CUNA Mutual Group Foundation announces $200,000 gift to support adult learners at Literacy Network

On Jan 25, 2018, the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation announced a $200,000 gift to support Literacy Network’s Capital Campaign. “One in seven adults in Dane County struggles with literacy. That’s 55,000 people. Literacy Network helps open doors and reduces poverty. That’s why we are such a huge supporter,” said Beth Cutler, Community Relations & Foundation Leader of CUNA Mutual Group.

The gift brings the total raised to more than $2.5 million – approximately 85% of the total goal of $3 million. More than 500 donors have made gifts to the campaign.

The organization has recently purchased and renovated a building at 701 Dane Street, which now serves as the organization’s main office and learning center. Literacy Network serves approximately 1,200 adult learners in 29 locations. These adults are improving their reading, writing and English language skills along with building their capacity to use technology.

“Each day there are many successes — asking a stranger for directions, making an appointment at a doctor’s office, earning citizenship, finding a new job, and reading to a child. Adult learning is a commitment – learners must study at least 100 hours to advance an educational level,” said campaign volunteer Corkey Custer, managing partner at Custer Plumb Financial Services.

“Adult literacy is the key to better wages, improved performance for young people in school and a healthier life. We are thrilled that CUNA Mutual Foundation Group is supporting our learners and their dreams with this amazing gift,” said Literacy Network Executive Director Jeff Burkhart.

Those interested in learning more about the campaign and the organization are encouraged to call 608-244-3911, or visit their website at


Challenge Grant Met


You made it happen!  As of January 31, 2017 the total raised is $251,176 towards the campaign. This brings our campaign total to $1,947,128.21 and we couldn’t be more thankful for you support.  All of the donors who issued this challenge were committed to helping raise these gifts and for their commitment and yours we are very grateful.

There is still more to raise to complete the campaign but a milestone was reached.  In just over two months the community pulled together to ensure literacy for adults continues to be a priority.  We can’t wait to continue growing the capacity and help more adults.

Thank you!

$250,000 Challenge and Match


A group of very generous donors has stepped up to issue a $250,000 challenge. Gifts to the campaign of any amount from now until January 31 will be matched dollar for dollar up to $250,000.

Your gifts will help Literacy Network build capacity to double the number of adult learners we serve. Here’s a snapshot of our services this fall:

  • More than 730 people are participating in Literacy Network classes
  • 252 of those adults are receiving one on one tutoring
  • 283 volunteers are serving our adult learners
  • The session began with 114 learners on the waiting list
  • Individuals may have to wait up to 6 months for a tutor

Imagine no waiting lists. Imagine every adult in Dane County who wants to improve their literacy skills and their lives has the opportunity to do so. Imagine children being read to by their parents at home. Imagine people filling out job applications confidently. Imagine people being able to read prescription labels and stop unnecessary trips to the hospital. It is all possible!

Please make your gift to our Growing Through Literacy campaign today and open the doors of opportunity for hundreds of our Dane County neighbors.

Thank you to The Goodman Foundation, Madison Community Foundation, US Bank, Tom Terry, Bea and Lau Christensen, Findorff, Dave and Terri Beck-Engel, and Fred and Nancy Gants for coming together to issue this challenge and match.




Grand Opening Photo Gallery

Thank you to all who joined us for the official Grand Opening of Literacy Network’s new learning center. We had a great time and the place was packed! Here are a few photos from the evening.

Photo Credit: Marcus Miles Photography


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Call for Campaign Team Members

A story is only as good as its characters. We have been honored to have so many wonderful and experienced members of the community come forward to join the Capital Campaign committee. As we continue to plan for the purchase of a new building and the expansion of our services we are looking to grow our team of volunteers. We have many opportunities for individuals to join and have an impact on this campaign. From planning special events to help celebrate the campaign and raise funds to picking out the color of the paint at the new building we can use your expertise. Not only are we looking for experts in a variety of areas we are also looking for those who will bring their enthusiasm and interests to the table.  In order to accomplish our goals we are going to need many hands lifting us all up. We hope you will consider joining us on one of the committees listed below. Contact Jen Davie at 608-244-3911 to discuss your interests.

