Who We Are


Many foundations supporting literacy have been highly engaged in community literacy, coalition development and in strategies for community change. A planning group explored ways to share knowledge and to create a peer learning network. As a result, the group received formal affinity group status with the Council on Foundations and has a founding circle of foundations.


The Literacy Funders Network increases the philanthropic community’s knowledge and understanding of literacy as a systemic issue and a tool for community change and is a venue for collaboration and collective impact.


  1. Share best practices, research and lessons learned through peer dialogue and networking.
  2. Learn how other foundations interact within their communities around literacy through effective grantmaking strategies.
  3. Promote and strengthen accountability and impact measurement for literacy.
  4. Promote advocacy and awareness about literacy.
  5. Coordinate interdisciplinary dialogue in key literacy sectors. (Health literacy, financial literacy, workforce literacy, computer literacy, and family literacy, for instance.)


The Literacy Funders Network is an affinity group of the Council of Foundations and is built on a traditional model with a core team of officers (President, President-Elect, Treasurer and Secretary) who manage the policy, fiscal activities and coordinate the calendar of events of the organization. The officers are responsible for developing education programming and activities. Members provide input and feedback and assist in developing the seminars and discussions. The affinity group is supported by annual member dues.


President Sharon Bush, Grand Victoria Foundation

President-Elect Frank Ridzi, Central New York Community Foundation

Treasurer Nancy Anthony, Oklahoma City Community Foundation

Secretary / Executive Director Kimberly Scott, Literacy Powerline

In addition to the officers, the Executive Committee includes:

Mary Surbeck, Oklahoma City Community Foundation

Denine Torr, Dollar General Literacy Foundation

Jo Ann Turnquist, Central Carolina Community Foundation

Past President, Corinne Ribble, The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, Inc.

Founding Members

Baton Rouge Area Foundation
John G. Davies, President and CEO
Central New York Community Foundation
Peter Dunn, President and CEO
Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, President and CEO
Community Foundation for Southern Arizona
Steve Alley, President and CEO
Community Foundation of Kalamazoo
Juan Olivarez, President and CEO
Dollar General
David L. Beré, President and Chief Strategy Officer
First Literacy
Joanne Arnaud, Executive Director
Houston Endowment
Larry R. Faulkner, President
IBM Corporation
Samuel J. Palmisano, President and CEO
Lloyd A. Fry Foundation
Unmi Song, Executive Director
Martha Holden Jennings Foundation
Bill Hiller, Executive Director
Oklahoma City Community Foundation
Nancy Anthony, Executive Director
Sarkeys Foundation
Kim Henry, Executive Director
Tapestry Foundation
M. Carmel Borders, President, Board of Directors
The Cleveland Foundation
Ronn Richard, President and CEO
The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties
Peggy O’Shea, President and CEO
The Community Foundation of South Alabama
Thomas H. Davis, Jr., President and CEO
The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation
Thomas Lunt, Trustee
The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation
Glenda Cadwallader, Executive Director
The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation
Joanie Haley, Executive Director
The Simmons Foundation
Linda May, Executive Director
The Trull Foundation
Gail Purvis, Executive Director
Verizon Foundation
Patrick R. Gaston, President