History

1965

Mary Yardumian hears a speech by well-known literacy educator Frank Laubach. She is inspired to become a literacy volunteer and soon afterwards begins teaching near her home in Florida.

1971

After moving to Pittsburgh, she is unable to find a volunteer literacy program in Allegheny County or nearby counties. She begins training volunteers and helps at least twelve new programs get started.

1976

Mrs. Yardumian starts the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council (GPLC) with a group of volunteers from the Pittsburgh area and runs the organization from her home.

1981

The demand for instruction has gotten too great for Mrs. Yardumian and her volunteers to handle. A long-range planning committee recommends the Council become a non-profit corporation and add a Board of Directors, an office, and a professional staff.

1982

GPLC is incorporated and moves into an office in the East Liberty branch of the Carnegie Library.

1984

Don Block becomes the executive director and earns a national reputation as a leader in the field of adult education and family literacy.

1984

Founder Mary Yardumian receives the prestigious PAACE Outstanding Adult Educator Award and the National Jefferson Award for her distinguished public service.

1985

GPLC establishes its first outreach office in Pittsburgh’s North Side.

2002

GPLC receives the Wishart Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management, given by the Forbes Funds, a supporting organization of The Pittsburgh Foundation.

2004

The Pittsburgh Board of Education closes its large adult literacy program at Connelley Technical Institute, and GPLC helps to provide services for 1,000 displaced students.

2005

To address ever increasing demand for services, GPLC opens its Downtown Center, hires more full-time professional instructors, and begins delivering classes in a variety of formats and schedules.

2005

Mary Yardumian, GPLC’s remarkable founder, passes away at age 81. Her legacy lives on in our Mary Yardumian Society, which recognizes individuals who take a leadership role in the success of Literacy Pittsburgh’s students.

2006

GPLC is awarded oversight of a national project entitled Literacy AmeriCorps, and manages this program through 2012. The program operates in six cities around the country, provides full-time national service workers to dozens of literacy programs, and serves a total of about 10,000 students each year during those six years.

2007

Executive Director Don Block is named the leading administrator of adult basic education in the nation, an award from the Commission on Adult Basic Education.

2007

GPLC receives the Seal of Excellence from the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations for completion of the Standards for Excellence accreditation program. This designation was renewed in 2015.

2010

GPLC begins managing Compass AmeriCorps. This program places full time AmeriCorps members in organizations where they provide wraparound social services support to refugees and immigrants in the Pittsburgh region.

2011

GPLC receives the Literacy Leadership Award given by the National Coalition for Literacy. 

2013

GPLC begins managing OASIS Intergenerational Tutoring in Pittsburgh, which serves at-risk children in grades K-4. Senior volunteers serve as tutors at sites in more than 25 local public schools.

2014

GPLC establishes Thrive, a young professionals advisory board, as an extension of its Board of Directors. Thrive board members receive professional development while supporting our mission of better lives through learning.

2018

Embracing its nearly 40-year history and with an eye toward community needs both today and in the future, Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council begins a new chapter with a new name. On May 2, Literacy Pittsburgh debuts with a new logo, website and message that reflects the dynamic and forward-thinking organization it is today.