At the turn of the millennium, the increasing use of technology in all aspects of society affected Literacy Action’s teaching methods. Thanks to the generosity of major corporations – like IBM and UPS – the organization outfitted its classrooms with appropriate technology and furnished computer labs for students. Computer classes became a core aspect of the curriculum.
Former Literacy Action trustee, Norman Carmichael, always had a passion for education; his father, a junior high principal in Montgomery, Alabama, instilled the importance of education in Norm at a young age. Even as his career took a different trajectory – into accounting – he always stayed connected to educational causes. “Evern Cooper Epps, then-President of the UPS Foundation, got me involved in Literacy Action. UPS has always been a strong supporter of education and literacy. I was particularly drawn to the intergenerational nature of the work – that most students were heads of the household,” said Norm. “We began to see a shift in the age of our student population; more and more young people – individuals who had dropped out of school but were quickly returning to get academic credentials – they were flooding our programs in those years.” With increasing need and a tough economy, finances suffered. “As a board, we had some challenging years in the 2000s; corporate funding decreased substantially due to the economy. We worked hard to keep revenues up, but ultimately we had to do more with less, and the staff experienced cuts in hours and salary to make the program continue to serve the massive need we were experiencing.”
Beloved, long-time director, Mattie Eley, retired in 2006; her replacement was Emily Ellison, co-founder of the Atlanta Girls’School. In 2007, Literacy Action moved from 101 Marietta Street, NW, to the Robert W. Woodruff Volunteer Service Center at 100 Edgewood Avenue, NE.