Literacy Leadership Awards

literacy awards

The National Coalition for Literacy’s Leadership Awards recognize individuals and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to improving literacy in the U.S. Award recipients have demonstrated a deep and sustained individual or corporate commitment by supporting literacy continuously across the lifespan on the local, state, and national level.

The Coalition is now seeking nominations for the 2016 Literacy Leadership Awards. The awards event will be held in Washington D.C. on September 28, 2016.

Nominations are due by August 1. Award winners will be notified by mid-August. For more details and a nomination form, please go to: 2016 NCL Literacy Leadership Award Nominee Form


Past award recipients:


  • Representative Phil Roe (TN)
  • Mayor Michael Nutter, Philadelphia, PA
  • Kavitha Cardoza, Special Correspondent for WAMU/reports on D.C. area news
  • Mary Jane Schmitt and Adult Numeracy Network (ANN)



  • Senator Jim Webb
  • David Baldacci, author and founder of the Wish You Well Foundation
  • Ruth J. Colvin, Founder of Literacy Volunteers of Greater Syracuse and Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc. (now ProLiteracy)
  • The Save Adult Ed Campaign, a Los Angeles-based adult education advocacy group


  • Representative Jared Polis
  • John Corcoran, former adult literacy student and founder of the John Corcoran Foundation (2011)
  • The Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, representing the National Literacy*AmeriCorps program (2011)
  • U.S.A. Learns (2011)


  • Senator Thomas Harkin
  • Representative John Yarmuth
  • Kentucky Education Television (KET)
  • McDonald’s English Under the Arches program
  • Archie Willard, Adult Learner Advocate and Leader


  • Representative Raúl Grijalva
  • Senator Patricia Murray
  • Home Safety Council President Meri-K Appy
  • Brenda Dann-Messier, President and CEO of Dorcas Place
  • Calvin Miles, Adult Learner and Advocate
  • Gretchen Wilson, Recording Artist and GED Graduate


  • Representative Rubén Hinojosa
  • Better World Books
  • The National Council of La Raza
  • Dr. John Comings, former Director of the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education


  • Representative Michael Castle
  • Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • David A. Perdue Jr., former Chairman and CEO of Dollar General
  • Dr. Irwin Kirsch, Director of the Center for Global Assessment, Educational Testing Service
  • The UPS Foundation


  • The American Library Association (ALA)
  • Senator Olympia Snowe
  • Representative Dale Kildee
  • Andy Brown, former Executive Director of Public Affairs and Policy Communications at Verizon
  • Jackie Taylor, a Tennessee-based volunteer literacy advocate


2005 Award Winners
2005 Award winners: Denine Torr of the Dollar General Foundation; Rep. William F. Goodling, Retired Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce; former New York State Director of Adult Education Garrett Murphy; New Hampshire State Director of Adult Education Art Ellison; Dale Lipschultz, NCL President in 2005.


  • Representative William F. Goodling
  • Senator Edward M. Kennedy
  • The Dollar General Literacy Foundation
  • Art Ellison, New Hampshire State Director of Adult Education
  • Garrett Murphy, Former New York State Director of Adult Education