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Press Release: Two Iconic West Houston Nonprofits to Become One

Left-Right Literacy Advance Board President Robin Tooms, Literacy Advance CEO Melanie Fisk,  MAM President & CEO Martha Macris, and MAM Board Chair Wendy Moreland

For 55 years Literacy Advance of Houston has humbly taught adults to speak, read and write English. And for 35 years Memorial Assistance Ministries (MAM) has provided a network of services to support families in poverty stay housed, obtain regular employment, manage their finances and become more financially stable. On Friday, Nov. 9th the leadership of both organizations finalized the agreement to make Literacy Advance a program of the MAM network.

MAM Board Chair, Wendy Moreland, announced the decision on Tuesday, November 13th at a donor appreciation event held at Hotel ZaZa. “We are honored to bring this expertise into our MAM programming, as well as offering our life changing programs to the adult students from the Literacy Advance programs.”

“This is a natural fit for both organizations. Our missions stem from the same values which address the root causes of poverty as well as provide humanitarian relief. Over the years we have shared clients, volunteers, donors, program partners, best practices, continuous quality improvement and shared excellence,” stated Martha Macris, MAM President and CEO, “The need for ESL in our community is enormous. Together we can better meet the demand for our programs, bring a broader range of services to more families, and those families can transition to a higher level of stability through combined services. With the consolidation of leadership staff, accounting, development and other administrative functions, we can better steward the community resources.”

Transition teams from both organizations have been set up to help ease volunteers and employees into the new structure. Through the initial stages, both organizations will continue business as usual to serve the students and volunteers who are already committed to the upcoming classes.

For more information about MAM and the addition of Literacy Advance to their programming, please visit

The official announcement was made on Tuesday, November 13 at a MAM donor event at Hotel ZaZa Memorial City.


What does this mean for us?

For Volunteers

MAM’s volunteer workplace is over 1,800 strong, with more than 200 volunteers joining us from Literacy Advance! We all recognize the high value that volunteers bring to a community nonprofit. For the volunteers in MAM’s Resale Store and Donation Center, your service creates funding to provide assistance and education programs to vulnerable families in our community. And when volunteers work directly with families, there is no higher valued relationship than the one between a student or client and their teacher, tutor, coach or case manager. The hospitality shown by a volunteer to a family in need or a person seeking a better life can make the transition to life in our city so much better!

We hope our volunteers from both organizations benefit from this transition as well and we want to learn what is important to each of you in your volunteer work.

For Donors

Both MAM and Literacy Advance are fortunate to have solid, dedicated community relationships that further our shared missions. Individuals, foundations, businesses and churches know both organizations to operate with integrity and fiscal responsibility. We know how much our local supporters can do with their gifts and we take our role as stewards of these gifts very seriously. MAM is noted for its transparency and careful allocation of all gifted funds. We put your money where you intend it to go – where it benefits families the most. Whether you are a supporter of MAM, Literacy Advance or both, please know your generous gifts will be designated specifically to your carefully determined intentions.

For Congregations

MAM continues its commitment to providing social services including Adult Education to those in need. We also remain committed to treating each and every client and student with dignity and respect, regardless of their faith. This is the true calling of being a faith based organization supported by local congregations.

Adding Literacy Advance Programming at MAM will provide another community resource for your congregation members to volunteer and extend your hospitality to new neighbors in our community.

For ESL Students

Nothing changes in the winter semester of 2019. Registration, classes and tutorials will continue as planned at both MAM and Literacy Advance. Students in either program may also be eligible to participate in any of MAM’s educational programs as well as assistance programs.

We know the need for ESL in our community is tremendous. There are enough non-English speaking people in Houston to fill 14 Reliant Stadiums! Our city is currently teaching the people in just one of those stadiums. Together, MAM and Literacy Advance can better meet the demand for ESL classes and offer a broader range of services to more people.

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