Building Logistics Committee
Time Frame: October 2014 -Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Time Commitment: 4 -8 Hours/Month, team members will as a group alternate months for strategy sessions and updates.
Qualification: Passion for Literacy Network, strong skills in logistical planning or project management, ability to work with construction staff and design staff, experience in project management, construction or design is preferred.

The building logistics committee will facilitate the construction and design of the new building. The committee will facilitate request for proposals for each phase of the building project. Committee will also make recommendations to the campaign leadership team in order to facilitate important decisions regarding the new building. Committee will work closely with the major gifts and community gifts committees to ensure naming opportunities are carried out in the design of the facility.

Major Gifts Committee
Time Frame: June 2014-Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Time Commitment: 4 -8 Hours/Month, team members will meet individually with the Development Director and Executive Director as needed, team will meet as a group as needed for strategy sessions and updates.
Qualification: Willingness to engage spheres of influence in the mission of the campaign, connect individuals, business leaders, and community leaders with Literacy Network

The major gifts team will open doors to new relationships which will strengthen the campaign. The committee should regularly review lists of current and prospective donors, and determine strategies to reach these donors as the campaign progresses. Members of the team will make connections to prospective donors with the support of the Development Director and Executive Director. Cultivation plans will be created for each prospective donor and contact reports should be filed by team members.

Marketing Committee
Time Frame: August 2014-Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Time Commitment: 4 Hours/Month including monthly team meetings
Qualification: Passion for Literacy Network, ability to work with media partners, background in marketing or communications

The marketing team is responsible for marketing the capital campaign to the public. In the quiet phase of the campaign the team will create marketing collateral to support in person donor meetings, website design and launch, and general forms and paperwork. The team will also generate press releases regarding the campaign, implement media strategy, and prepare for launch of the public phase of the campaign.

Community Gifts Committee
Time Frame: October 2014-Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Time Commitment: 4 Hours/Month including monthly team meetings
Qualification: Passion for Literacy Network, strong writing and storytelling skills, willingness to engage the community in considering gifts towards the campaign.

The community gifts committee is responsible for creating strategies to give the public an opportunity to donate to the campaign. In the quiet phase of the campaign the team will create strategies such as a tile campaign or written letter appeals. The team will be ready to implement these strategies during the launch of the public phase through the completion of the campaign. Their goal is to receive donation support from the general public as well as current Literacy Network supporters.

Special Events Committee
Time Frame: October 2014-Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Time Commitment: 4 Hours/Month including monthly team meetings
Qualification: Passion for Literacy Network, ability to organize and plan events, ability to engage and motivate volunteers

The special event committee is responsible for organizing special events within the community to raise funds for the capital campaign. Team members will organize 2-4 community events that raise money for this campaign. The team will also assist donors and community members in organizing special events on behalf of the campaign. Team members will ensure that all events are representing Literacy Network in the best possible way and strengthening the case for support for the campaign.


Donor and Campaign Pledge Update

Officially kicking off the campaign with our first ask in June was a wonderful feeling. Sharing the story for the first time with a family who has been a part of Literacy Network for many years and having them respond in such a generous manner. With each conversation that followed we found ourselves sitting in a room with community members who supported this grand idea we had. Our expansion to serve more students started to take form and we quickly moved towards our first milestone, $100,000 raised towards the Literacy Network South Madison Capital Campaign. We are happy to share our first donors towards this campaign.

Current campaign payments and pledges: $125,727.74

Dipesh Navsaria
Julie and Timothy Snyder
Erika Rosales
Ximena Restrepo
Shawn and Jessica Jackson
Laura Ortiz Cruz
Karen Bender
Barb and John Rockenbach
Jane Nemke-Earl
U.S. Bank Foundation
Jonathan and Maureen Miner
Stuart Levitan
J. H. Findorff & Son
Fred Gants
Richard and Sheri Birrenkott
Jason Iverson
Stephen and Susan Labelle
Tara Torrens
Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation
John Selbo and Burneatta Bridge
Patty Stockdale
Bill and Mary Niedermeier
Magic Pebble Foundation
Carol and Dean Schroeder
Cricket Design Works
Dean & St. Mary’s