Literary Access Fund Launches Grant Proccess

Literacy Access Fund, a 501(c)(3), public charity, announces its first grant award of $10,000 to the J.

Lewis Crozer Library in Chester, Pennsylvania. Literacy Access Fund secures funding from corporate, foundation, and individual partners in order to provide financial support to underfunded public libraries through a competitive granting process. The goal of the organization is to help libraries provide equal access to quality resources for young learners, regardless of economic factors.

This award will help fund the acquisition of state-of-the-art technology, particularly for young children. Carol Foster-Allen, President of the J. Lewis Crozer Library’s Board of the Directors, noted the Board’s gratitude to Literacy Access Fund for the award. “Our focus is to provide much needed services to the citizens of Chester and surrounding communities in a safe environment with caring staff. Also, our goal is to seek resources that enable us to provide a learning experience, using the latest technology available to us.”

“Funding from Literacy Access Fund will provide the opportunity to acquire resources beyond the basics, especially for children,” according to Mark Winston, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Library. “We will be able to provide technology training for young people, bridging a gap in access and preparation resulting from economic disparity, while adding substantive educational experiences for our young learners, ages 2-12.”

Deborah B. Sorgi, Ed.D., Chair, Director & President of Literacy Access Fund, shared her thoughts. “Literacy Access Fund is happy to support the J. Lewis Crozer Library as a community hub for education and a vital extension of the classroom. Dr. Winston’s technology initiatives are a welcome addition in this economically-challenged area, and we are proud to partner with this effort.” Dr. Sorgi also noted, “We will continue to identify and support deserving public libraries to help inspire their littlest members.”

For more information about Literacy Access Fund, visit or call 610-833-6411.



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Written by: 

Nicholas "Duke" Doblick

Director of Fundraising

New Board Member


The Chester Education Foundation would like to welcome the new addition to our board, Jayme Gortman. Gortman was officially welcomed on October 23rd.

Gortman received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at Goucher College and went on to complete her Masters at Widener University, studying Public Administration. She has 14 years of experience in grants management, and strives to improve the health and economic outcomes for underserved populations.

Chester is a delicate community with many needs in regard to economic development and education, which is why the employees at CEF work so tirelessly to improve all aspects of life for the city residents. Jayme’s experience and connection to the local community will make her an asset to the CEF team because she has direct experiences with the precise issues in the area. One of the Chester Education Foundation’s greatest resources is its staff full of people who have firsthand knowledge of the community and its needs, allowing CEF to ensure that any improvements being made or programs being offered are both relevant and necessary to Chester’s specific needs. 

The entire team at CEF is eager to begin working with Jayme. Cheryl Cunningham, executive director of CEF, comments: “We are delighted to have someone with Jayme's professional background and a commitment to Chester join the CEF board. Jayme spent many of her summers here in Chester with her grandparents and several of her best friends graduated from Chester High School.”

Jayme’s dedication to improving the community and helping the youth of Chester will make her a perfect addition to the board. Jayme is quoted as saying, “Every kid is only ONE caring adult away from being a success story.” Her passion and caring nature will surely impact many children in the area as she begins her work at CEF.

We are excited to have Jayme as a part of the CEF team and look forward to everything she brings to the table!


Written by: Tejya Johnson

Remembering a Friend

Chester Education Foundation recently received a generous donation from an anonymous donor through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The donation was made in honor of a University of Pennsylvania student from Chester who died in 1989. The letter that accompanied the check requested that, if possible, we should let his mother "know that his friends think of him, and his great spirit, every day". I was unfamiliar with his story so I did a little research and came across an article published in the University of Pennsylvania paper about the sweet-hearted engineering freshman from Chester who did not return after Christmas break. 

In the words of the author, "Urban America is not exotic. And as much as we would like to believe otherwise, it is not another culture, another world. It is a part of who we are -- as a nation, as a society. The problems, the sorrows and the horrors which all too often come with the turf in our cities affect every single one of us". When I read the article, it made me cry because it could have been written this week. Little has changed in the City of Chester, or in most urban communities since 1992. On average, we lose 1 young person to street violence every month in Chester. 

While I was not with Chester Education Foundation when it was started in 1989, I am sure that the original founders were aware of the tragic loss of this young man that year and were determined to make a difference. Since then, we have helped more than 9,000 young people graduate from high school and go on to college or work.

As we continue our work, one young person at a time, we are very grateful for the donation from the donor and promise that the funds dedicated to a friend’s memory will be used with the utmost respect and consideration.

Written by: Cheryl Cunningham


PSU Volunteers Help Upgrade CEF Computers

The Chester Education Foundation (CEF) would like to express our appreciation to Penn State Brandywine’s Information Technology staff for volunteering to update our computers last month.  

CEF’s offices and classrooms are outfitted with dozens of computers that were in need of a memory upgrade in order to continue functioning optimally. These upgrades would have cost our organization at least $1,500 in fees, all of which were avoided by the volunteer work of Penn State. In total, 36 computers were upgraded with additional memory to help keep our technology running smoothly to continue serving the Chester community.

So thank you to Bill Tyson, Director of Marketing and Communications and Justin DiMatteo, C.J. Journey and Scott Schmoyer from the IT department and congratulations Penn State Brandywine on your 50th anniversary!

 Above are Penn State Brandywine IT department employees Justin DiMatteo, C.J. Journey and Scott Schmoyer alongside CEF Program Director Gerald Rocha.

Above are Penn State Brandywine IT department employees Justin DiMatteo, C.J. Journey and Scott Schmoyer alongside CEF Program Director Gerald Rocha.