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WCCF Donation of Computer Tablets Enhances Remote Learning Grant to Literacy Council

Standing left to right: WCCF Trustees Lars Lange, Dr. Geraldine Jones, and Sheila Gombita deliver computer tablets to students and tutors of the Literacy Council's ESL program.

EIGHTY FOUR, PA – The Washington County Community Foundation (WCCF) recently donated 35 gently-used computer tablets to the Literacy Council of Southwestern Pennsylvania knowing that students of the Council’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program would be better served with the technology.

The tablets were delivered by members of the WCCF’s Allocations & Programs Committee, during a recent site visit to the Literacy Council’s Washington location in Fairhill Manor Church.

The Literacy Council has been operating since 1985; however, it has experienced explosive growth in recent years with a significant influx of immigrants into its service area that includes Washington, Greene, Fayette and Westmoreland counties.  The majority of the immigrants are from Haiti, China, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, and many were accomplished professionals in their home countries.  In order for them to resume their professional careers in the USA, they must first learn to speak English.

At the start of the pandemic in 2020, the WCCF awarded a $20,000 grant to the Literacy Council from the Close to Home Disaster and Emergency Fund, to initiate a remote ESL Program. The grant enabled the Council to purchase computer tablets for students so that their learning could continue remotely.

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A Literacy Council tutor (left) and her ESL students use newly donated tablets for the first time.

“The remote ESL program has been very successful not only during the height of the pandemic when in-person sessions were not possible, but on an on-going basis,” said Betsie Trew, WCCF President & CEO. “The remote option has increased the number of participants in the overall ESL program, particularly for those struggling with transportation and/or child care. Since we no longer intend to use the tablets at the WCCF, this was a perfect opportunity to follow up an impactful monetary grant with an in-kind grant. And the delivery of the tablets provided the opportunity for committee members who help screen grant applicants to see first-hand the significant impact of the Council’s programming.”

In addition to its ESL program, the Literacy Council provides Citizenship Preparatory Classes, General Equivalency Diploma Preparatory Classes, a Baby Book Bag program, and other services all free of charge, and aimed at increasing literacy. To learn more or to make a contribution to support the Council’s work, visit

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WCCF Trustee Dr. Geraldine Jones (left, and Literacy Council Board President Ann K. Drach (right) pose after WCCF representatives delivered the tablets to the Literacy Council.

In addition to its broad grants program, the WCCF provides group educational sessions and individual technical assistance for area nonprofits, and hosts an annual day of giving, all free of charge to local nonprofits. To learn more or to make a contribution to support the WCCF’s charitable programs, visit