Since 1999, The Illinois Literacy Foundation (ILF) has been a leader in promoting literacy efforts and supporting local literacy projects throughout Illinois.
In 2002, the ILF hosted a successful statewide literacy conference at DePaul University, featuring representatives from academia, the Illinois Library Association, and the private and corporate sectors to exchange ideas about how to promote literacy awareness. Stipends were awarded to individuals and agencies for literary needs. Secretary of State Jesse White has issued Certificates of Appreciation to ILF partners, fundraisers and donors such as Cubby Bear and the Make-a-Dent Foundation.
From 2003-2010 the Foundation and Borders Superstores/Waldenbooks partnered to raise money from customers to enhance literacy awareness and support local literacy initiatives in Illinois. Book drives and holiday season donations from Borders/Waldenbooks customers generated $897,319 over the eight-year period. From 1999-2002, a similar partnership with Barnes and Noble booksellers generated $224,153 for literacy efforts. Collectively, more than 1.1 million dollars was donated by customers. A partnership established with ThriftBooks in 2016 has resulted in ongoing donations valued at in excess of $17,000 as of April 1, 2019.
More than 300,000 pieces of promotional literature and other tools such as rulers, pens and posters have been distributed to schools, libraries, literacy organizations/agencies, shelters, senior centers, special education centers and Boys and Girls Youth Centers.
The Illinois Literacy Foundation has also sponsored and cosponsored book events, most recently in November of 2015. In these events children hear an author read from his or her work and then receive a copy to take home with them. The Illinois Literacy Foundation is committed to ensuring that every Illinois citizen has the reading, writing, math and English skills necessary to achieve their utmost potential. The Illinois Auditor General conducts biannual audits of the ILF and reports its findings to the Illinois General Assembly.
The purposes of the Foundation are to promote literacy among, the residents of the State of Illinois by supporting literacy programs, and enhancing statewide literacy awareness to make grants and gifts in aid and in support of the goal; and to engage generally in other lawful endeavors consistent with the foregoing purposes. (From ILCS 322/40)
The mission of the Illinois Literacy Foundation is to promote literacy awareness and support literacy programs throughout the State of Illinois by partnering with corporate and private sectors.
All Illinois pre-school children will benefit from early childhood literacy programs and be ready to learn to read in kindergarten.