American Dream Literacy Initiative

Requirements and Guidelines

The project year is February 2018 through November 2018.

Purpose of the Grant

To help public libraries in Dollar General communities add or expand literacy services for adult English language learners and/or adults in need of basic education and workforce development. Each funded library will receive a one-time grant of $10,000, to develop collections and services for adult learners and/or expand existing programs, add services and foster community partnerships.

For reference, a sample project budget might include:

  • $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 on January 15, 2018. Funds will be distributed on February 1, 2018.


  • A public library with a demonstrated need and the capacity to provide literacy services for adult English language learners and/or adults in need of basic education and workforce development
  • Located within 20 miles of a Dollar General Store, distribution center, or corporate office (Please visit the Dollar General's Store Locator online to confirm that your library is within a 20 mile radius)
  • Previous American Dream 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.

Impact and Sustainability

  • Attend and participate in the Project Outcome Training Workshop preconference on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the PLA National Conference in Philadelphia Note: ALA will pay for PLA conference registration, round-trip coach airfare, three hotel room nights, ground transportation expenses and provide a $50 per diem for participation by the library project director.
  • Participate in a program evaluation training/webinar.
  • Develop a post-project sustainability plan to help your library continue the services established through the American Dream grant.

Information Sharing and Marketing

  • Participate in a media/communications training and develop a communications plan for your project
  • Present on your project and the American Dream Literacy Initiative at a regional library association conference or other related conference (e.g., TESOL). ALA will provide a $1,000 stipend to offset travel and registration expenses.
  • 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 with Justification
  • Letters of support from two or more community partners: 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?

For grant-related questions and/or general information contact the Public Programs Office at or (800) 545-2433 x5045. For technical support with the online application: Erik Cameron, PPO Director for Data Applications, at or (800) 545-2433 x3272

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