The Literacy Council of Sarasota Inc
Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center
1750 17th St., Bldg. K-3
Sarasota FL 34234
The mission of the Literacy Council of Sarasota is to improve literacy for adults (16+) in Sarasota County through personalized, needs-based tutoring and small group instruction.
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Tom Melville
Board Chair Ed Carthew
Board Chair Affiliation Instructor, George Washington University
General Info
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1978
Awarded competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Jan 2019
State Registration Yes Apr 2018
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
Letter of DeterminationView
Other Documents
LCS Volnuteer HandbookView
Share Your Love of Reading!View
LCS Annual Report 2013-14View
Impact Statement

Our Vision 

That all adults in our community have the literacy and English communication skills they need to succeed in life and thrive.
Our number of active ProLiteracy-trained volunteer tutors rose 33% this past year to 240,  and we served 489 adult learners this past fiscal year (2016-17), a 50% increase over the previous year! 
This year and next, we will continue to build our pool of ProLiteracy-trained tutors and expand our partnerships with local businesses, schools, and non-profits for our small group instruction services to reach more adults in our community. Our goal is to double and then triple the number of adults we serve to over 1,000 annually. 
Needs Statement
The Literacy Council of Sarasota relies primarily on financial contributions from businesses and individuals, family and corporate foundations, service agreements/contracts, in-kind donations and sponsorships. On-going funding for programs, operations and supplies is required namely for personnel, information-technology, website/social media support, books for the library, students and tutors, TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) and CASAS (Comprehensive Adult Assessment System) testing materials and administration used to measure learners' progress.  Funding is further leveraged through the help of 240 community volunteer tutors who are currently trained by our ProLiteracy-accredited trainer throughout the year. Each tutor is required to attend 18 hours of ProLiteracy training for certification before being matched with an adult learner.  All donations are tax-deductible.
More specific needs for 2018-2019 include:
$2,000 Marketing materials for Health Literacy and other programs
$3,000 TABE & CASAS Trainer Sessions
$4,000 ProLiteracy Training Materials
$5,000 Digital Literacy Program Development (new in 2018)
Background Statement
Since 1978, The Literacy Council Sarasota (LCS) has been helping adults - ages 16 and older - improve their basic reading, writing, comprehension and communication skills through needs-based, one-on-one tutoring and small group instruction. LCS customizes teaching to individual needs, providing a unique focus on enabling adult learners to function better within the frameworks of their own life situations.
Since 1978, LCS has been achieving its mission by:
  • Teaching through one-on-one tutoring and small group instruction that enables adults to acquire reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension skills to meet the demands of daily life, to improve their potential for fulfilling employment, and to enhance the quality of life for themselves and their families.

  • Recruitingtraining, and supporting tutors and other volunteers who perform the important LCS activities that result in a more literate Sarasota community.

  • Raising community awareness so that cooperative efforts lead to increasing literacy and supporting the goals of the organization.

  • Collaborating with other local, state, and national organizations to educate decision-makers, co-sponsor activities, and jointly work on projects relating to adult and family literacy.

Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
Areas Served Comments Serves Sarasota, Sarasota County and surrounding areas.
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Education
Secondary Org Type Education
Tertiary Org Type Education
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

An often overlooked adult population are those individuals who are not native English speakers or who are English speaking but still lack basic educational and literacy skills. In both cases these adults may be hesitant to seek help since they are past high school age and have work and family obligations. The Literacy Council of Sarasota has been serving these individuals for forty years with needs-based, one-on-one tutoring or small group instruction by ProLiteracy-trained volunteer tutors. The Board of Directors is committed to upholding the mission of building a more literate community--one person at a time.

The Board members are an educated, dedicated, and interested group of persons, some of whom are employed and some of whom are semi-retired or retired. Our monthly meetings provide an opportunity for all members to participate in the discussion of issues relevant to the governance of the organization. We are acutely aware of our role and responsibilities and those of the Executive Director. Our committee structure allows for each Board member to be an active member of at least one committee. Fundraising activities are chaired by a Board member with full participation by other members. One hundred percent of our Board members continue to financially support the organization.

We are always recruiting new Board members who share a passion for the language arts: reading, writing, speaking, listening, understanding, and comprehending the English spoken and written word. The Board is a collegial group of professionals who come to meetings with the desire to further the mission of the organization in any way they can. We are pleased to offer our time and talents to this worthy mission.

Statement from the CEO/Executive Director

The issue of debilitating low-literacy skills in our community is a continuing problem.  The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL - 2003) estimates the functional illiteracy rate nationwide at 14% of the population.  This NAAL report estimated Sarasota County’s rate of functional illiteracy at approximately 20%, with rates as high as 23% inside the city limits.  There is also a substantial number of people who have reached adulthood without achieving the level of reading and writing skills necessary to: complete basic life tasks such as filling out a job application, or compete for a better job; comprehend safety warnings in the workplace/home; understand everyday consumer product labels; get ready for disaster preparedness; understand prescription/medication labels or their doctor’s instructions; prepare to further their education; read to their child and help with homework. Imagine your own life if you could not read or write very well. Who would you turn to for help?

