Community Response Gives Skyline Literacy Breathing Room

Dec 17, 2018

A little more than a month ago, the survival of Harrisonburg’s Skyline Literacy was in question. Since then, the community has stepped up to meet the need. WMRA’s Andrew Jenner reports.

Holiday cheer has descended on the offices of Skyline Literacy in Harrisonburg, which has been through a tumultuous couple of months.

BILL FISHER: It’s good. I think things are good here right now. Much better situation than we found ourselves in back in the summer.

Bill Fisher is the board president of Skyline Literacy, which offers English and citizenship classes to the area’s large immigrant and refugee communities. The organization found itself in dire financial straights earlier this year after its application for nearly $150,000 in grant funding from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was turned down. Skyline immediately cut costs – including some staff positions – and then, in late October, made a public plea for support. About 90 people so far have responded.

FISHER: We received somewhere in the vicinity of $37,500 in the last month of giving. That’s going to allow us to keep the doors open here until June 30th of 2019, and we’re in the midst of developing a long-term plan now to see if we can go farther.

Fisher said Skyline hopes to see those donations double by the end of the year. With what’s already come in, however, programming through next June will remain unaffected and Skyline is in the process of hiring one full-time position. And while there’s still lots of work ahead in developing and pursuing sustainable, long-term funding, for now, the community’s generosity has given Skyline Literacy some breathing room.