News & Blog: Community


The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) today announced the Literacy Center of West Michigan is the lead partner in creating a 60x30 Family Learning Community in West Michigan. In the months ahead, the Literacy Center of West Michigan will work with the NCFL, local families and more than 20 community partners to align programmatic goals and coordinate efforts to provide family literacy, engagement and leadership opportunities to historically underserved and marginalized families within the community. 

NCFL's 60x30 vision builds on the organization's legacy work in seeding family literacy programs nationwide. Moving beyond isolated programmatic endeavors, NCFL aims to establish family learning systems in 60 U.S. communities by 2030. Each system will be built with and for families and prioritize the voice of children and parenting adults to ensure that those most impacted by inequities are included in developing solutions.  

Each community will be part of the larger Family Learning Community Network, ensuring that all lessons learned are captured and disseminated to shape policy and practices and inform the national narrative on the importance of family learning systems as a driver of improved learning and economic outcomes for communities. The West Michigan region joins Louisville, Kentucky; Frankfort, Kentucky; and Tucson, Arizona, in the inaugural 60x30 cohort. More communities will be added in the coming months and years. 

"A two-generational approach to literacy not only reshapes the lives of parents and children individually but also cements a foundation for them to prosper together. We understand that literacy is more than just reading; it's about equipping our community with the tools for systemic change and long-term prosperity," said Wendy Falb, Ph.D., executive director, Literacy Center of West Michigan. "Our leadership in this groundbreaking vision for the future of family learning reinforces our commitment to uplifting people in our community through literacy. By simultaneously fostering literacy among parents and children, we're strengthening individual family units while establishing a ripple effect of economic and social advancements throughout West Michigan."

To bring the 60x30 Vision to bear, the Literacy Center of West Michigan and NCFL will work closely with school systems, nonprofit partners, collective impact organizations, workforce development partners, the City of Grand Rapids, and the library systems to align programmatic goals and coordinate efforts around family literacy.

“We’ve watched the work of the Literacy Center of West Michigan transform the lives of those in our community. To see this work expand to reach even more of our friends and neighbors is a win for everyone,” said Dr. Leadriane Roby, superintendent of schools, Grand Rapids Public Schools. “We know that literacy has a generational impact. It’s hard to overstate how crucial this work is for those participating in the program and beyond.”

As this core team considers the needs of families in the area, they will welcome other organizational partners to join this local effort to ensure equitable access to learning opportunities throughout the community.  

"West Michigan families - much like families all across the country - are facing urgent and significant challenges that deserve thoughtful solutions," said Dr. Felicia Cumings Smith, president and CEO, National Center for Families Learning. "By signing on to NCFL's 60x30 Vision, these organizations have demonstrated their commitment to solving these challenges. When we create the conditions for all children and families to thrive, we ensure that our communities thrive - strong families equal strong communities." 

About the Literacy Center of West Michigan 

Founded in 1986, the Literacy Center of West Michigan is committed to bringing about a just and vibrant West Michigan through the power of literacy. Instructing 1,000+ adults annually, the Literacy Center works with immigrants, refugees, and native speakers of English to provide literacy support tailored to their individual needs and priorities. A key player in workforce development, the Literacy Center also creates paths to citizenship, supports returning citizens, and partners with multiple school districts to provide a two-generational approach to children's literacy. With 85,000 adults in Kent County reading below a 4th-grade level, the Literacy Center is eager to grow its capacity to serve even more learners and draw attention to the critical issue of low literacy among adults in our community.

About the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL)

NCFL is a national nonprofit that has worked for over 30 years to eradicate poverty through education solutions for families. We believe education is a shared responsibility and that collaboration among families, schools, and community members can lead to powerful learning experiences. NCFL's vision is to establish coordinated and aligned family learning systems in 60 communities by 2030, built with and for families, to increase education and economic outcomes and create more equitable communities. For more information on NCFL, visit To learn more about our 60x30 Vision or become a 60x30 partner, visit

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