It takes a lot of courage for an adult to admit he or she does not read or write very well. When they call or come to our door for help, our professional staff warmly greets them with understanding, respect and compassion. Integral to the solution is LCS’ involvement of the community through ProLiteracy-accredited trained volunteer tutors. These volunteers tutors are matched with adult learners for one-on-one tutoring that meets that individual’s unique needs and educational goals. Adult learners can also participate in small group instruction our agency provides onsite at their place of employment with local businesses, at the school where their children attend, or at a non-profit agency from which they are seeking services.

The results are profound and life-transforming for both people involved. The adult learner’s life is transformed by the power and ability to read and write. The volunteer tutor experiences a deep sense of satisfaction of helping someone in need, knowing that the results will be lasting.

For the past four decades The Literacy Council of Sarasota has been helping make the community more literate, and I commend all the Board members, staff, volunteers, donors and supporters who have made that possible. At the same time I invite the community to continue its support and investment in our important work of transforming lives, one person at a time, each and every day.


Description Programs: Adult Basic Education, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and GED-related programs. Services include one-on-one tutoring, small group instruction, TABE and CASAS assessments, pre-GED workshops, citizenship preparedness, conversation classes, volunteer training, jail literacy, financial literacy, health literacy, and digital literacy (new in 2018) support and materials.
Budget $271,800
Category Public, Society Benefit, General/Other Public, Society Benefit, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Adults Adults
Short Term Success Learners reported to have improved their job opportunities due to their improved educational and/or English communication skills, earned their GED, entered higher-education institutions and gained their citizenship. 
Long Term Success Programs are expanding to increase the number of adult learners served annually so they can attain the educational and/or English communication skills needed to get ahead in life and thrive. As our reach into the community increases through program expansion, local literacy levels will rise and be sustained over time. 
Program Success Monitoring Quarterly progress reports and ongoing program evaluations are used to monitor successes and challenges. We also actively solicit additional feedback from our adult learners, their tutors, and our instructors on how to ensure all programs continue to be learner-focused, needs-based, and flexible. 
Program Success Examples

Adult learners have made gains in their education goals and thus improved their  quality of living through increased literacy and/or English communication skills. Adult learners' lives are transformed through education - they qualify for better jobs, are able to take a more active role in their children's schooling/academics, interact more effectively with the health care system, attain their U.S. Citizenship, and take part more fully in civic life.

Program Comments by Organization

For almost 40 years, The Literacy Council of Sarasota’s goal has been to empower and enable people to become self sufficient, increase their opportunities and build better lives by helping them improve their basic literacy skills. The Literacy Council of Sarasota, Inc. (LCS), a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) educational organization, is the only agency in the City of Sarasota and in northern Sarasota County offering free, personalized, one-on-one tutoring and small group instruction for adults focused in the areas of Adult Basic Education, GED-prep, and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages).

LCS actively recruits, trains and supports volunteer tutors, and collaborates through cooperative efforts with other organizations to educate and raise community awareness.

Currently, there are 240 active tutor/student pairs and over 35 adult learners waiting for a tutor. The Literacy Council of Sarasota is funded through individual donors and small foundation grants and receives no funding from local, state or federal governments.

CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Tom Melville
CEO Term Start Feb 2014
CEO/Executive Director Email

Tom Melville

Having relocated to the area and buying a new home, Tom brings with him almost 20 years of successful nonprofit executive management experience. His previous positions include working with homeless organizations, HIV/AIDS service agencies, coalitions, and with community foundation development and fundraising. Tom has also served on a variety of boards, commissions and community groups, most often in a leadership position. His strengths include:

