American Dream Grants

Requirements and Guidelines

The project year is January 15, 2017 through December 31, 2017.

Purpose of the Grant

To help public libraries in Dollar General communities add or expand literacy services for adult English language learners. Each funded library will receive a one-time grant of $5,000 or $10,000: $5,000 for libraries in rural and other small communities to develop their collections and services for immigrants, or $10,000 for libraries with the experience and capacity to expand existing programs, add services and foster community partnerships.

For reference, here are examples of projects at the two grant levels:

  • $5,000, including $1,000 for Collection Development to increase the library's collection of ESL materials and $4,000 for Technology to purchase iPads for in-library use by adult English language learners
  • $10,000, including $500 for Printing, design, and distribution to promote the program, $7,500 for Technology to purchase laptops for self-paced English Language Learning, and $2,00 for Other expenses (to equip learning stations)
Libraries selected for funding will be notified by December 30, 2016. Funds will be distributed on or before January 15, 2017.


  • A public library with a demonstrated need and the capacity to provide literacy services for adult English language learners
  • Located within 20 miles of a Dollar General Store, distribution center, or corporate office (please visit the Dollar General's Store Locator online)
  • Previous American Dream Starts @ your library grant recipients are eligible to apply for an additional year of funding, with a limit of two consecutive years of funding. Once a library receives two consecutive years of funding, the library is eligible to apply again after a one-year hiatus.

Guidelines for completing and submitting the application

Grant Requirements

Grantees make the following commitments:

Spending and Reporting

  • Spend or allocate grant funds within 180 days of receipt.
  • Submit an online interim report and budget updates to ALA, per the deadline in the Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Submit a comprehensive final report to ALA with project accomplishments and impact, use of funds, and a detailed resource list, per the deadline in the Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Submit any requests for budget variances or extensions in writing, using the templates provided by ALA.

Collaboration and Sustainability

  • Participate in one or more 60-minute training and development conference call(s)/webinar(s).
  • Participate in one or more 60-minute project assessment and impact evaluation conference call(s)/webinar(s).
  • Develop a post-project sustainability plan to help your library continue programs and services for adult English language learners.

Information Sharing and Marketing

  • Participate in a media training and develop a communications plan for your project
  • Contribute print and online resources for the American Dream toolkit and website, including a step-by-step process of how your library developed and implemented the program(s).
  • Promote the American Dream Literacy Initiative, including the ALA logo and the Dollar General logo.
  • Inform local and statewide library networks about the ALA/Dollar General grant and your specific project.
  • Inform your local Dollar General store about the ALA grant and your project.

Checklist of materials submitted online

  • Completed Library Information, Project Information, and Project Budget and Justification
  • Letters of support from two or more community partners, if requesting a $10,000 grant. Letters should include the organization's fiscal and in-kind contributions to the proposed American Dream project. (In the online application, these are uploaded at the end of the Project Information section.)

Need assistance?

Grant-related questions and/or general information: Zina Clark, American Dream Program Coordinator, at or (800) 545-2433, x4297 or Kristin Lahurd, Literacy Officer, at or (800) 545-2433, x3275

To access the application system, sign in with your profile.