Virginia Literacy Foundation
413 Stuart Circle, Unit 303
Richmond VA 23220
Mission Statement Promote literacy among Virginia residents by supporting public literacy programs, enhancing private sector literacy initiatives and encouraging statewide literacy awareness.
CEO/Executive Director Dr. Mark E. Emblidge
Board Chair Mrs. Jeannie P. Baliles
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Contact Information
Address 413 Stuart Circle, Unit 303
Richmond, VA 23220
Telephone 804 237-8909
Fax 804 237-8901
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1987
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $927,675.00
Projected Expenses $1,198,038.00
Mission Promote literacy among Virginia residents by supporting public literacy programs, enhancing private sector literacy initiatives and encouraging statewide literacy awareness.

Accomplishments from past year

-VLF’s ExCELL program received additional funding to expand and enhance its work within the city of Richmond, including the addition of a cohort of kindergarten and special education teachers/classrooms and the implementation of a more rigorous external evaluation plan.

 -The ExCELL program received funding from the Virginia Department of Social Services and the Virginia Beach Grow Smart Initiative to complete a pilot program in South Hampton Roads.

 -The ExCELL program model and recent outcomes were presented at the 20th Annual National Center for Family Literacy Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

 -The Virginia Literacy Foundation received a $250,000 grant from Verizon for its Verizon Improves Programs (VIP) project. This project is a four-year, state-wide initiative that will allow 15 community-based literacy organizations (CBLOs) to utilize technology, including Thinkfinity—the Verizon online educational program—to deliver powerful literacy tools to those in need. In December 2011, the first cohort of 10 programs attended the initial meeting.

 -Developed program standards for all CBLOs in Virginia.

 Goals for current year

 -VLF/ExCELL plans to apply for federal funding this year in order to implement the ExCELL program at a larger scale and conduct more rigorous research and evaluation related to key program components and outcomes.

 -VLF/ExCELL hopes to further develop its partnerships with key state-level agencies and establish itself as a provider of state-wide professional training and technical assistance and as an organization that contributes directly to public policy.

 -VLF’s VIP goal is to help participating CBLOs, most of which are situated in rural, underserved communities of Virginia, to acquire technological proficiency in program administration and outreach, and incorporating technology in teaching literacy skills to adult students.

 -To implement program standards for all CBLOs in Virginia.

Needs The most pressing needs the VLF currently faces as it strives to achieve its vision and mission involve the following:  (1) funding for program expansion and replication given the high demand and need for its programs and services, (2) need to increase capacity to provide training and related services to more programs/organizations across the state, (3) limited availability and cost of technology-related enhancements required to effectively implement distance learning/training programs, (4) limited number of local professionals with strong expertise in our field, and (5) funding that would allow us to hire full-time versus part-time staff.  

The Virginia Literacy Foundation (VLF) promotes a lifespan of high quality, literacy-related services from early childhood through adulthood that enables Virginians to become successful readers and contributing members of their communities. The VLF works in partnership with public and private literacy and education organizations across the state and within the local Richmond community.


Created in 1987, VLF began by issuing grants to support the work of community-based literacy organizations. At that time, there were 34 programs serving about 1400 adults throughout the Commonwealth. Currently, there are over 140 community-based literacy organizations serving over 14,000 adult learners in Virginia. The Foundation is the longest-tenured organization of its kind in the country and has provided over $4 million in grants and technical assistance and training to community-based literacy organizations in Virginia.


Over the years, the Foundation’s work has helped to improve the literacy skills of over 120,000 functionally illiterate adults—many of them parents. The Virginia Literacy Foundation understands that children who grow up in families who read become readers themselves. Because of this, the VLF has been at the forefront of the parent and family literacy movement in Virginia, receiving two Toyota Family Literacy Grants in the early 1990s. In addition, the VLF developed a partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University in 2003 to establish The Literacy Institute at VCU. Since that time, The Literacy Institute has received and implemented three Early Reading First research grants from the U.S. Department of Education to provide, with parental support, a foundation in pre-reading skills to all children while they are in preschool. With the expertise gained from the Early Reading grants, the Foundation has effectively developed and implemented the ExCELL program in Richmond’s Northside. This program enhances the quality of preschool classroom learning environments, provides preschool teachers with best practice instructional methods, and enables parents to be a part of their child’s learning process.