  • Strategic Planning and Thought Leadership
  • Board Leadership and Development
  • Resource Development, Fundraising, and Grant Writing
  • Community Collaborations and Partnerships
  • Nonprofit Management: Staff Development, Budget Management, and Operations
  • Communications and Outreach
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Mrs. Shon Anita Ewens Apr 2011 - Jan 2014
Ms. Kristen Szafraniec Mar 2007 - Mar
Senior Staff
Susan Bergstrom Ms.Program Director
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 3
Part Time Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 85
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 12
Volunteers 252
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
  • ProLiteracy America
  • Florida Literacy Coalition
  • Sarasota County Library System
  • Goodwill Manasota 
  • Suncoast Technical College 
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County
  • Career Edge
  • Children First
  • Lutheran Services Florida
  • Harvest House
  • Church of the Trinity
  • Tuttle Elementary School
  • Fruitville Elementary School
  • Wilkinson Elementary School
  • Gulf Gate Elementary School
  • Women's Resource Center of Sarasota County
  • Inmate Ministry Foundation
  • Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center
  • Florida Blue
  • Visible Men Academy
  • PGT Innovations
  • Margin & Mission Initiative
  • The Field Club
  • Sarasota County School District 
  • Jewish Family and Children Services
  • The Jewish Federation 
Florida Literacy Coalition2018
ProLiteracy America2018
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
Promising Practice among Florida's adult and family literacy programsFlorida Literacy Coalition2010
Nominee in the Non-Profit Organization of the Year categoryFrank G. Berlin, Sr. Small Business of the Year Awards2008
Nominee in the Non-Profit Organization of the Year categoryFrank G. Berlin, Sr. Small Business of the Year Awards2009
Risk Management Provisions
Commercial General Liability
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan Yes
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan Yes
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Policies and Procedures Yes
Planning & Policies Comments by Organization The Literacy Council of Sarasota is actively updating and revising its Communications/Community Engagement Plan, and anticipates Board of Directors review/approval at its March/April, 2018 monthly meeting. 
Multi-Media Comments by Organization This clip of one of our actual adult learners tells of the importance of education, and how The Literacy Council of Sarasota can help those looking to reinvent their lives.
Board Chair
Board Chair Ed Carthew
Company Affiliation Instructor, George Washington University
Board Term July 2016 to June 2018
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Ed Carthew Adjunct Instructor, George Washington University
Carol J. Darling Ph.D.School Administrator
Elizabeth DiMartino School Admissions Director
Sachit Gali Youth STAR Leadership (BGCSC), Pineview H.S.
Jane Govoni Ph.D.Instructor, USF
Fr. Matthew Grady Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School
Linda T. Jones Retired School Administrator
Vicente Medina Insurance Executive
Ashley Salter CPA
Nada Vanou Consultant & Former System VP, Catholic Health Initiatives
G. Pat Wilson Ph.D.USFSM
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 9
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 1
Board Gender
Male 4
Female 7
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 2
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Board Meeting Attendance % 83
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 60
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Governance Comments by Organization


At The Literacy Council of Sarasota, our mission is to improve literacy for adults in Sarasota County. We will continue to spread the message that “Literacy Matters!” The organization has been striving to better the lives of Sarasota County residents by providing one-on-one tutoring and small group instruction for adult basic education, GED-prep, English for Speakers of Other Languages, financial literacy, family literacy, workplace literacy and health literacy. This year we will introduce a new digital literacy program through a mobile computer lab.

Over the years, we have helped thousands of individuals improve their lives through literacy education. The fact that 20% of the population in Sarasota County has limited literacy skills puts them at risk of going to jail, overdosing on medication, and continuing to live in poverty. Literacy is a cross-generational issue. There are individuals and families all over Sarasota County unable to read or speak English, balance a checkbook or read a medicine label.

When individuals learn to read, they have power. They have the power to find a good paying job that can lift them from having to take low-wage employment. Thus they gain the ability to support for their family and break the cycle of inter-generational poverty. Literacy affects us all. We are asking our community to join us in spreading the message that Literacy Matters!

Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month July
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2017
Tax Year End Month June
Tax Year End Day 30
Tax Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $271,800.00
Projected Expenses $271,800.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations Yes
Organization has Endowment No
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
IRS Form 990s
Audit/Financial Documents
Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$159,006$138,656$123,506
Administration Expense$22,878$19,700$20,057
Fundraising Expense$13,096$10,941$8,217
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.021.021.02
Program Expense/Total Expenses82%82%81%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue8%8%6%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$87,162$87,739$83,986
Current Assets$87,162$86,859$80,500
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$2,491$2,089$1,559
Total Net Assets$84,671$85,650$82,427
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $140,060Contributions, gifts, grants $119,066Contributions, gifts, grants $118,480
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountService Agreements $36,210Fundraising $23,544Fundraising $17,075
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising $18,706Service Agreements $22,415Workplace Literacy $11,580
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $50,001 - $75,000
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities34.9941.5851.64
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization The agency's Board of Directors reviews the organization's financial statements on a monthly basis. A CPA serves as a Board member and is on the Board's Finance Committee, which assists the Treasurer and Executive Director with the annual budget process, annual IRS 990 prep/review/approval, as well as the monthly financial statements. Since the agency has a relatively small budget, the Board's current policy is to conduct an independent financial audit every five years. 
Financial Comments by Foundation
Financial figures are based on IRS Form 990s. Individual contributions include foundation and corporate support. Audits are not available for 2009 - 2012, 2014 - 2016 fiscal years.
Nonprofit The Literacy Council of Sarasota Inc
Address Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center
1750 17th St., Bldg. K-3
Sarasota, FL 34234
Phone 941 955-0421