News & Events

Recent News & Events 

August 25, 2020

Executive Director, Michelle McLean, received the Proclamation declaring September the National Literacy Month in Manatee County. Roger Boos, Emeritus Member and Mayu Fielding, Board President were also in attendance.  


Welcome to Manatee Literacy Council!!
Michelle McLean our new Executive Director 
We did it!  Saturday, March 7 at LECOM PARK at the Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training Game.   We had a very busy table at this game.  

Manatee Literacy Council at Pittsburgh Pirates Pep Rally 2020 Saturday, February 15 Downtown Bradenton was a fun filled evening. We had many visitors at our table who spun the wheel and won cool prizes. Most importantly they learned about MLC and its mission.  Hope you can join us next time.  

Volunteer Recognition Day
On November 17, we recognized the Manatee Literacy Council Volunteer Tutors. We celebrated with friends, learners, Board members, and even a few Pittsburgh Pirates professional baseball players. The event was refreshing and fun. Thank you, Volunteers, for your commitment, support, and knowledge. See all the event photos here.


Mission Monday at 3 Keys Brewery & Eatery
3 Keys Brewing & Eatery hosted Manatee Literacy Council for their Mission Monday on July 30, 2018. We celebrated winning Best Business Parnership during the 2018 Giving Challenge. Many thanks to 3 Keys Brewing for all they do to support and give back to our community.

Manatee Literacy on 96.5 WSLR Radio
Manatee Literacy Council volunteer Pat Rounds and Board Member Mayu Fielding were featured on "Peace & Justice Report," a program on 96.5 WSLR, Sarasota Community Radio. Pat and Mayu talked about our organization and the need for teaching literacy in our community. Listen to the full interview with host Tom Walker by following this link and playing the Wednesday, July 25, show. The MLC interview begins around 36:00.
The "Peace & Justice Report" covers local, state, national, and international social justice issues, and brings a wide variety of guests whose views are underrepresented in the mainstream media. Hosts Bob Connors and Tom Walker speak with many peace activists who are devoting their lives to creating a world free from war, violence and environmental destruction.

Grant Funds for Technology Update
Board President Roger Boos, Executive Director Marilyn Cox, and MCF Board Member Stewart Moon 
Manatee Literacy Council recently received a $6,000 grant from the Evans Family Charitable Fund of the
Manatee Community Foundation
. These funds will be used to buy a new printer, a new desktop computer, several laptops, update our data collection software, and train more volunteers in our learner assessment system. We are most grateful for this contribution, which will bring our technology up-to-date and help us better serve our clients. Thank you for the funds needed to improve literacy in Manatee County.

2018 Giving Challenge

Thank you to everyone who donated to Manatee Literacy Council during the 2018 Giving Challenge. You 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. Learn More

Supplies Collected by Local High School Students
Thank you to Southeast High School students Andrea and Anthony for the supplies they collected for Manatee Literacy Council. These will be put to good use in our classes and one-on-one sessions. Click here for more Ways to Give.

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity Build Day

We are continuing to partner with Manatee County Habitat for Humanity for the 2018 Giving Challenge. Both of our organizations want to “walk in each other’s shoes” in order to more deeply understand the people we serve, their needs, and each other’s programs. As part of this partnership, Manatee County Habitat invited us to participate in a Build day at The Interfaith Build, 604 11th Avenue East, in Bradenton, on April 17. Several Manatee Literacy Council volunteers pitched in, and we have invited their volunteers to attend a conversation class.

#GivingTuesday & 2017 Highlights
Thank you to everyone who joined the #GivingTuesday movement and helped kick off the holiday season. Manatee Literacy Council raised more than $500 through your generosity.

2017 was a year of great changes for Manatee Literacy Council. Here's a recap of our top 10:
  1. Volunteers gave 2,570 hours to Manatee Literacy Council. Using the IRS volunteer hourly rate, that is a $62,040 in-kind donation!
  2. Over 24 new tutors were added thanks to Marilyn's in-house workshops and online tutor training courses. Every new tutor helps shrink our learner wait list.
  3. Marilyn Cox came out of retirement to serve as Interim Executive Director. She brings a wealth of experience and boundless optimism.
  4. We received $1,000 grants from five private foundations and local businesses.
  5. A $6,360 grant from the Eugene F. and Elizabeth Hull Charitable Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation allowed us to update our textbook library.
  6. We added a weekly Conversation Class to engage those learners waiting to be placed with a tutor.
  7. We launched our newly redesigned website.
  8. We unveiled a new logo that showcases the themes of "empowerment" and "independence" from our mission.
  9. We changed our name from Manatee Reads! to Manatee Literacy Council to more clearly represent what we do.
  10. We moved to our beautiful new offices in the Goodwill Manasota building on Cortez Road West. 
We look forward to a spectacular 2018. Thank you to everyone who supported Manatee Literacy Council!

