Giving Challenge


We thank everyone who contributed to our campaign so that we can empower Manatee County adults through literacy!

2020 Giving Challenge      

Manatee Literacy Council (MLC) has been serving the community for over 40 years. Our success with our learners is the result of certified volunteer tutors working one-on-one with a learner in a safe environment. Our tutors are trained to help adult learners reach their goals. MLC partners with ProLiteracy America and the Florida Literacy Coalition.

When clients walk into our office, they are looking to change their lives by improving their English language skills. Be they native-English speakers who need to improve their reading and writing skills, or non-English speakers who are trying to learn the language, we are here to help. Every person who comes to us is an individual with different needs and goals. We take all this into consideration when planning a course of study for them. For this reason, we offer one-on-on tutoring as well as small conversation classes. We rely on dedicated volunteers and your generous donations to support us in transforming lives and building a stronger community.

We are pleased and proud to report that in the 2020 Giving Partner Challenge we won multiple contest prizes! We entered 4 "Best of" prize contests and were winners in all four, adding more than $5000 to the funds we raised during the challenge.

  • Best Board Member Engagement - our board worked diligently and collaboratively to pull off our Giving Challenge campaign. Thanks go to the WWSB/TV ABC 7 and the William G. & Marie Selby Foundation for their sponsorship of this contest.
  • Best Online Event - our interim Director designed a Facebook Live event that was successful, and our very first virtual event. Many thanks go to the SRQ Media group and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County for their generous sponsorship of this contest.
  • Best Giving Challenge 2018 Story - we were one of twenty winners in this contest based on the story we published on Facebook and other places. Thanks go to Herald Tribune Media Group and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County for their sponsorship of this contest.
  • Best Giving Challenge Photo - our photo was one of the top twenty vote-getters in this contest. Our thanks go to the Observer Media Group and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County for their sponsorship of this contest. 
  • In addition to these contests, we also received a prize for a Donor Shoutout Facebook.  

 Manatee Literacy Council's Executive Director and current and former Board of Directors' GC 2020 videos:


Meagan Morales-Correa

Rob Johnson    

Patricia McMahon  

Mayu Fielding  

Sherry Emigh   

Roger Boos   

Judy Garland  - 


The Manatee Literacy Council 2018 Giving Challenge Story 

We asked you to “Be the One” and you did it.  “How,” you ask?

You and others like you, supported by The Community Foundation of Sarasota and The Patterson Foundation, were instrumental during the 2018 Giving Challenge in helping us continue our mission of empowering Manatee County residents to independence through literacy. Thanks to your donations, Manatee Literacy Council (MLC) was able to continue working to help adults gain the skills needed to read stories to their children. It is because of you that Manatee County adults continue to learn and improve their English skills, take GED classes, and study for U.S. citizenship.

You are the one! Because you gave your time, effort and money to help, you made a difference.

By choosing to “Be the One,” MLC was able to hire an Executive Director who brought exciting ideas on how to move our organization forward. You continued to support MLC by joining us at a Marauder’s baseball game and attending our first gala, Flavors of Literacy, held at Pirate City, for a memorable evening of fun, food and entertainment… All of this because you wanted to “Be the One” to help us achieve our goals and set our sights on the future.

Because of you, an adult became a U.S. citizen and some adult learners were able to improve their lives by getting better jobs with higher pay.

Because you were the one, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We know, as do you, that your ongoing support is necessary for our continued success. Your support in the upcoming 2020 Giving Partner Challenge, from noon April 28th to noon April 29, will help us continue serving our community and help another adult read a good night story to their child.

Will you “Be the One” for us again in 2020? Will you “Be the One” to bring more “because of you” victories for MLC? Support us #GivingChallenge2020 and #BeTheOne

MLC Video for the GC 2020


2018  Giving Challenge
Thank you to everyone who donated to Manatee Literacy Council during the 2018 Giving Challenge. We raised $14,145 during the 24-hour event! Included in the total are two $2,000 prizes: Best Business Partnership with 3 Keys Brewing & Eatery and Best Giving Challenge Turnaround. Also included are two $500 prizes: one for "Best 2016 Giving Challenge Story" and another from Manatee Community Foundation for a story written by one of our volunteers. We had a great turnout at our Open House and at our "Toast to Literacy" mixer at
The Giving Challenge is presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with giving strengthened by The Patterson Foundation


What we learned from the 2016 Giving Challenge
The last Giving Challenge was held September, 2016. With the funds raised during this event, Manatee Literacy Council was able to make major changes to our organization. Below is our story of how the 2016 Giving Challenge changed our future. Thank you to the Herald-Tribune Media Group for selecting our story as one of 20 winners of the "Best 2016 Giving Challenge Story" contest!



“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” —Barack Obama


As we prepare for the 2018 Giving Partner Challenge, we want to reflect on how the 2016 Giving Challenge made such an impact on Manatee Reads! (Literacy Council of Manatee County). With the support of our donors, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation, the funds raised during the 2016 Giving Challenge would be put to good use as Manatee Reads! was facing more challenges.


In early 2017, we would soon find out that the building in which we rented office space was being put on the market and we would have to look for a new home. With limited funds, where would we find a place to continue our adult literacy programs? Where would we be able to continue our mission "to empower Manatee County residents to independence through literacy"? As luck would have it, Goodwill Manasota was renovating a building on Cortez Road for a new retail store and had an office space they were not going to occupy. It was offered to us. The office was great: brand new, fresh paint, clean areas…a dream come true!


Along with the move to a new facility, we were facing the challenge of name recognition. “Manatee Reads” did not convey our mission. We began a whole “re-branding” campaign. We needed a name and an image that would present the right message. We decided on Manatee Literacy Council and a logo of a tutor helping a learner climb to the top of some books...reaching for success. Now we were onto something!


But a new office, a new name, and a new logo are not that important if the people running the organization did not come together and decide to reach for more. After countless meetings, that meant hours of joint work to create meaningful ways to make the agency more effective, we were on the right track. We were able to hire an Executive Director to put the backbone of the organization together. She restructured the volunteer tutor and learner system that was already in place; began tutor training sessions that significantly increased our tutor base and took learners off our ever-expanding waiting list; and initiated “conversation classes” that brought learners from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds together to improve their English skills.


The past two years have been challenging and exciting. All the challenges and changes that Manatee Literacy Council has faced, have been met by the dedication of our volunteer tutors, our learners, our donors and our Board & Executive Director. During the 2016 Giving Challenge, we were able to raise over $15,000; a 50% increase over the previous Challenge. This year, we shoot higher!


None of this would have been possible without the Giving Challenge, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, The Patterson Foundation and all the partner sponsors. Change is inevitable and ongoing. We already know some of the challenges facing us this year and the changes that are going to have to be made. The continued support of our benefactors is always needed and appreciated.


Manatee Literacy Council is most grateful for the opportunity to join in this extraordinary Suncoast event again this year. We accept the Challenge…and we all win!


Manatee Literacy Council
3501 Cortez Road West, Suite 6, Bradenton, FL 34210