Literacy Network and Centro Hispano are both staples of South Madison as non-profits that both provide important services and community connections for the Madison Latinx community. In exciting news to further support that work, the two organizations have been awarded a grant from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for their collaborative citizenship programming.
The local non-profits are 2 of 65 organizations across the United States who received funding this year, and this is the first time the grant has been awarded to support Dane County residents specifically in the naturalization process. Literacy Network has also made strides and developments in other areas this year receiving a grant to support adult learners, and beginning to expand its learning center on South Park St. to increase capacity.
“More than 11,000 people living in Dane County have Lawful Permanent Resident status and are eligible for citizenship,” said Literacy Network’s Executive Director Robin Ryan in a release. “Barriers to citizenship include limited English proficiency, lack of information and familiarity with the naturalization process, fees associated with naturalization, and lack of legal resources. This grant enables Literacy Network and Centro Hispano to focus on our respective areas of expertise, expand language instruction and legal services, and create a unified service network for people applying for citizenship.”
Centro Hispano and Literacy Network, both women-led organizations, offer services to eligible Lawful Permanent Residents through free classes and tutoring on civics and English language to prepare applicants for all aspects of the naturalization process. Centro Hispano highlights and holds space for the Madison Latinx community, while also supporting community members in other crucial areas such as free legal services towards obtaining citizenship.
“The Latinx community is the fastest growing community in the state and because of this, at Centro and through our partnerships, we are committed to ensuring all families thrive,” Centro’s Executive Director Karen Menéndez Coller added in the release. “With this funding, we will be able to more seamlessly reach Dane County residents and more holistically support their journey to citizenship. I am proud of the work we will do – together.”