Literacy Coalition


Through partnerships and focused initiatives, such as The Literacy Coalition, we are committed to building a vibrant, healthy community in Herkimer County and Oneida County.

We believe partnership is the key to impact in Herkimer County and Oneida County.

That’s why in 2008, The Foundation, with Madison-Oneida BOCES, formed a literacy coalition. The literacy coalition provided the means for securing more than $2.5 million in state funding allowing BOCES to create three literacy zones – one in Herkimer County and two in Oneida County.

In 2012, The Foundation strengthened the impact of the Literacy Coalition and funded a regional two-county plan and the salary for a full-time executive director. Through this partnership, we are committed to making big impact in our communities and here’s why:

  • Students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers.  In Utica and Herkimer school districts that means 61 percent and 45 percent, respectively, are at risk of dropping out.
  • Up to 65 percent of students entering community college locally need remedial support.
  • Low literacy is a daunting problem for individual agencies to address; a literacy coalition approach is better suited to move a community.
  • Higher literacy produces lower health care costs: If Herkimer & Oneida counties’ 41,700 adults achieved a high school diploma, the savings could be $66.7 million per year in public health insurance costs.
  • Higher literacy has lower crime costs: A one-year increase in average years of schooling reduces murder and assault by almost 30 percent, motor vehicle theft by 20 percent, arson by 13 percent, and burglary and larceny by about 6 percent.
  • Higher literacy has lower business costs and the potential for more revenues: With a more educated, more skilled workforce the region is more attractive to businesses and investors.