Barbara Bush Foundation Receives $1.6 Million Grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation


Washington, D.C. – The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy is pleased to announce that it has received a grant of $1.6 million from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to support implementation of the National Action Plan for Adult Literacy.

Conceived and convened by the Barbara Bush Foundation, the first-ever National Action Plan for Adult Literacy was developed in collaboration with more than 100 expert stakeholders including representatives from corporations and foundations; community organizations and associations; federal, state and local governments; academic experts; and edtech leaders. The plan was officially launched at the Foundation’s National Summit on Adult Literacy in October 2021, which featured Dr. Jill Biden, First Lady of the United States, as keynote speaker.

This multisector, multiyear initiative aims to transform adult and family literacy for millions of Americans by driving inclusive, collective action to address systemic challenges over the next five years. The plan has three broad, mutually reinforcing goals:

  • Access: Make literacy support services accessible to everyone who wants them.
  • Quality: Ensure that literacy programs are effective and efficient in helping adults improve their reading, writing, digital and numeracy skills.
  • Participation: Encourage more adults to engage in support programs that improve their literacy, digital and numeracy skills.

Today, 130 million Americans – 54% of adults between the ages of 16 and 74 years old – lack proficiency in literacy, essentially reading below the equivalent of a sixth-grade level. A 2020 Gallup study commissioned by the Barbara Bush Foundation found that the U.S. could be losing up to $2.2 trillion annually in GDP due to low adult literacy rates.

“Literacy is about so much more than words on a page. It’s an issue of equity that is directly linked to the social and economic wellbeing of not only individuals and their families, but businesses, communities and our entire nation,” said British A. Robinson, president and CEO of the Barbara Bush Foundation. “We couldn’t ask for a better partner than the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, one of the nation’s most steadfast voices for literacy, as we work to move the needle on this issue once and for all.”

“The National Action Plan has the ability to transition our shared vision of a country in which adults can easily access high-quality, effective literacy support in their hometown communities to collective action,” said Denine Torr, vice president corporate social responsibility and philanthropy for Dollar General and executive director of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. “Working together, we can begin to address the opportunity gaps that exist and serve more students. We are very proud to partner with the Barbara Bush Foundation on this effort,” said Torr, who also serves as a member of the Barbara Bush Foundation’s board of directors.

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently announced a commitment of approximately $5 million in grants to five national organizations working to address the critical literacy needs identified in its newly released State of American Literacy Report. The two-year commitment to the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy will support implementation of the National Action Plan for Adult Literacy, with a focus on boosting literacy organizations, advancing professional development for teachers and identifying opportunity gaps.


About the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy: The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy has been the nation’s leading advocate for family literacy for more than three decades. Established by former First Lady Barbara Bush in 1989, the Foundation is a public charity dedicated to creating a stronger, more equitable America in which everyone can read, write and comprehend in order to navigate the world with dignity. To learn more, visit

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