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The mission of the Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy is “to strengthen the countywide adult English literacy network to support a thriving community and effective workforce.” To this end, MCAEL provides support for adult English literacy services in the county through grants and technical assistance with the generous support of the Montgomery County Government.

The goal of the MCAEL grants program is to increase the availability of adult ESOL and literacy services that support identified community needs and diverse populations while also supporting improvement of the quality of services. MCAEL is pleased to partner once again with the Montgomery County Government to offer grant support in FY19 for programs during the period July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019.

MCAEL Requests for Proposals (RFPs) will be available on or about January 26, 2018, on this website, and applications will be due April 3, 2018. Notification of awards will take place in early June. A grants information meeting will be held on January 31, 2018, 1:00 pm at the Conference Center at 9200 Corporate Blvd, "The Boss" Room, Rockville, MD 20850.

Types of Grants

MCAEL offers two types of grants: 1) Adult English Literacy Program Grants and 2) Adult English Literacy Access Grants.

1) Adult English Literacy Program Grants

For Adult English Literacy Program Grants, funding can be used to maintain, increase, and improve delivery of adult English literacy services to those who live and work in Montgomery County, including provision of approved supplementary services that enable more learners to attend ESOL classes (e.g. childcare, transportation).

Grant funding can also be used to strengthen the program management and organizational capacity of the organization to deliver English literacy services.

Applicant organizations must:

  • Offer 120 hours of instructional time a year per learner (e.g. 3 hrs/wk. for 40 weeks)
  • Have an established infrastructure (staff and standard ESL components in place, including assessment measures)
  • Be able to show a solid track record demonstrating the ability to successfully carry out the program
  • Have managed enrollment for its classes (registration dates with session start/end dates – not drop-in)

Document Links:


MCAEL FY19 PROGRAM Application Part 1

MCAEL FY19 PROGRAM Application Part 2

2) Adult English Literacy Access Grants

The objectives of Literacy Access Grants are to:

  1. Access and leverage ongoing/new partnerships and resources;
  2. Create access to English classes for underserved populations; and
  3. Develop access points to link individuals to the larger ESOL system that exists in the County.

Limited to a maximum of $15,000, grant funds may be used to support class/program activities such as books and supplies, including instructor pay, direct coordination time. 

Literacy Access Grants are designed to support:

  • Classes that are drop-in (i.e. adult learners can join at any time during a session/semester) and/or
  • Start-Up programs that may not have assessment or other TESOL standard components in place. For example, a PTA or church providing a conversation club or an organization starting with a single ESOL class in one location.
  • Classes that are not situated in a larger English program (for example, an organization with a single ESOL class in one location) 

Document Links:


MCAEL FY19 ACCESS Application Part 1

MCAEL FY19 ACCESS Application Part 2


Eligibility Requirements

Who is Eligible to Apply?

Applicants must be a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, have a similar designation from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service or have a partnership that includes a nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status. Nonprofits must be incorporated under state law. While applicants can have offices outside Montgomery County, beneficiaries of funded services must be either Montgomery County residents or employed in Montgomery County. An organization may apply for MCAEL funding regardless of whether it has previously applied for other County-administered grant programs, such as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Applicants who receive funding one year are not guaranteed funding in subsequent years – funding is dependent on many factors including performance in the current and/or previous years.



  • January 26: MCAEL RFPS released; Application form available on MCAEL website
  • January 31: Grant Information meeting at MCAEL
  • March 13-16: MCAEL staff available by appointment for specific application questions.
  • April 3: Applications to be submitted electronically or by mail.
  • May/June • MCAEL Grant Panel members review applications • Grant Panel members interview all applicants • County Council approves County budget • Grant Panel meets to develop funding recommendations • MCAEL board meets to approve funding recommendations
  • Early June: Applicants are notified in writing of the MCAEL board’s final funding decision. Awards also announced at www.mcael.org

March 13 – 16, 2018

In line with MCAEL’s capacity-building role, staff will be available by appointment to answer specific questions on the grant application. Priority will be given to first-time applicants, new provider staff, and applicants for Access Grants. All consultations will take place in the “Johnny Cash” room in the Conference Center at 9200 Corporate Blvd, Rockville, MD 20850.

Click below to make your appointment:

Online Appointment portal

Review Panel Process

Grant Review Panel - All funding decisions are made by a volunteer Grant Panel composed of community members. The panel members are selected to represent a diversity of experience and expertise in one or more of the following: the local community and community’s needs, nonprofit management, adult ESOL, literacy, and/or government/non-profit grant making.

For more information or to be a member of the review panel please email Kathy Stevens kstevens@mcael.org

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