Manatee Literacy Council Open House

Executive Director Marilyn Cox, Board President Roger Boos, and a Goodwill Manasota Representative cut the ceremonial ribbon

On October 10, 2017, Manatee Literacy Council hosted a celebration of literacy and literature and welcomed guests to our beautiful new office space inside the Goodwill Manasota complex on Cortez and 34th Street West. Thank you to all who attended, especially guest authors Stephen Cork, Sandy Prindle, and Jo Ann V. Glim.

New Office & New Name

We've moved our office, we've changed our name.
But our commitment to literacy remains the same.

This was a summer of change from Manatee Literacy Council. The first change is the relocation of our office from our home of many years in the United Way of Manatee County Building on 14th Street West. The move was spurred by the United Way of Manatee County's recent merger with United Way Suncoast. The old building is for sale and will likely be razed as United Way moves operations to Lakewood Ranch. 

Manatee Literacy Council was fortunate to find a great space in the Goodwill Manasota Building at 3501 Cortez Road West, Suite 6, Bradenton, FL 34210. Previously the Healthcare America building, Goodwill Manasota leases office suites on the west side of their shopping and donations center near DaVita Dialysis. The new office is 525 square feet and has a main reception area, director's office, and spaces for tutoring. Also included is a shared restroom and use of the adjacent community room. Manatee Literacy Council officially took residence in the new space in late June.

The second major change this summer was the Board of Directors' decision to cease use of the DBA name "Manatee Reads!" in favor of Manatee Literacy Council. While our official name still remains the Literacy Council of Manatee County, our new DBA is Manatee Literacy Council. The Board chose Manatee Reads! five years ago to dispel the misconception that our organization was government funded. The Board is confident that the new name, Manatee Literacy Council, conveys clearly what our organization does and where it serves. Along with the new name is a new logo that visually represents Manatee Literacy Council's mission to "empower Manatee County residents to independence through literacy."

We invite you to visit our new office at our September 12 open house, or to stop by during office hours, Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. And if you have not met our new Executive Director, Marilyn Cox, please welcome her with a call 941-746-8197 or email. Marilyn began in May, bringing a wealth of experience in nonprofit literacy work. She has already made great strides for Manatee Literacy Council. 

Grants Provide Updated Textbooks & Learner Materials

Executive Director Marilyn Cox with the textbooks purchased with funds from two grants

Manatee Literacy Council's bookshelves are well stocked with new textbooks and learner materials thanks to two recent grants.

The first was a $6,360 grant from the Eugene F. and Elizabeth Hull Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation. This grant provided the funds to update several of our learning series to help our adult learners achieve their individual goals. The “Laubach Way to Reading” series for English-as-a-Second-Language learners and the “Challenger Adult Reading” series for Adult Basic English learners were both updated with new teacher and learner editions. We added the “That’s Life” series to enhance our programs.

The second was a $1,795.30 grant from ProLiteracy National Book Fund. With this grant, Manatee Literacy Council upgraded our Oxford Picture Dictionaries and purchased a one-year subscription to the weekly learner newspaper "News for You."

Also included in these grants is a start-up fund for a new conversation class for our ESL learners. These classes will be called “Start Now” conversation classes because they will let adult learners start working on their skills in a group environment until they are matched with an individual tutor.

These grants coincided with Manatee Literacy Council's recent move, allowing us to retire several outdated textbook editions in favor of new materials. Our learners will benefit from the new editions that more accurately match their day-to-day lives and challenges. 

Generous Support for Manatee Literacy Council

Board President Roger Boos, Tutor and TriNet Employee Laura Helgren, and Executive Director Marilyn Cox with the donated signage

Manatee Literacy Council was grateful to receive $1,000 from the Morrish Charitable Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation for general operating use, $1,000 from Publix Super Markets Charities to defray moving costs, and a $1,000 Community Grant from the Walmart Foundation and Bradenton Walmart Supercenter (Store #1004) on Cortez Road West.

TriNet employees graciously donated a computer and a printer for the Manatee Literacy Council office. They also collected $600, which was used to purchase signage for the new office, and the remainder will help cover the costs of the September 12 celebration. Laura Helgren, Senior Coordinator for the TriNet Solutions Center and new Manatee Literacy Council tutor, spearheaded the collection.


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