not limited to:

  • At a minimum, four in-person quarterly professional learning opportunities on topics related to adult literacy and program leadership.
  • Technical assistance from MACAE and national experts
  • Consultation with the statewide cohort on service delivery models for adult literacy based on national best practices and standards.
  • Monthly calls with MACAE and participating programs to exchange ideas and provide updates on progress of local efforts.
  • Participation in the MACAE Annual Fall Conference 2024 

Grantee Application and Selection Criteria:

MACAE will select adult literacy providers to participate in the Adult Literacy Opportunity Fund grant cohort based on a competitive application process. Selection will take place in April 2024 and programming and professional learning opportunities will run from May 2024-June 2025.

Grantees will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Eligibility based on current 501(c)(3) provider status
  • Demonstrated history in serving adult learners
  • Demonstrated need of serving historically marginalized or underrepresented literacy participants in the state of Michigan
  • Engagement in efforts to scaffold and extend robust programming to meet learner goals
  • Demonstrated plan(s) in supporting learners to reach reportable goals outlined in this grant
  • Commitment to contributing to the state’s education and workforce ecosystem

To apply for this grant, interested providers should complete the application here: Applications are due by 5pm on Friday, April 12, 2024. MACAE will offer a Grant Request for Proposals Information Session on April 3, 2024 at 2:00pm Grantees will be announced May 6, 2024.

For Grant Application, Budget Template, and Allowable Cost Policy, see folder below (you must download the budget template to your computer to save and edit before uploading in the RFP document)


Reporting Requirements:

Grantees will be required to submit quarterly updates, sharing progress with MACAE on their participant achievements toward outcomes. MACAE will provide additional descriptors of the qualifying achievements described in the Purpose section of this grant. MACAE will supply grantees with the template for reporting achievements. Grantees must do a financial expenditure report along with a final narrative within 60 days after June 30, 2025 (grantees will be provided timelines and templates once selected.)

Dissemination of funds:

Once selected, a grantee will complete a grant agreement. Funds will be paid quarterly based on the number of students achieving a performance measure. $500 per student will be paid up front (25%). Each student is only eligible for one skill gain. Upon each unduplicated student performance achieved, grantees will receive the remaining $1500 per student (75%). All funds must be spent by June 30, 2025. Final Expenditure and Narrative Reports will be due 60 days from June 30, 2025. Templates will be provided.

Important Dates:

Application for RFPs Opens: March 15, 2024

Grant RFP Virtual Information Session: April 3, 2024, 2:00pm

Grant RFP Submission Deadline: April 12, 2024 by 5pm

Grantees Announced: May 6, 2024

Approved Grantee Webinar and Information Session: May 15, 2024, 11:00am via zoom

Quarterly Work Group Mandatory Meetings: June 26, 2024, September 25, 2024, December 11, 2024,

About MACAE:

Since 1983, the Michigan Adult, Community and Alternative Education (MACAE) Association has provided professional development, resources and training, best practices sharing and networking opportunities for adult, alternative community education leaders and workforce development professionals.

What remains at the center of MACAE’s mission is to provide quality professional development, offer leadership and networking opportunities, engage in strategic partnerships, share resources, and advocate for the needs of the participants MACAE members serve.

MACAE’s membership is strong with over 120 active agencies and over 450 individual practitioners from directors, coordinators, teachers, and instructional support staff to employment specialists and community partners.


Questions on this grant may be submitted to 

Adult Literacy Opportunity Fund Public Question and Answer Session presentation: