50th Anniversary

The Birth Of Greenville Literacy

The year is 1965. The place, Greenville, South Carolina. Two hundred community leaders, both black and white, have gathered for a historic dinner at Buncombe Street United Methodist Church. They have come to hear Dr. Frank Laubach, a missionary to the Philippines and a pioneer in the field of adult literacy. Dr. Laubach has traveled to Greenville at the invitation of a group of citizens who are troubled by reports of high rates of illiteracy in the Upstate.

At the dinner, Laubach tells his audience that he is there to recruit them “as an army in a battle against illiteracy.” As he concludes his remarks, 43 community leaders step forward to be trained as volunteer literacy tutors. They do not know it, but they are starting a movement, one that will ultimately touch tens of thousands of Greenville area adults.

50 years later, Greenville Literacy is still teaching adults who desire an education. Whether it is a high school equivalency diploma, WorkKeys® certificates or English fluency, our students want to qualify for jobs that will allow them to support their families.

In 2015, we celebrated 50 years of service to Greenville County. We particularly celebrated the thousands of volunteer tutors who have donated their time and expertise and the companies and individuals who have provided funding to support this work.

Thank you for joining us in recognizing the achievements of the past 50 years. And for continuing to join us in focusing on today’s challenges for under-educated adults. We want to help make Greenville County the kind of place where all adults have the skills they need to earn a living and support their families. Working together, we can make it a reality.


The 50th Anniversary Gala

On Saturday, April 18, 2015, 260 people gathered at the Hyatt Regency on Main and celebrated Greenville Literacy's 50th Anniversary.

The evening’s program honored Mrs. Bessie Lee, the first Executive Director of Greenville Literacy and Mrs. Jane Thomas, recently retired Executive Director.  Between the two ladies they lead the organization for nearly 40 years and molded it into the effective adult education organization that it is today.  

GLA would like to thank all who attended, and donated their time and talents to make the evening a success.  We would also like to extend a special thank you to the following gala sponsors:





Berkshire Hathaway - C. Dan Joyner REALTORS

Carol Simpson Law Offices

Community Foundation of Greenville

Jerry & Stephanie Cox

Tom & Becky Faulkner

Faust-Boyer Group of Raymond James

William T. Fuller

Haynesworth Sinkler & Boyd, P.A.

Glenn Head DMD, Eastside Pediatric Denistry

Michelin North America

Mitsubishi Polyester Film, Inc

Joy Seckinger

Starfield & Smith, P.C.

United Community Bank