Cuyahoga & Summit County Non-Profits Enter $1 Million Literacy Competition


Cleveland, OH - Cuyahoga and Summit Counties’ Non-Profits entered the $1 Million Adult Literacy Xprize Communities Competition to Transform Lives Through Literacy.

The Literacy Cooperative – a convener, strategic coordinator, and watchdog agency for literacy advancement - announced it is leading a team of local organizations and has officially entered into the $1 million Adult Literacy XPRIZE Communities Competition, a national competition that will challenge organizations, communities and individuals to recruit adults with low literacy skills to download and use effective, convenient and private learning apps.

Team LitFitNEO with partners in Cuyahoga and Summit counties, is among 46 competitors that will help propel adult education into the 21st century and beyond, and directly impact the lives of millions of people across the U.S. The team is spreading the message to all adults to download and use the apps to advance literacy and to give our community the chance to win the competition and bring much needed resources to advance adult literacy services.

The LitFitNEO team includes two award-winning library systems – Cuyahoga County Public Library and Cleveland Public Library, one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the U.S. –Cleveland Foundation, plus two public housing agencies, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority and Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, with more than 70,000 residents. Additionally, the team is comprised of Aspire adult education programs, workforce development organizations, neighborhood improvement agencies, as well as, doctors’ offices, childcare centers, and our local NBC affiliate, WKYC. This network represents experienced collaborators who bring enthusiasm and commitment. Expanding on existing partnerships and shared initiatives, LitFitNEO’s campaign will be integrated into established services.

It will focus on reaching adults through a neighborhood-approach that utilizes services people are already accessing. Community Connectors will recruit and support all app users and will encourage users to visit partner organizations for services. On April 1, 2019, XPRIZE recognized the team for their innovative, feasible and scalable plan and were among 24 winners of the Milestone Award, an award granted for best proposals.

Laureen Atkins, VP of Strategic Initiatives for The Literacy Cooperative leads the team.“There are more than 500,000 residents in Cuyahoga and Summit counties that read below an eighth grade level,” Laureen explained. “Our two largest cities, Cleveland and Akron have poverty levels of 35.2% and 24.1% respectively. For these adults, advancing their literacy advances opportunities.”

The Literacy Cooperative is an umbrella organization that brings foundations, organizations and people together to find practical solutions to improve literacy. They mobilize Northeast Ohio resources to increase reading, math and digital literacy, beginning at birth, so our kids are performing at grade level throughout their educational journey. Their support, coordination, and facilitation of adult literacy initiatives are creating pathways that lead to rewarding and life-sustaining careers. The Literacy Cooperative is sharing research and introducing best practices and pilots that are innovative, interactive, and effective.

The LitFitNEO team is strong and dynamic, with wide-reaching influence that will be coordinated and consistent across the region. The target population already engages and trusts our team member organizations. Instead of creating something new, LitFitNEO is enhancing existing services and networks with the introduction of the apps and offering support with the placement of Community Connectors.

To learn more about LitFitNEO and its team, visit:

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