Areas of Service
Areas Served
Northern Virginia
Metro Richmond
Richmond, City
Hampton Roads
Southside Virginia
Board Chair
Board Chair Mrs. Jeannie P. Baliles
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Term Feb 1987 to June 2017
Board of Directors
Board Members
Mrs. Jeannie P. Baliles Community Volunteer
Mr. Steve Clementi Verizon, Retired
Dr. Cynthia L. Cooper Newport News City Schools
Ms. Patricia M. Donnelly Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
Dr. Mark E. Emblidge Virginia Literacy Foundation
Dr. William A. Hazel Jr.Secretary of Health & Human Resources
Mr. Jeffrey Holland Chesapeake Bay Bridge & Tunnel Dist.
Dr. William A. Jiranek VCU Health System
Delegate Mark L. Keam Virginia House of Delegates
Mrs. Ruth Hazel Little Energing Scholars Program
Mrs. Troilen Gainey Seward Retired
Mrs. Marcy Sims Virginia Beach Public Library
Mrs. Jane Bassett Spilman Community Volunteer
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 12
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 7
Board Term Lengths 0
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 77
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 2
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Executive Director
Executive Director Dr. Mark E. Emblidge
Senior Staff
Mrs. Cynthia Hutchinson Program Coordinator
Full Time Staff 4
Part Time Staff 11
Volunteers 4
Retention Rate 100
Organization has a Strategic Plan?
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
ExCELL works with its community partners, including Richmond Public Schools (RPS), the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) program, Richmond Public Libraries, Friends Association for Children, Communities In Schools (CIS), Richmond's Promise Neighborhood, the Partnership for Families Northside (PFFN), United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg, and the Literacy Institute at VCU, to help create a culture of literacy throughout communities in Richmond. ExCELL has been invited to become an active member of Richmond's Promise Neighborhood Initiative in the East End and will serve to extend the "pipeline" targeted by this important community effort to the preschool age level. Richmond Public Library staff (outreach coordinator, local children's librarians) participate actively in the planning and implementation of family literacy events, including hosting selected events at local library branches.   
Partnership for Families - Northside2000
Promise Neighborhoods2011
Smart Beginnings-Early Child Development Coalition2005
United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg Partnership Agency2008
Description The ExCELL program brings together families, early childhood educators, community resources, and early literacy specialists with the goal of ensuring that children receive the learning opportunities (at home, at preschool, and in the community) necessary to develop critical early language and literacy skills known to predict later reading success. 
Population Served At-Risk Populations
Short Term Success 1) Children will enter kindergarten possessing early literacy skills predictive of success in learning to read - 85+% children will meet Spring benchmarks on literacy assessments; 2) Preschool educators will provide research-based, high quality classroom environments and teaching practices that promote early literacy skills - 100% teachers will demonstrate significant gains on observation measures; 3) Parents/families will provide an improved home literacy environment that supports acquisition of early literacy skills - 75+% parents will demonstrate significantly improved literacy-related practice and attitudes. 
Long Term Success The ExCELL project will make an impact on the local community by bringing together families, preschool and child care programs and staff, and literacy specialists to ensure that all children in Richmond receive the support and opportunities (at preschool, at home, in the community) needed to successfully develop critical early reading and language skills. Through ExCELL, preschool programs will provide children with enhanced literacy environments and high quality language and literacy instruction, while parents will provide improved home and community support for their children's literacy development. As a result, significantly more Richmond children will enter kindergarten prepared for formal reading instruction and will experience success in reading, writing, and school.   
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $927,675.00
Projected Expenses $1,198,038.00
Form 990s
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$200,000$200,000$200,000
Individual Contributions$328,660$498,096$781,784
Investment Income, Net of Losses$1,145$1,087$453
Membership Dues------
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind------
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$698,854$766,640$890,748
Administration Expense$58,569$43,402$56,252
Fundraising Expense$23,118$48,236$25,346
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.860.821.02
Program Expense/Total Expenses90%89%92%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue3%7%3%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$585,332$690,093$971,444
Current Assets$584,605$690,093$941,444
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0--
Current Liabilities$89,273$89,067$212,132
Total Net Assets$496,059$601,626$759,312
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities6.557.754.44
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit Application 2/2017View
Organization Comments

When the Virginia Literacy Foundation was created, a major fundraising campaign was initiated with many funders pledging five-year contributions. Over the last 25 years, the practice of conducting a major fundraising campaign every five years continued until last year when a new strategic plan was developed. Through the strategic plan approved by the board, fundraising for the Foundation is now a continuous effort.